Showing posts with label tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tax. Show all posts

Thursday, June 24, 2021

MA News Briefs: Governors race adding candidates ; Baker proposes to expand tax break holiday

Governors race adding candidates 

"Another day, another candidate in the race for Massachusetts governor not named Baker. Or Healey, for that matter. 

With today’s campaign launch by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, three Democrats have now formally announced bids for the state’s top job. The Jamaica Plain lawmaker joins former Senate colleague Ben Downing and Harvard professor Danielle Allen in the race for the Democratic nomination."

Continue reading the article online 

Gov Baker proposes to expand tax break holiday

"WITH MASSACHUSETTS on track to end the year with a multi-billion dollar surplus, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday proposed a two-month sales tax holiday that would give consumers a break from the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax in August and September in an effort to drive shoppers to local businesses. 
The major tax relief proposal would cost the state an estimated $900 million in forgone revenue, but the Republican governor said it would also be a way for the state to show appreciation to business owners and consumers who have contributed to the surplus by finding ways to support each other during the COVID-19 pandemic."
Continue reading the article online 


Monday, March 2, 2020

Tax Time Guide: Millions make their first stop for tax help

Whether on home computers or mobile devices, the number of taxpayer visits to continues to grow year after year. Millions of taxpayers take advantage of the easy-to-use tools available 24 hours a day on the official website − is home to IRS Free File, “Where’s My Refund?”, the Tax Withholding Estimator and a host of other convenient applications.

The Tax Time Guide is series of news releases designed to help taxpayers get the information they need to file an accurate tax return. Additional help is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, available on
Research is easier with tools like the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA), a tax law resource that works using a series of questions and provides responses. There are also answers for Frequently Asked Questions.

Tax information is also available in Spanish Español; Chinese 中文; Korean 한국어; Russian Pусский; and Vietnamese TiếngViệt.

Online account tool
Taxpayers can use the View Your Account tool to see their tax account. Information such as a payoff amount, the balance for each tax year owed, up to 24 months of their payment history and key information from their current tax year return as originally filed.

‘Where’s My Refund?’
Taxpayers can easily find the most up-to-date information about their tax refund using the "Where’s My Refund?" tool on and on the official IRS mobile app, IRS2Go. Within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of an e-filed return, or four weeks after a paper return is mailed, taxpayers can start checking on the status of their refund.

Finding free tax return preparation
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to individuals who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and individuals with limited English proficiency who need assistance in preparing their taxes. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those age 60 and older.

Eligible taxpayers can find the nearest community-based site staffed by IRS trained and certified volunteers using the VITA/TCE Site Locator. There, they can get their tax returns prepared and filed electronically without charge.

Free DIY tax preparation
The IRS Free File program, available only through, offers 70% of all taxpayers the choice of 10 brand-name tax preparation software packages to use at no cost. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions for which the taxpayer qualifies. It is free for those who earned $69,000 or less in 2019. Some of the Free File packages also offer free state tax return preparation.

Any taxpayer, regardless of income, who is comfortable preparing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms. This electronic version of paper IRS tax forms is also used to file tax returns online.

Finding a tax professional
The taxpayer is responsible for the accuracy of their tax return and should choose their tax professional carefully. Tax return preparers have differing levels of skills, education and expertise. There is a searchable directory on to help taxpayers find a tax professional in their area. The list can be sorted by credentials and qualifications.

Get a tax return transcript
A Tax Return Transcript shows most line items from an original tax return, along with any forms and schedules, but not changes made after it was filed. The Get Transcript tool is free and available on Taxpayers can view, print or download their tax transcripts after the IRS has processed the return. The IRS redesigned tax transcripts to partially mask all personally identifiable information for any person or entity on the 1040-series tax return. All financial entries remain fully visible. Ordering a tax transcript will not speed up a taxpayer’s refund or provide an updated refund date.

How to make a tax payment
Taxpayers should visit the “Pay” tab on to see their payment options. Most tax software products give taxpayers various payment options, including the option to withdraw the funds from a bank account. These include:
  • IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers a free, fast, secure and easy way to make an electronic payment from their bank account to the U.S. Treasury.
  • Use an approved payment processor to pay by credit, debit card or digital wallet options for a fee. Make monthly or quarterly tax payments using IRS Direct Pay or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
  • Pay by cash at a participating retail store.
Need more time to file?
An extension of time to file a tax return does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes. Taxpayers should estimate and pay any owed taxes by the April 15 deadline to help avoid possible penalties. Taxpayers must file their extension request no later than the regular due date of their return.

Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use IRS Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension. This gives the taxpayer until Oct. 15 to file a return. To get the extension, the taxpayer must estimate their tax liability and should also pay any amount due.

Can’t pay a tax bill?
Everyone should file their 2019 tax return by the tax filing deadline regardless of whether or not they can pay in full. Taxpayers who can’t pay all their taxes have options including: 
  • Online Payment Agreement — Most individual taxpayers and many business taxpayers may qualify to use Online Payment Agreement to set up a payment plan. Available payment plan options include a full-pay agreement, a short-term plan of up to 120 days to pay in full, or a long-term monthly payment plan (installment agreement). The amount a taxpayer owes and their tax- filing compliance determines which payment plan options may be available. Taxpayers can setup a plan on in a matter of minutes. Setup fees may apply for some types of plans.
  • Delaying Collection — If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may delay collection until the taxpayer's financial condition improves.
  • Offer in Compromise (OIC) — Taxpayers who qualify enter into an agreement with the IRS that settles their tax liability for less than the full amount owed.
Face-to-face IRS help
Nearly every tax issue can be resolved online or by phone, but some taxpayers still need face-to-face help from the IRS. All IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) provide service by appointment. To find the closest IRS TAC, enter a five-digit ZIP Code into the TAC Office Locator tool on To schedule an appointment, call 844-545-5640. Taxpayers need valid photo identification and a taxpayer identification number, such as a Social Security number, to receive services.

