On October 4, 2023, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healy signed H. 4104 to enact numerous business and individual tax changes. The more significant changes include adopting single-sales-factor apportionment for all corporate taxpayers, changing the sourcing of financial institution receipts from investment and trading, and reducing the personal tax rate on short-term capital gains.
Effective for tax years beginning on and after January 1, 2025, Massachusetts corporate taxpayers will be required to apportion net income using a single sales factor. That is a departure from current law, which requires corporations (other than qualifying manufacturers) to use a three-factor formula of property, payroll, and a double-weighted sales factor.
Financial Institution Receipts From Investment and Trading
Also effective for tax years beginning in 2025, H. 4104 repeals the current sourcing of financial institution receipts from investment and trading assets and activities, which generally sources those receipts to the taxpayer’s regular place of business (where day-to-day investment and trading decisions are made). Beginning in 2025, those receipts – interest, dividends, net gains, and other income from investment assets and activities and income from trading assets – will be sourced using a fraction. The numerator will be the financial institution’s Massachusetts-sourced receipts from financial activities, such as lending, credit card receivables, leasing, and the denominator will be total receipts, excluding income from investment assets and activities.
Short-Term Capital Gains
For Massachusetts personal income tax purposes, the legislation reduces the short-term capital gains rate to 8.5%, retroactive to January 1, 2023. Previously, Massachusetts taxed any gain from the sale or exchange of capital assets held for no more than one year at a rate of 12%.
The legislation increases the state estate tax threshold to $2 million for decedents dying on or after January 1, 2023. It also alleviates the so-called cliff effect of the Massachusetts estate tax, whereby estates valued at over $1 million were subject to tax on their entire value. The legislation grants a state estate tax credit of up to $99,600 as relief and changes how the tax on out-of-state real estate and tangible personal property is calculated.
Effective January 1, 2023, Massachusetts enacted the millionaires surtax, an additional 4% state income tax on the portion of a taxpayer’s annual income that exceeds $1 million. For income earned on or after January 1, 2024, H. 4104 requires married couples to file Massachusetts joint income tax returns for any year in which they file federal joint income tax returns.
H. 4104 also requires the Department of Revenue to study the effect of an additional surtax of up to 4% on pass-through entities (PTEs) that have made the Massachusetts PTE tax election.
Affected taxpayers should model the impact of the Massachusetts apportionment changes that will be effective for tax years beginning January 1, 2025, particularly if applying economic nexus or other state nexus positions to avoid Massachusetts sales factor throwback and/or throwout.
PTEs and their owners should watch for the Department of Revenue’s study and possible recommendations concerning a PTE surtax.” Like requiring married joint filing when a federal joint return is filed, a 4% surtax on electing PTEs is intended to address avoidance of the millionaires surtax that went into effect earlier this year.