The 2017 Massachusetts State Sales Tax
What is the 2017 Massachusetts Sales Tax Rate?
The Massachusetts state sales tax rate is 6.25%, and the average MA sales tax after local surtaxes is 6.25%.
- Groceries and prescription drugs are exempt from the Massachusetts sales tax
- Counties and cities are not allowed to collect local sales taxes
- Massachusetts has no special sales tax jurisdictions with local sales taxes in addition to the state sales tax
- Massachusetts has a higher state sales tax than 63.5% of states
Food, clothing items under $175, admissions sales, and most utilities and heating fuel are exempt from the Massachusetts sales tax. Business purchases for resale are also exempt with the use of a Sales Tax Resale Certificate (Form ST-4) completed by the buyer.
Clothing has a higher tax rate when you spend over $175and a special local sales tax of 0.75% may apply to meals purchased in some localities. A special sales tax on alcoholic beverages was repealed in 2010.
If you are a Massachusetts business owner, you can learn more about how to collect and file your Massachusetts sales tax return at the 2017 Massachusetts Sales Tax Handbook .
Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemptions
Massachusetts doesn't collect sales tax on purchases of most prescription drugs and groceries. Prepared Food is subject to special sales tax rates under Massachusetts law. In most states, necessities such as groceries, clothes, and drugs are exempted from the sales tax or charged at a lower sales tax rate.
Some items may not be eligible for these reduced sales tax rates, such as expensive clothing, unhealthy food or drinks like soda, and certain non-essential pharmaceuticals. Unlike many states, Massachusetts treats both candy and soda as groceries for sales tax purposes. Other items including gasoline, alcohol, and cigarettes are subject to various Massachusetts excise taxes in addition to the sales tax.
Massachusetts has one sales tax holidays, during which certain items can be purchased sales-tax free. For more details, see the Massachusetts sales tax holiday calendar.
In some states, items like alcohol and prepared food (including restaurant meals and some premade supermarket items) are charged at a higher sales tax rate. Prepared Food is subject to a higher state sales tax then other items. The MA sales tax applicable to the sale of cars, boats, and real estate sales may also vary by jurisdiction. Massachusetts's sales tax rates for commonly exempted items are as follows:
$100 Restaurant Dinner
$100 of groceries
$100 in clothes
$100 of consumer products
$7.00 sales tax
$0.00 sales tax
$6.25 sales tax
$6.25 sales tax
Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemption Certificate
Unlike a Value Added Tax (VAT), the Massachusetts sales tax only applies to end consumers of the product. Individuals and companies who are purchasing goods for resale, improvement, or as raw materials can use a Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemption Form to buy these goods tax-free.
Companies or individuals who wish to make a qualifying purchase tax-free must have a Massachusetts state sales tax exemption certificate, which can be obtained from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue . On making an exempt purchase, Exemption Certificate holders may submit a completed Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemption Form to the vendor instead of paying sales tax.
Sales tax exemption forms (as well as business sales tax id applications, sales tax returns, and the full Massachusetts sales tax code) can be downloaded from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue here .
Massachusetts Sales Tax Calculator
Whenever you make a purchase at a licensed Massachusetts retailer, your sales tax will be automatically calculated and added to your bill. To lookup the sales tax due on any purchase, use our Massachusetts sales tax calculator.
Massachusetts Use Tax
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If you buy goods and are not charged the Massachusetts Sales Tax by the retailer, such as with online and out-of-state purchases, you are supposed to pay the 6.25% sales tax (less any foreign sales tax paid) for these items yourself as the Massachusetts Use Tax.
Your are expected to voluntarily list your liable purchases on a Massachusetts Use Tax Return, which should be attached with payment to your Massachusetts Income Tax Return. Historically, compliance rates with with the Massachusetts Use Tax have been low.
Massachusetts Local Sales Taxes
Massachusetts does not allow local jurisdictions like cities or counties to collect a local sales tax. The Massachusetts state sales tax of 6.25% is applicable statewide. You can view the sales tax rates for various cities in Massachusetts here.
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