Tax Withholding Estimator
The Tax Withholding Estimator is a tool on designed to help taxpayers determine how to have the right amount of tax withheld from their paychecks. The Tax Withholding Estimator will help determine if a taxpayer needs to adjust their withholding and submit a new Form W-4 to their employer. The IRS urges employees to perform a Paycheck Checkup using the Tax Withholding Estimator on A Paycheck Checkup can help taxpayers see if they’re having their employer withhold the right amount of tax from their paychecks. Even taxpayers who changed their 2019 withholding should recheck their withholding now. A mid-year withholding change in 2019, for example, may have a different full-year impact in 2020. It’s a good idea to check withholding every year. In addition to changes in tax law, life events like marriage, divorce or adopting a child, can have an effect on withholding, too.

Friday, November 1, 2019

MassBudget: Statement on Proposed Gas Tax Increase

October 30, 2019
Statement on Proposed Gas Tax Increase 
Statement by Marie-Frances Rivera, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President, in response to discussions on increasing the gas tax: 

With congested highways, antiquated public transit, and limited transit options outside of Greater Boston, the Legislature and business community are debating the merits of increasing the gas tax to modernize our state's transportation system. It is critically important to understand that not only would this increase hit low and middle income communities the hardest but it would draw on a source of transportation revenue that will likely decline over the long term.

Our report, 14 Options for Raising Progressive Revenue, outlines a variety of fair and sustainable ways we can raise revenue, including raising corporate taxes. These options ask those who are benefiting most from economic growth to contribute a little more to help bring our transportation system into the 21st century.

If policymakers decide to raise the gas tax, increasing and expanding worker tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, can create a financial buffer for some who would be hardest hit by a gas tax increase.

Interested in learning more about the pros and cons of higher gas taxes? Read our latest report here.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02109

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 1 State Street, Suite 1250, Boston, MA 02109

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

MassBudget: Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Building a Strong Economy: 

The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy 

Effective economic policies can create a more highly productive state economy and make it possible to improve economic opportunity and security for working families. Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy examines the economic research on the relationship between effective investments in education and transportation and improved economic productivity. 

In both cases the findings of the research are clear: investments that lead to a better educated workforce and more efficient transportation improve the productivity of a state economy. Failing to make those investments can lead to weaker economic growth and greater costs down the line.

The paper also examines the economic effects of tax reforms that can fund those investments. Over the past several decades, incomes for most in our state have barely budged, while incomes for our highest-income households have grown rapidly. Our highest-income households also benefit most from the structure of our tax system: they currently pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes. 

We examine the evidence on the likely economic effects of tax reforms that would bring the overall level of state and local taxation for very high income households closer to that of other residents. Studies of other states that have enacted such reforms have found little to no negative economic effects. When such reforms raise revenue for investments that improve the long term strength of the state economy they can be an important part of an effective state economic development strategy.

To read the full report, please click HERE.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.


BOSTON, MA 02108
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

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screen grab of MassBudget report
screen grab of MassBudget report

Saturday, July 25, 2015

MA gas tax is just below National average

Summer time is drive time for many to travel for their vacations. Driving uses gasoline and gas prices vary state to state. What portion of the price variation is actually due to the state taxes? The American Petroleum Institute publishes a report on the state taxes and calculates a national average.

The MA total gas tax is 26.54 cents and including the Federal tax (18.4), the total per gallon is 44.94 cents. The national average is 48.88 cents.

Here is a summary report on gasoline and diesel taxes. This report is updated quarterly. API collects motor fuel tax information for all 50 states and compiles a report and chart detailing changes and calculating a nationwide average. 
API's chart reflects a weighted average for each state, meaning that any taxes which can vary across a state's jurisdiction are averaged according to the population of the local areas subject to each particular tax rate. Where appropriate, the weighted average also takes into consideration the typical percentages of premium, midgrade, and regular fuel purchased in each state. 
In states where taxes vary depending upon the price of the motor fuel (for example, where the tax rate is set as a percentage of the sales price rather than a cents per gallon method), the state average listed on the chart is a snapshot based upon the price of fuel (as reported by AAA) on the date the chart is updated. Be sure to also look at the "Notes" attachment for a detailed explanation of the various taxes included in our chart.

screen grab of API gas tax map
screen grab of API gas tax map

You can find the full report here

the interactive map here

and the MA data here:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MassBudget: How Do MA Business Taxes Compare to Other States?

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

How Do Massachusetts Business Taxes Compare to Other States
When businesses are deciding where to locate or expand, they look at a range of factors: proximity to materials and customers, infrastructure, quality of the local workforce, energy costs, etc. A state's tax policy also may play a role in some cases, though rarely a primary one - after all, state and local business taxes average less than 2 percent of total business costs nationwide. Nevertheless, business tax levels are a topic that receives a substantial amount of attention, both in the press and among policy makers. Notably, Massachusetts has relatively low business tax levels compared to other states.

Our updated fact sheet, How Do Massachusetts Business Taxes Compare to Other States, reviews the evidence on statewide business taxes and finds that:
  • According to one prominent study -- produced by the Council on State Taxation (COST) -- overall state and local business taxes as a share of the local economy are lower in Massachusetts than in 39 other states.

  • A separate analysis by the Anderson Economic Group finds that Massachusetts business taxes are a relatively small share of business profits -- smaller than in most other states and smaller than the national average.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
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Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108