Technical Information Release

Technical Information Release  TIR 85-1: Five-Year Limit for Certificate of Exemption from Sales and Use Tax

Date: 01/03/1985
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Referenced Sources: Massachusetts General Laws

Sales and Use Tax

The Revenue Enforcement and Protection Act of 1983 (Acts of 1983, Ch. 233, § 52) established a five-year limit for all Certificates of Exemption (Form ST-2) for organizations claiming exemption from sales and use tax under G.L. c. 64H, § 6(d) and (e). This limit is designed to ensure that all exempt organizations holding sales and use tax Certificates of Exemption continue to be entitled to the exemption.

Pursuant to Ch. 233, § 52 of the Acts of 1983, the Certificate of Exemption issued by the Commissioner of Revenue to an exempt organization is effective for a period of five years from the date of its issuance or until January 1, 1984, whichever date occurs later.

Ninety days prior to the expiration date, the Commissioner must give notice of the expiration to the organization. The certificate must be renewed within said 90 day period in order to continue the exemption beyond the expiration date of any existing certificate.

The following administrative procedures are established to implement this law:

1) After receipt of a Notification of Expiration, an organization claiming exemption from the sales and use tax must apply to the Commissioner of Revenue for a renewal of its exemption. An Application For Registration (Form TA-1) will accompany the Notification of Expiration. The completed application is mailed to the Determinations Bureau, Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 7027, Boston, MA 02204. No fee is required for renewal of a Certificate of Exemption.

2) Upon receipt by t he Determinations Bureau, the Form TA-1 is reviewed and, if approved, a Certificate of Exemption is forwarded by mail to the organization within thirty (30) days.

3) In order for a purchase to be exempt from sales and use tax, the purchaser claiming exemption must present to the vendor a signed Form ST-5, Exempt Purchaser Certificate, or Form ST-5C, Contractor's Exempt Purchase Certificate, with an attached photocopy of the current Certificate of Exemption. A blanket ST-5 or ST-5C may still be used by an exempt organization if a copy of the current Certificate of Exemption is attached.


Vendors must obtain a copy of the Certificate of Exemption at the time of sale to an exempt organization and should verify the expiration date at that time. These copies should be retained as are other tax records. See Record Retention Regulation 830 CMR 62C.24.

Vendors should verify the information shown on the Certificate of Exemption with that shown on the Form ST-5 or ST-5C. Vendors must not honor a certificate of exemption if it is not consistent with the Form ST-5 or ST-5C, or if the certificate has expired.

Vendors should call the Determinations Bureau at 727-0135 if they have any questions regarding a Certificate of Exemption which is presented to them.


Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue

January 3, 1985

TIR 85-1

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