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spf1040
New Member

Is there any case law or statute addressing whether the "mailbox rule" applies to late-filed tax returns in MA for the purpose of meeting the 3 year deadline to claim an overpayment?

I mailed my Federal and state returns for 2018 on 10/13/22. In both cases, I elected to apply the overpayment to the subsequent year, but discovered after filing for 2019 that the credit had not been applied, because my return was deemed to have been filed after the 3 year deadline for claiming refunds or credits. I contacted both tax agencies to check the filing dates on record, and determined that they were recorded as filed several days after I mailed them, which presumably is when they were received, rather than on the postmark date. Both tax agencies did confirm my 6-month extension.

I appealed this determination for the Federal return on the grounds that although 26 U.S.C. §7502, which established the "mailbox rule" (timely mailing is timely filing), is generally interpreted as applying only to returns filed by the prescribed due date for the return plus any extension, and therefore late filed returns are normally considered filed on the date on which they are received, a U.S. appeals court ruled in Weisbart v. U.S. Department of Treasury (2000) that the mailbox rule does apply in regard the three year lookback period for credits or refunds claimed on late filed returns. The IRS subsequently codified this in 26 CFR § 301.7502-1.
I provided a Certfied Mail receipt and a video of me stuffing, sealing, and mailing the envelope as proof of the mailing date. After review the IRS agreed that my claim for the overpayment had been timely and applied it to my account.

I am now working on a similar appeal to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. I have not been able to find any ruling that specifically addresses this matter for MA, nor am I able to find any provision in the state tax code or any information at the DOR web site. I believe both §7502 and CFR §301.7502-1 should be applicable, since they both precede that last time a bill was enacted to bring the state tax code into conformity with the Federal code (2005), but it would be very helpful if I could cite any Massachusetts case, statute, or publication rather than referring entirely to the Federal case law and tax code for an appeal regarding a state return. Has this ever been addressed in MA?

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1 Reply
MonikaK1
Expert Alumni

Is there any case law or statute addressing whether the "mailbox rule" applies to late-filed tax returns in MA for the purpose of meeting the 3 year deadline to claim an overpayment?

Here are some resources for Massachusetts Civil Procedure and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue regarding deadlines and mailing:

 

Massachusetts Civil Procedure Rule 6: Time provides at (d) Additional time after mail or electronic service:

 

Whenever a party has the right or is required to do some act within a prescribed period after the service of a notice or other papers upon the party and the notice or paper is served upon the party by mail, by e-mail pursuant to Rule 5(b)(1), or otherwise electronically, including through the Electronic Filing Service Provider pursuant to Rule 7(b) of the Massachusetts Rules of Electronic Filing, three (3) days shall be added to the prescribed period.

 

This Massachusetts Department of Revenue webpage provides the following with regard to the deadline for applying overpayment credits:

 

  • Original return was timely filed: A request for a refund or credit of an overpayment of tax where the original return was timely filed shall be made within the period permitted for filing an amended return, which is the same as the period permitted for abatement of the tax per 830 CMR 62C.37.1.
     
  • Original return has not been timely: A request for a refund or credit of an overpayment of any tax where an original return has not been timely filed, shall be made by filing the overdue return within 3 years from the due date of the return, taking into account any extension of time for filing the return, or within 2 years of the date that the tax was paid, whichever is later. 

 

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