2 Welcome! This year s filing season update presentation is different from prior years. The new format allows you to quickly learn about new tax law and administrative changes and link directly to supporting documents if you wish - saving you valuable time and making for a more comprehensive learning experience.
3 If you re a tax professional, you can take a short quiz at the end of this presentation to earn a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit. You may access the quiz from the DOR homepage.
4 Contents of the 2014 update: Filing Due Date Same-Sex Filing Provisions Internal Revenue Code Provisions Credits Employer-Provided Benefits Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) Expensing Federal Exclusions Health Insurance Provisions Administrative Provisions
5 Filing Due Date: Massachusetts income tax forms are due on or before Tuesday, April 15, ~ April 2014 ~ Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
7 Same-Sex Filing Provisions In Massachusetts, same-sex spouses are entitled to file as married persons, jointly or separately. See TIR Under prior federal law, same-sex marriage was not recognized and same-sex couples were required to file as individuals for federal income tax purposes. Where elements of Massachusetts taxation derive from federal law, same-sex spouses were required to perform special calculations for Massachusetts purposes to adjust the federal return information by taking the different marital status into account to arrive at the proper Massachusetts tax figure. Continued
8 Same-Sex Filing Provisions (Continued) As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct (2013), same-sex spouses may, in cases where applicable state law recognizes same-sex marriage, file their federal tax returns as married persons, jointly or separately. See Rev. Rul and any subsequent federal guidance. Continued...
9 Same-Sex Filing Provisions (Continued) For Massachusetts personal income tax purposes, same-sex couples formerly combined two individual federal returns to come up with the Massachusetts figure to enter on the joint Massachusetts return. They no longer need to do this, and may take the applicable Massachusetts figures directly from their federal form(s), the way other married couples complete their tax returns.
11 Internal Revenue Code Provisions As a general rule, Massachusetts will not adopt any federal tax law changes incorporated into the Internal Revenue Code ( Code ) after January 1, However, certain specific provisions of the personal income tax automatically adopt the current Code. Provisions of the Code adopted on a current Code basis are: Continued
12 Internal Revenue Code Adopted on a current Code basis: Provisions (Continued) Roth IRAs IRAs Exclusion for gain on the sale of a principal residence Trade or business expenses Travel expenses Meals and entertainment expenses Maximum deferral amount of government employees deferred compensation plans Deduction for health insurance costs of self-employed Medical and dental expenses Annuities Health savings accounts, and Employer-provided health insurance coverage and amounts received by an employee under a health and accident plan.
13 Internal Revenue Code Provisions (Continued) For additional information on Massachusetts personal income tax current Code provisions, refer to: TIR Massachusetts 1998 Reducing Income Taxes Act TIR Effect of Federal "Bonus" Depreciation Allowance (as revised) TIR Issues Concerning the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 TIR Certain Personal Income Tax and Corporate Excise Changes in the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Legislation
15 Deductions, Exemptions and Credits There are three items this year you should know about: Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Increased Employer Wellness Program Tax Credit Earned Income Credit Continued
16 Deductions, Exemptions and Credits (Continued) Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Increased A credit is allowed to an owner or tenant of residential property located in Massachusetts equal to the amount by which the real estate tax payment or 25% of the rent constituting real estate tax payment exceeds 10% of the taxpayer s total income, not to exceed $1,030. The amount of the credit is subject to limitations based on the taxpayer s total income and the assessed value of the real estate, which must not exceed $700,000. For tax year 2013, an eligible taxpayer s total income cannot exceed $55,000 in the case of a single filer who is not a head of household filer, $69,000 for a head of household filer, and $82,000 for joint filers. In order to qualify for the credit, a taxpayer must be age 65 or older and must occupy the property as his or her principal residence. See TIR for more information.
