Massachusetts Tax Filing

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Filing Your Massachusetts State Taxes

Once again it’s tax season– or for some new workers it’s a first-time thing. Figuring out and filing your tax forms can be anywhere from “just not fun” to downright intimidating – but there is help. Here you will find answers, forms and more that will make your paperwork easier, faster and less daunting. The information below will help you determine your residency status, find the correct forms and give you other information you’ll need in order to get started.

State income tax returns for 2016 are due Tuesday, April 18.

Any Massachusetts resident who earned income of more than $8,000 in 2016 must file a state tax return. Note, however, that Massachusetts taxpayers who earned less than the filing threshold for their status may qualify for a Limited Income Credit. If you think this is you, you still fill out and file the forms. (This credit is not available if you file as married, filing separately.)

Before you get started, you should know that Massachusetts has two flat income tax rates. Any income that came from wages, dividends, interest or long-term capital gains is taxed at 5.3 percent. Income from short and long-term capital gains, short and long-term capital gains on collectibles, and any installment sales before 1996, which at the time was considered capital gains, is subject to a 12 percent tax.

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Massachusetts Tax Forms

Determine Your Resident Status so You File the Right Forms

What form you need to fill out and file to Massachusetts is based on your legal residency, or where your permanent, official “home address” was during 2016. Massachusetts categorizes its residents four ways: full-time Massachusetts residents, part-year residents, Massachusetts residents who worked in another state, nonresidents worked in Massachusetts or who sold real estate or property located in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Residents

If your legal, permanent home address was in Massachusetts and/or you lived here (with a Massachusetts legal home address) for more than 183 days, you are a full year Massachusetts resident. If you earned more than $8,000 in gross or total income, you will need to file a resident income tax return. If you overpaid withholdings and want a refund, you must file a return. As a resident you will use Form 1. You can download the 2016 Instructions for Form 1 above for additional information.

Massachusetts Resident – But Just Part of the Year

You are a part-year Massachusetts resident if you either moved to Massachusetts and established a legal home address here, or you moved out of Massachusetts. If you earned more than $8,000 from any sources while you were a resident of Massachusetts then you must file a Massachusetts state tax return. Use Form 1 NR/PY. You can find additional information in the 2016 Instructions for Form 1-NR/PY, which you can download above.

Massachusetts Resident – But Worked Elsewhere

Massachusetts allows both its residents and part-year residents to claim a credit in order to avoid dual taxation for taxes paid to any other U.S. state and all Canadian provinces. Use the federal Form 1116 - Foreign Tax Credit to reduce any taxes you paid to Canada. The Massachusetts credit is only for taxes paid to U.S. states or Canadian provinces and does not apply to any taxes you may have paid to a city or other local government, the federal government, or to a foreign country that is not Canada. This credit does not apply to interest and penalties you may have paid.

To get a credit for taxes you paid to another jurisdiction, fill out the Line 9 Worksheet – Income Tax Paid to Another Jurisdiction on Schedule Z. Part-year residents file Schedule F - Income Apportionment for credits for income taxes paid to other jurisdictions.

Calculate the credit using the tax you owe and not the tax withheld. Compare the amount of Massachusetts income tax on the income you reported to the other jurisdiction to the tax you actually paid to the other jurisdiction. The lower of the two values will be used to determine your credit. You should calculate each item of income that was taxed in another state or jurisdiction separately when you are figuring out your allowable credit.

Nonresidents who work in Massachusetts

If you were legally a nonresident of Massachusetts you must file a nonresident income tax return with Massachusetts if you earned in excess of $8,000 from Massachusetts wages or other income, including property sales. If your Massachusetts income exceeded your prorated personal exemption, you are also required to file a nonresident return. Nonresidents file Form 1 NR/PY, Nonresident or Part-Year Resident Individual Income Tax Return.

Use this formula to determine your prorated personal exemption: Personal exemption per filing status x ((Massachusetts-sourced income)/(gross income)).