Paying taxes is inevitable, but if you receive a notice from the Department of Revenue (DOR), you might feel a sense of anxiety or fear. In some cases, you may be able to dispute DOR notices or create a more manageable payment program if the tax amount is indisputable.
Understanding pre-assessment and post-assessment appeals and how to make use of them if you receive a DOR notice can help minimize stress when disputing or paying additional taxes.
A Notice of Intent to Assess (NIA) is issued by the DOR when they believe that you owe additional taxes, either as a result of an audit or a general verification of a tax return. This notice is not a tax bill, but it does show the amount due if it goes undisputed.
However, if you disagree with the amount due, you can ask for a pre-assessment appeal, including a discussion regarding the increased amount. This appeal is your chance to provide additional information that may refute their belief that you owe additional taxes.
If you find that the DOR may be correct in their assessment of additional taxes due but cannot pay the full amount, you have the right to ask for settlement consideration.
This pre-assessment appeal is filed with a DR-1 form, either through the MassTaxConnect website or via mail. The form must be received 30 days from the date the NIA was issued or, if mailed, postmarked within 25 days of the date of the NIA.
A Notice of Assessment (NOA) is issued when the DOR has found that you do owe additional taxes, either from the completion of an audit, a late return, an unpaid return, or an error in the return. This notice is the actual tax bill that the DOR says you owe. Once the NOA bill is issued and you agree with the tax amount to be paid, you have 30 days to either:
- Pay the total amount to avoid additional penalties and interest
- Apply for a monthly payment agreement
If you disagree with the tax assessment, you can try to resolve the tax dispute through the following options:
- Amend a tax return that you already filed
- Submit a post-assessment appeal by filing an Application for Abatement/Amended Return
- File Form DR-1, along with the Application for Abatement/Amended Return, to ask for settlement consideration