Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Out With The Old (MA From CA-6); In With The New Amended Return Concept For MA Business Tax Type Returns

William Delaney, EA
Westwood, MA
The MA Department of Revenue has issued TIR 15-13 (11/17/2015) which outlines (effective 11/30/2015) the new way to amend business tax type returns (income, withholding, sales, etc. on behalf of business taxpayers).  While form CA-6 is still in place for individual tax type returns, it will be discontinued for “business” returns.

What brings this about is MassTaxConnect, which will be introduced by the DOR as of the end of November.  According to the TIR, “the amended return process will be automated, and in most cases will be separated from the abatement application process.”  How will it work?

Filing an amended return will now mean referring to the original return, making any necessary changes or corrections, and filing it as an “amended” return.  This would also include a no-change situation, for example a correction to a capital loss carryover.  You would do it by “log on to MassTaxConnect, adjust the amounts shown on the taxpayer’s prior return, and submit the amended return by following the instructions provided…”
“Any taxpayer amending a return using a paper form will manually complete the same tax form as used for the original or prior amended return and check the box indicating that the return is an amended return.”

What is left unsaid in the TIR is how do you actually access the tax return which you wish to amend.  My “guess” is that you must be established as the Professional Tax Preparer identified with the taxpayer; otherwise, how could you access a taxpayer’s records?  So, if you are not the PTP for the business type, you will first need to go through that process before MassTaxConnect will allow you to do anything.

The Department of Revenue has also published a “Hey Business Taxpayers!” one page colored brochure and mailed it to business taxpayers.  According to the brochure, amendments are just three easy steps---log in; select an existing return; submit!  RESULT:  New process and internal streamlining means faster processing and response time.  It’s so easy---why should a client expect us to send them a bill for a simple three-step process?  

For those of you who may have doubts (or fear the unknown), the brochure explains that:  “You will be able to continue to file amendments to corporate excise returns through third party tax preparation software, the same way you file original returns (i.e. “Corp. eFile”).”  The TIR also explains that:  “Taxpayers using a third party software provider will adjust the information using the amended return process specific to the software they are using.”  Apparently there will be a check the box option to indicate that you are filing an amended return.

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