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Appealing penalties and interest

Learn what options are available for appealing penalties and interest with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.


Penalties can be appealed. 

Keep in mind:

  • Pre-assessment conferences for penalties will only be held if the Department of Revenue's Tax Division refers your case to the Office of Appeals.
  • If you have submitted a post-assessment request, you must request an abatement.
  • When your settlement is requested, you must also submit a Form DR-1.

Generally, penalties imposed for the late filing of a return (G.L. c. 62C, § 33(a)) or the late payment of tax (G.L. c. 62C, § 33(b)) may be waived or abated, in whole or in part, if you can demonstrate that the failure to timely file your return or to pay your tax was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.

However, different standards may apply for other types of penalties, such as

  • Penalties imposed under G.L. c. 62C, § 35A, for the substantial understatement of tax or
  • Penalties imposed under G.L. c. 62C, § 35D, for taking an inconsistent filing position in reporting your income subject to tax.

For more information on penalties, please see:


The Department of Revenue does not have the legal authority to abate or waive interest alone.

Interest will add on any outstanding unpaid balance of tax and penalties. The only way to stop interest from accruing is to pay the tax and penalties. If you are successful in your appeal and entitled to a refund, the Commonwealth will pay interest on any amounts refunded.

If a tax or penalty amount is reduced, interest will be adjusted.


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