The 10 Basics Every Massachusetts Business Should Know About Sales Tax

What is the Sales Tax Rate in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts sales tax is 6.25% of the sales price or rental charge of tangible personal property or certain services sold or rented.

What is Sales Tax in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts sales tax is 6.25% of the sales price or rental charge of tangible personal property (including gas, electricity, and steam) or certain telecommunications services sold or rented in Massachusetts.

Are All Goods and Services Taxable?

No

How Do I Know What’s Taxable and What’s Not?

This link can help you determine what is taxable and what isn’t in Massachusetts. Click here.

Who Pays Sales Tax?

Consumers pay sales tax.  Merchants do not pay sales tax out of their own pockets.  It’s commonly referred to as a pass through tax.

What Am I Responsible For?

You are required to collect sales tax, hold it secure and send it to the State on-time and in-full.

When Is My Sales Tax Payment Due in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Sales Tax is due on the 20th of the month following the reporting period. Filing frequency is determined by the amount of sales tax collected. Click here for a list of due dates.

How Do I Know How Much Sales Tax to Charge? 

The state’s sales and use tax rate is 6.25% — made up entirely of the Maryland sales tax. Maryland is one of 13 states that does not collect a local sales tax. Find more information here.  The final and definitive answer is always the sales tax rate posted on the State Department of Revenue website.  Rates posted on the web are often not up-to-date and incorrect. It’s always the merchant’s responsibility to charge the correct sales tax rate.

Who Gets the Sales Tax Money?

In Massachusetts all sales tax is paid directly to the State.

How Do I Manage Tax Exempt Sales?

Tax exempt organizations such as schools and religious organizations are often exempt from sales tax. They are required to give you copy of their “TAX EXEMPT CERTIFICATE” at the time of the sale and you are required to keep this certificate on file. Failing to do so may result in you paying the sales tax out of your own pocket if you have a sales tax audit.

What if I Forget to Pay or Spend the Money and Can’t Pay?

Massachusetts has severe penalties for missing tax payments. You can find the penalties for late payments here. If sales tax goes unpaid, states will seize the assets of the business or owner and auction them off to pay the debt.  In extreme cases owners will be prosecuted and sent to jail. Even if the business closes, sales tax is a personal liability that will follow the owner until paid.

Massachusetts Sales and Use TAX HELP:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue

(617) 887-6367