Deductions on Rent Paid in Massachusetts

Learn who is eligible and how to claim a rental deduction in Massachusetts.

Overview

A deduction is allowed for rent paid by the taxpayer during the tax year for a principal residence located in Massachusetts. This deduction:

  • Is limited to 50% of the rent paid and
  • Cannot exceed a total deduction of $3,000.

The deduction must be for rent that the taxpayer paid to a landlord for the rental or lease of the taxpayer's principal residence in Massachusetts.

Rent paid by third party on taxpayer's behalf

If rent is paid by a third party who maintains a principal residence elsewhere, a rental deduction isn't allowed for either party.

An example of a third party would be a parent.

Joint rent

If 2 or more persons jointly rent a unit, each occupant is entitled to a deduction if each is using it as his or her principal residence. The deduction is based on the amount of rent each person paid.

Principal residences

The definition of  principal residence includes:
  • Mobile home
  • Mobile home site or
  • Trailer park site rental:
    • If it’s the taxpayer's principal residence
  • Hotel
  • Motel or
  • Rooming house occupancy:
    • If a rental agreement exists, written or oral, creating a landlord-tenant relationship
  • Nursing home or
  • Retirement home for the elderly:
    • If a rental agreement exists, written or oral, creating a landlord-tenant relationship.
A principal residence doesn't include:
  • Apartment or house of a student or faculty member who has a principal residence elsewhere
  • Apartment or house of a nonresident who has a legal residence in another state or country
  • Apartment for a person on a temporary assignment in Massachusetts
  • Dorm room
  • Hotel, motel, or rooming house occupancy where no rental agreement exists
  • Nursing home or a retirement home for the elderly where no rental agreement exists
  • Vacation home.
Payments that constitute rent:
  • Only amounts paid specifically as rent are allowed and
  • Amounts paid for utilities, furnishing, and parking:
    • If the landlord doesn't make separate charges for these items.
Payments that don't constitute rent:
  • Amounts paid for condominium fees
  • Separately stated amounts paid for utilities, furnishing, and parking
  • Advance payments until actually applied as rent
    • Such as a security deposit, last month's rent, etc.

Married filing separate

Married filing separate taxpayers are limited to:

  • A rent deduction equal to 50% of the rent each pays and
  • Cannot exceed $1,500 per return.

However, a married couple filing separate may allocate the rent deduction differently provided:

  • The amount taken by each spouse doesn't exceed 50% of the rent actually paid by that spouse and 
  • Their combined rent deduction doesn't exceed $3,000.

The spouse claiming a deduction more than $1,500 must attach to his or her return a statement signed by the other spouse giving consent to the allocation.

The statement must list the:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number of the consenting spouse and
  • Amount of rental deduction taken by that spouse.

Nonresidents and part-year residents

Nonresidents and part-year residents are allowed a deduction equal to 50% of the rent paid if their residence is:

  • Located in Massachusetts and
  • The taxpayer's principal residence.

The rent paid cannot be more than $3,000.

Nonresidents entitled to this deduction would be individuals who:

  • Have no domicile
  • Come to Massachusetts and
  • Pay rent while working in Massachusetts.

An example of nonresidents example would be migrant workers.

Reporting rent on your tax return

Residents and part-year residents should enter the total amount of rent on:

  • Massachusetts Form 1, Line 14a or
  • Massachusetts Form 1-NR/PY, Line 18a.

Residents and part-year residents should then divide the total amount by 2 and enter the allowable amount on:

  • Mass Form 1, Line 14, or
  • Form 1-NR/PY, Line 18.

Married filing separately

A spouse claiming a deduction more than $1,500 must enclose a statement signed by the other spouse agreeing to allocate some or the other spouse’s entire portion of the deduction.

The statement must list the:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number of the consenting spouse and the amount of rental deduction taken by that spouse.

Submitting an abatement or amended tax return

If you’re filing an abatement or amended tax return, you must submit the following:

  • Landlord's name
  • Written consent signed by your spouse agreeing to allocate some or your spouse’s entire portion of the deduction to you if married filing separate.

Additional information

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