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Appeals terms, forms, and legal documentation

Knowing this information in advance will help you when filing an appeal with the Massachusetts Department Revenue.

Appeals terms

Abatements - Generally must be filed within three years from the filing of the tax return, two years from the date the tax was assessed, or one year from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. See Administrative Procedure 627, Section 627.1.

Letter of Determination - The Office of Appeals will issue a Letter of Determination to the taxpayer setting forth its decision about the taxpayer’s dispute if:

  • A settlement is not reached, or
  • The taxpayer has not requested settlement consideration of a tax dispute.

Notice of Intent to Assess - Is issued by the Commissioner of Revenue to notify the taxpayer of the intent to propose a tax change (either increase or decrease). The taxpayer has 25 days to appeal this notice by filing Form DR-1, Office of Appeals Form. If the taxpayer does not file Form DR-1, the tax will be assessed and collection activity will begin.

Notice of Assessment - Is issued by the Commissioner to notify the taxpayer of an increase in the taxpayer’s tax, interest, and penalties. Time limits apply. Collection activity will be put on hold by requesting an application for abatement or amended return.

Pre-Assessment Appeal - When you disagree with a proposed tax assessment from a Notice of Intent to Assess as a result of an audit or any other notice of a proposed tax change as a result of a routine verification of your tax return.

Keep in mind:

  • An appeal is made in writing by filing a Form DR-1, Office of Appeals Form. See Massachusetts General Law Chapter 62C Sections 26(a) or 26(b) for more information. You may also request a pre-assessment conference and settlement consideration on this form.
  • You must complete a Form B-37, Special Consent Extending the Time for Assessment of Taxes, if you are requesting settlement consideration.

Post-Assessment Appeal - When you receive a Notice of Assessment and disagree with the tax assessment.

Keep in mind:

Settlement - The Office of Appeals has the authority to settle tax disputes with taxpayers by accepting less than the full amount of tax in dispute. The Department of Revenue will consider settling a dispute if it is in the best interest of the state to accept a lesser amount of tax.

If an agreement is made, the terms will be formalized in a written Settlement Agreement signed by both the taxpayer and the Department of Revenue.

Forms

Form ABT, Application for Abatement - Requesting an abatement electronically is always the quickest option but if you are not required to file electronically, you can file the Form ABT.  

Form ABT is required if you are filing an amended return or requesting an abatement of tax or penalty for any of the tax types listed below:

  • Abandoned Bottle Deposits
  • Care and Custody
  • Controlled Substances
  • Deeds Excise
  • Inheritance
  • Oil Spill Fee

When filling out a Form ABT for the above mentioned tax types, check “other” for tax type in item 2 and write in the applicable tax type.

Form B-37, Special Consent Extending the Time for Assessment of Taxes - Is a waiver executed for pre-assessment cases before the Office of Appeals. This waiver extends the period for statute of limitations to 90 days from a final determination issued by the Office of Appeals. This consent can be terminated by the taxpayer.

Form DR-1, Office of Appeals Form - Is filed by the taxpayer to notify the Department of Revenue that the taxpayer is appealing a pre-assessment tax or penalty dispute. This form is also used for requesting settlement when tax has already been assessed

Form M-2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative - Designates the taxpayer’s representative and must:

If the designee is listed as “Other,” the form must be seen by two individuals or notarized. The taxpayer can revoke its representation by notifying the Department of Revenue.

A new Power of Attorney ends a previous Power of Attorney unless otherwise designated.

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