Disclosure of tax return information
To protect the confidentiality of tax records, Massachusetts law only allows DOR to disclose tax return information to either taxpayers or their authorized representatives.
DOR can only release tax information to representatives if they provide a valid Power of Attorney, Form M-2848.
Unauthorized disclosure of tax information is prohibited. Violation of this statute is punishable by:
- A fine of not more than $1,000, or
- Imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both, and
- Disqualification from holding office in Massachusetts for a period not to exceed 3 years.
Form M-2848, Power of Attorney
With a Form M-2848, a taxpayer can indicate the extent to which he or she is represented by a POA (such as, the tax type or periods) and can name one or more representatives.
A representative cannot receive the taxpayer's refund.
Revocation of Form M-2848
A new form must be filed to revoke POA or make changes to the existing form filed. To revoke in its entirety without executing a new POA, the taxpayer should submit a signed statement of intention to revoke to the bureau with which the form was originally filed.
A family member isn’t an authorized representative without a signed POA form except a parent acting on behalf of a minor child. If a joint return was filed, either spouse can discuss that return with DOR.
Form ABT, Application for Abatement
For taxpayer and practitioner convenience, the M-2848 has been incorporated on the second page of Form ABT. The POA is only good for tax periods specified and issues covered on the particular Form ABT.
Preparer Authorization on Tax Return
You can authorize a preparer to discuss your income tax return with DOR by filing in the oval below the preparer's signature.
This authorization is only valid for one year; it expires on the day the following tax year return is due.
This authorization doesn’t authorize the preparer to represent you for other DOR issues; a Form M-2848 can still be filed to expand the preparer's authorization.
Paid preparer authorization on tax return permits DOR to:
- Request paid preparer to submit any information that is missing from the return;
- Call the paid preparer about any return discrepancies.
Paid preparer authorization on tax return permits the tax preparer to:
- Call DOR for information on the processing of the return;
- Call DOR for the status of the refund or payment(s);
- Respond to certain DOR notices about math errors, offsets and return preparation.
Paid preparer authorization on tax return limitations include the following:
- It is only for the individual paid preparer who signed the return, not for other preparers from the same company or firm;
- It doesn't authorize DOR to issue refund checks to the tax preparer;
- It can't be revoked but will expire no later than the due date (without regard to extension) for filing the next year's tax return.
Contacting DOR without authorization:
If there is no executed POA or paid preparer authorization, DOR employees can only verify whether returns were filed with a "Yes" or "No" answer. This information can be given over the telephone. However, DOR can’t give out:
- Line item information
- An address.
The DOR may discuss tax information with someone other than the taxpayer only if:
- The taxpayer calls in,
- Verifies that he or she is, in fact, the taxpayer and
- Requests that DOR speak with someone who is either in the same room as the taxpayer or
- Is on the same phone line as the taxpayer.
This situation often occurs when the taxpayer has difficulty speaking English.
DOR can verify that the taxpayer is on the line by requesting:
- His or her Social Security number,
- Address and
- Last year's tax refund or payment.
- Call (617) 887-6367