Friday, December 06, 2013

Must small business owners file Massachusetts sales taxes electronically?

The owner of a small retail business in Massachusetts applied to the Department of Revenue for an abatement of penalties accrued as a result of failing to file sales tax returns and payments electronically and requested an exemption from the electronic filing requirement.  The petitioner, Marian Cocco, stated that she did not own a computer or know how to operate one, so she filed paper sales tax returns and made payments by checks.  The petitioner argued that hiring a tax professional would be an additional cost that she would have to pass along to her customers.   The Commissioner of Revenue denied the abatement application and exemption request.    However, the Appellate Tax Board found that the appellant taxpayer had "met the burden of proving reasonable cause under Mass. General Laws chapter 62C sections 33(f) and (g)."  For the full opinion in Cocco v. Commissioner of Revenue, go to the Appellate Tax Board website.