17 Deductions, Exemptions and Credits (Continued) Employer Wellness Program Tax Credit Effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, a Massachusetts business that employs 200 or fewer workers may qualify for a tax credit for up to 25% of the cost of implementing a certified wellness program for its employees. A taxpayer seeking to claim the credit must apply to the Department of Public Health (DPH) for certification of its wellness program. DPH will approve a dollar amount of credit for a qualifying taxpayer and issue a certificate to be provided in connection with filing a tax return in order to claim the credit. The amount of the credit that may be claimed by a taxpayer cannot exceed $10,000 in any tax year. DPH has promulgated a regulation, 105 CMR , Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit Incentive, which sets forth criteria for authorizing and certifying the credit. The credit is set to expire on December 31, 2017.
18 Deductions, Exemptions and Credits (Continued) Earned Income Credit For federal income tax purposes, the American Taxpayer Relief Act (P.L ) makes permanent or extends through 2017 enhancements to the earned income tax credit. The Massachusetts earned income tax credit equals 15% of the federal earned income tax credit received by the taxpayer for the taxable year. Therefore, Massachusetts allows 15% of the amount the taxpayer receives federally under IRC sec. 32.
20 Employer-Provided Benefits Parking, Combined Commuter Highway Vehicle Transportation and T- Pass Fringe Benefit IRC sec. 132(f) The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 (P.L ) amended sec. 132(f) to increase the maximum monthly excludable amount for employer-provided commuter highway vehicle transportation and transit pass benefits to an amount equal to the maximum monthly excludable amount for qualified parking. The federal exclusion amounts for tax year 2013 are $245 per month for qualified parking, and $245 per month for transit pass and commuter highway vehicle transportation benefits. However, Massachusetts follows IRC sec. 132(f) as amended and in effect under the January 1, 2005 Code and does not adopt the increased exclusion allowed by ATRA. For tax year 2013, the Massachusetts monthly exclusion amounts are $245 for employer-provided parking and $125 for combined transit pass and commuter highway vehicle transportation benefits. See TIR 13-2.
22 Individual Retirement Accounts Qualified Charitable Distribution from an Individual Retirement Account ( IRA ) IRC sec. 408(d)(8) The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (P.L ) provided an exclusion from federal gross income for distributions made in tax years 2006 and 2007 from traditional and Roth IRAs to qualified charities that would otherwise be taxable income. That Act allowed taxpayers age or greater to make tax-free distributions from traditional and Roth IRAs to qualified charities for the 2006 and 2007 tax years, not to exceed $100,000 per tax year. Subsequently, the federal exclusion was extended for distributions made in tax years 2008 through The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L ) extends the exclusion for distributions made in tax years 2012 and MA adopts this exclusion from gross income, including the extension for tax years 2012 and 2013, given that IRC sec. 408(d)(8) is adopted by Massachusetts on a current Code basis. See TIR
24 Expensing Temporary Change to IRC Sec. 179 Expensing Under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L ), effective for tax years beginning in 2012 and 2013, the dollar limitation for an election under IRC sec. 179 to expense property in its initial year is $500,000, and the IRC sec. 179 overall investment phase-out threshold is $2,000,000. Massachusetts adopts these changes because IRC sec. 179 is a trade or business expense deduction; these deductions are adopted by Massachusetts on a current Code basis.
26 Federal Exclusions Federal Exclusion Not Allowed Cancellation of Indebtedness on Principal Residence IRC sec. 108(a) The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (P.L ) amended IRC sec. 108(a) by adding an exclusion for indebtedness that is discharged before January 1, 2010 and is qualified principal residence indebtedness. The Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 extended this exclusion for three years, until January 1, For federal tax purposes, mortgage forgiveness debt relief on principal residences has been extended until December 31, 2013, under the federal American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L ) Massachusetts does not adopt the federal exclusion of cancellation of indebtedness on a principal residence or the extension because these provisions were enacted after January 1, 2005.
