Personal Income Tax
Massachusetts imposes a 5.1 percent flat tax rate on earned income, which is reduced by allowable credits, exemptions, and exclusions. Massachusetts filing status requirements and allowable deductions and credits differ slightly from those used by the federal government. The more common Massachusetts state income tax credits are earned income, limited income credit, and the real estate tax credit for seniors. For assistance with personal income taxes, more information, or answers to specific questions, contact:

Department of Revenue

Tax Assistance

Fax-on-Demand Forms

Office of the Taxpayer Advocate

Taxpayer Information

Sales/Use Tax
Both the sales and use taxes in Massachusetts are 6.25 percent. Sales taxes are levied on the retail sale of all items unless exempted by statute. Use tax is imposed on the sale price or rental charge of tangible personal property (including mail order items) that are used, stored, or consumed in the state and upon which a sales tax has not been paid. Use taxes must be paid directly to the Commonwealth by the purchaser. For more information or answers to specific questions, contact:

Department of Revenue

Automobile Excise Taxes
All Massachusetts residents who own and register a motor vehicle or trailer must annually pay a motor vehicle excise tax that is imposed by the city or town where the vehicle is usually garaged. The tax is based on a standard of $25 per each $1000 of the vehicle value. The value is based on the manufacturer’s list price in the year of manufacture, although the age of the vehicle is considered. Questions about your motor vehicle excise should be directed to your local Board of Assessors.

Property Taxes
The primary source of revenue for cities and towns in Massachusetts is property tax. Some municipalities rely on property taxes for more than half of the revenue needed to operate schools, services, and the local government. Property tax is “ad valorum” or based on value. The tax rates vary with the municipality and are apportioned according to assessed value. Property tax in Massachusetts—both real and personal property—is assessed to the person who is the owner of record on January first. Any ownership subsequent to that date will not be reflected on the tax bill. For more information or answers to specific questions, contact your local Board of Assessors.

State Residency
No formal procedure is required to establish legal residence in Massachusetts. Voter registration; automobile registration; a drivers license; the appearance of a person’s name on a city or town street list, and rent, utility, mortgage or telephone bills normally provide tangible proof of residence. However, individual public or private agencies or institutions like colleges and universities may have their own requirements for proof of residence.

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