File your Massachusetts personal income tax return

Are you ready to prepare and file your state taxes? Learn about the different options, and pick the one that’s right for you.

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Overview

If you earn money in Massachusetts, you likely will have to file a state tax return. You can file your return online with tax preparation software, or mail in paper forms. The state tax filing deadline is April 18, 2017.

The tax rate on most types of income for the 2016 tax year is 5.1%.

The tax rate for short-term capital gains, long-term gains from the sale of collectibles, and pre-1996 installment sales (after a 50% deduction) is 12%.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) recommends that you file your return as early as possible to avoid delays, get your refund faster, and reduce the risk of identity theft. You should complete your federal income tax return first because some information from it will apply to your state return.

Before you start

You should check for any tax law changes and gather your records to get ready to file your personal income tax return. Take a look at state deductions and credits too. These can help you lower your tax bill or get more money back.

How to

The fastest and most accurate way to file your return is online. When you e-file, it can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to get your refund if DOR needs more information to verify your identity and prevent fraud. Your refund may come even sooner if DOR doesn't need any more information.

If you file by paper, it can take 8 to 10 weeks to get your refund.

There are 2 ways to file your tax return:

Online

You can e-file your return using commercial tax preparation software. Check the list of online providers you can use to file your return.  

Massachusetts is part of the Free File Alliance, so many taxpayers may qualify for free e-filing options from participating providers.

Find free e-file options 

By mail

There are 2 ways to file a paper return:

Note: If you need to make a change on your tax return, print out and mail the entire return again – not just the page with the error.  

The DOR address where you send your return depends on how you file, and whether you need to make a payment or are expecting a refund. Follow the instructions on your tax form or check the list of tax form mailing addresses to find the correct address.

More info

If you need help with your tax return, you can also visit a free tax preparation site if you’re eligible, or hire a paid tax preparer to fill out and file your return.

Forms

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