27 Federal Deduction Not Allowed Federal Bonus Depreciation IRC sec. 168(k) For federal income tax purposes, under IRC sec. 168(k), bonus depreciation applies to eligible property acquired after December 31, 2007 and placed in service before January 1, 2014 (before January 1, 2015, for certain longer-lived and transportation assets). The bonus depreciation rate for property placed in service during this period is generally 50%. Under 2002 legislation, Massachusetts decoupled from bonus depreciation allowed under IRC sec. 168(k), as amended and in effect for the current year. Therefore, Massachusetts does not adopt this additional depreciation deduction. See TIRs and for further details.
28 Federal Deduction Not Allowed Domestic Production Activity Deduction IRC sec. 199 For federal income tax purposes, a business entity that pays wages to employees and conducts eligible domestic production activities is allowed a deduction for domestic production activities under IRC sec Generally, in the case of a non-corporate taxpayer, the deduction allows a business with qualified production activities to deduct 9% of its U.S. adjusted gross income. Under 2004 legislation, Massachusetts decoupled from the production activity deduction allowed under IRC sec. 199, as amended and in effect for the current year. Therefore, Massachusetts does not adopt the federal domestic production activity deduction. See TIR 05-5.
30 Health Insurance Provisions Duty to Obtain Health Insurance; Penalty for Failure to Obtain Health Insurance Most Massachusetts residents age 18 and over are required to have health insurance, if it is affordable to them. Residents who have access to affordable coverage but do not obtain the coverage may face state tax penalties pursuant to G.L. c. 111M, sec. 2. Adults who can afford health insurance are required to have coverage each month of the year, although 63-day gaps in coverage are allowed. The monthly penalties for failing to obtain affordable coverage for taxable year 2013 are set out in TIR 13-9 and are based on half of the minimum monthly insurance premium for which an individual would have qualified through the Connector. Continued
31 Health Insurance Provisions (Continued) Schedule HC, Health Care Information, must be completed by all full-year residents and certain part-year residents age 18 and over to notify the Department whether or not they had health insurance in each month of Taxpayers who did not have coverage for all of 2013, or had a gap in coverage of four or more consecutive months will need to determine if they had access to affordable health insurance (through an employer or the government or on their own). Worksheets and tables are available to determine whether the taxpayer had access to affordable health insurance.
32 Health Insurance Provisions (Continued) If it is determined that a taxpayer could have afforded health insurance, the taxpayer has the right to appeal the application of the penalty due to hardship by requesting an appeal to the Connector on Schedule HC. For more information about the health care reform law, including DOR s regulation 830 CMR 111M.2.1, Health Insurance Individual Mandate; Personal Income Tax Return Requirements, or the Connector s regulation 956 CMR 6.00, Determining Affordability for the Individual Mandate see the Health Connector s website.
34 Home Office Deduction, Optional Safe-Harbor Method IRC sec. 280A(c) allows a deduction for expenses related to certain business use of a home. Beginning with tax year 2013, IRS Revenue Procedure (RP)provides an optional safe harbor method to determine the amount of deductible expenses attributable to certain business use of a home. In general, Massachusetts adopts the current federal rules for IRC sec. 280A and the optional safe harbor method allowed by RP Continued
35 Home Office Deduction, Optional Safe-Harbor Method (Con t) RP sets the allowable deduction for home office expense at $5 per square foot for a maximum of 300 square feet of qualified home office space used, for a maximum yearly deduction of $1,500. RP also provides rules for use of the safe harbor method, including the following: 1. any actual expenses related to the qualified business use of the home for the taxable year are not deductible, 2. any disallowed amount carried over from a prior taxable year in which the taxpayer calculated and substantiated actual expenses for purposes of IRC sec. 280A is not deductible in the current year, and 3. the depreciation deduction allowable for the business portion of the home for the taxable year is deemed to be zero. However, for federal income tax purposes, taxpayers using the safe harbor method may deduct certain expenses related to the home (e.g., mortgage interest and real estate taxes) exclusively on federal Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Continued
