Everything you need to know about
Massachusetts state sales and use tax.
What is the sales tax in Massachusetts?
Taxes in Massachusetts are destination-based, meaning the sales tax rate is based, or determined from, the destination location an item is shipped to. This complicates business for retailers who need to have the exact and up-to-date sales tax rate for every shipment they make.
To see a full breakout of sales tax rates in MA by state, county, city and special district, use our easy Massachusetts sales tax calculator. After putting in any ZIP code, you can enter a retail price to calculate sales tax totals.
What is the use tax in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts state use tax rate is the same as the state, county, city and special district rates.
If you reside in MA, use tax is due to the state on any and all transactions where sales tax has not been paid, even out-of-state internet sales.
Who has to pay sales or use tax to Massachusetts?
In general, a business must collect and remit all applicable sales taxes if that business has nexus, a physical presence such as a brick-and-mortar location, within a given state. The presence of an employee or salesperson, delivery by the seller's vehicle, and storage of materials usually establishes nexus as well.
Massachusetts says that an out-of-state seller is required to collect tax if they can be defined as a "vendor engaged in business". Massachusetts has certain additional laws establishing nexus for other reasons such as out-of-state businesses using in-state affiliates, advertisers or vendors, or businesses that make internet sales or mail catalogs.
If you are not sure if you have established nexus in Massachusetts, you can usually get free help by contacting the Massachusetts Comptroller. Click here for an updated listing of direct phone numbers. You could also contact a qualified certified public accountant or lawyer who specializes in tax law in Massachusetts. Click here for listing of recommended resources.
Special rules applying to sales and use taxes in Massachusetts
- Shipping is not taxable if separately stated and other specific terms are met.
- Finance charges are exempt from sales tax, when stated separately.
- Clothing is tax exempt, except for clothing and footwear of certain types and values.
- Sales tax holidays have been held in the past, but have not been authorized yet this year.
Since Massachusetts legislators can vote to change sales and use tax rates at any time, it is very difficult for individuals to keep track of the changes. The population of MA state is also rapidly changing, which can cause frequent updates to the ZIP codes and local municipality names and complicates the job of keeping track of sales tax jurisdictions.