36 Home Office Deduction, Optional Safe-Harbor Method (Con t) Massachusetts Treatment In general, Massachusetts adopts the current federal rules for IRC sec. 280A and the optional safe harbor method allowed by RP A taxpayer who elects to use the safe harbor method of claiming the home office deduction on federal Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, line 30,may deduct the same amount (not to exceed $1,500) on Massachusetts Schedule C, Massachusetts Profit or Loss from Business, line 29, expenses for business use of your home. However, because a taxpayer electing the safe harbor method is not allowed to deduct any actual expenses related to the business use of a home on federal Schedule C, for purposes of the Massachusetts personal income tax, the taxpayer is not allowed to deduct any portion of mortgage interest and real estate taxes for the business use of a residence on the Massachusetts Schedule C. Continued
37 Home Office Deduction, Optional Safe-Harbor Method (Con t) Furthermore, to the extent that a taxpayer electing the safe harbor method deducts mortgage interest and real estate taxes on federal Schedule A, these amounts are not deductible for Massachusetts purposes, as Massachusetts law does not allow the federal Schedule A deductions for mortgage interest and real estate taxes for the non-business use of a home. An employee who is an outside salesperson who qualifies for the Massachusetts employee business expense deduction and is qualified to elect the federal safe harbor method of calculating the home office deduction may also deduct the same amount (not to exceed $1,500) when calculating allowable employee business expenses on Schedule Y, line 1. Just as with Massachusetts Schedule C filers, an employee electing the safe harbor method is not allowed to deduct on the Massachusetts personal income tax return any portion of mortgage interest and real estate taxes for the business use of a residence.
39 Administrative Provisions Early Mediation The new Early Mediation program is an integral part of DOR s dispute resolution process. The program is designed to mutually settle audit cases in under half the time it normally takes, making the entire appeals process more efficient. Continued
40 Administrative Provisions Early Mediation The tax assessment threshold is now $250,000. Other eligibility requirements for early mediation include: Taxpayers must state their case and facts in writing, The issues of the case must be fully developed, Both the taxpayer and DOR must come to mediation willing to settle, Decision makers for both the taxpayer and DOR must participate in the mediation sessions. Administrative Procedure 635 has full details on the Early Mediation Program.
41 Administrative Provisions Plain Talk Initiative As part of DOR360, we re looking to make our notices and forms as clear and easy to understand as possible. To do that, we d like your help. Here s how: Mark any area of a notice or bill that you find confusing and tell us what is not clear. Then, snap a smartphone picture or scan the document and your improvement suggestions to or, fax it to That's it - we'll take it from there! Working together, we can ensure that we're providing you the most understandable and easy-to-read notices and forms.
42 Tips from the Taxpayer Advocate DOR is premiering a new website feature this year Tips from the Taxpayer Advocate. The series will feature helpful tips and advice arising from the real-world issues of our Taxpayer Advocate. Here s our first tip: If you are a Massachusetts resident who is spending time in some warm-weather clime this winter, Florida say, you should be aware of a Massachusetts sales tax provision that applies if you buy a new vehicle while out of state. Under Massachusetts law, when you trade in your vehicle towards the purchase of another vehicle, the trade-in allowance is deducted from the final purchase price before the sales tax is calculated at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. However, only vendors registered with DOR are allowed the trade-in allowance. Continued
43 Tips from the Taxpayer Advocate (Continued) What does this mean? Let s say you purchase a vehicle for $30,000 and the dealer gives you a $10,000 in trade-in allowance. If the dealer is registered with DOR you would pay $1,250 in Massachusetts sales tax when you register the vehicle after returning to the state. If the dealer isn t registered, you would owe $1,875, as the sales tax would be calculated on the full price. Fortunately, registration is only a click away on DOR s WebFile for Business page, so the dealer can easily sign up. There are no fees to register. So before you buy, ask the dealership if they are registered with DOR and don t pay more sales tax than is necessary.
44 Thanks! Thanks for visiting DOR s 2014 Filing Season Update presentation. We hope you found it helpful.
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