December “Stimulus” Checks 2022: Massachusetts Tax Refund Money is Still Being Sent

Massachusetts is returning nearly $3 billion to eligible taxpayers through tax refunds until around December 15, but beware of scams.

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If you paid personal income taxes in Massachusetts in 2021, and file your Massachusetts tax return by September 15, 2023, you’ll get a percentage of the nearly $3 billion dollars in tax refund “stimulus” money that Massachusetts is sending out through December 15. This Massachusetts tax refund for 2022 , comes during a recent trend where states that are flush with cash from post-pandemic budget surpluses, are sending state “stimulus” checks and tax rebates to their residents.

For example, California stimulus check payments are underway. And in Virginia, eligible residents who filed their 2021 Virginia tax return by November 1, received a Virginia tax “stimulus” rebate of up to $500.

Massachusetts Tax Refund 2022

But it's important to note that the 2022 tax refund program in Massachusetts is a little different than other state “stimulus” programs because eligible Massachusetts taxpayers will each receive a different amount of money in their tax refund checks. That’s because Massachusetts will mail a check or provide a direct deposit that amounts to about 14% of each eligible taxpayer’s state income tax liability from their 2021 tax return.

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 So, why is Massachusetts returning nearly $3 billion to eligible taxpayers? Well, in 1986, Massachusetts voters approved a law known as Chapter 62F. That law requires Massachusetts to return excess revenue to taxpayers. 

The law was triggered for the first time in a while because during the 2022 fiscal year, Massachusetts collected state tax revenue totaling $41,812,654,358. (That exceeded the allowable threshold under Chapter 62F by more than $2.9 billion). 

So, this year, to comply with state law, Massachusetts will return the more than $2.9 billion in excess revenue to eligible taxpayers. But you should be careful to avoid scams involving the refunds (more on that later).

When did the Massachusetts tax refunds begin? The first week of November, Massachusetts sent about 500,000 refunds. After that, about a million refunds are being sent each week, until all of the excess revenue funds have been returned to eligible taxpayers. More than a million refunds were issued by mid-November.

Who’s Eligible for the 2022 Massachusetts Tax Refund?

If you paid personal income taxes in Massachusetts in 2021 and filed your 2021 Massachusetts tax return by October 17, 2022, you are eligible to receive a 2022 Massachusetts tax rebate by the end of the year.

However, if you haven't filed your Massachusetts tax return, you still have time to do so. As long as you file by September 15, 2023, you can still receive the 2022 Massachusetts tax refund, according to state officials.

How Much Tax Refund Money Will Massachusetts Taxpayers Receive?

Eligible Massachusetts taxpayers will generally receive a 2022 tax refund of about 14% of their 2021 Massachusetts income tax liability. However, if you have unpaid taxes or owe child support, the amount of your refund may be reduced by the amount of the outstanding tax liability or unpaid child support.

December 15: When Can You Expect Your Massachusetts Tax Refund?

Eligible Massachusetts taxpayers started to see tax refund money around November 1. (About 500,000 refunds went out the first week, followed by about a million refunds each week after until all of the excess revenue funds are distributed). And if you filed your Massachusetts tax return by October 17, you don’t need to do anything else to receive the 2022 tax refund. 

As of early December, most of the refunds have been issued by mail and although most eligible taxpayers have received theirs--But don't panic if you haven't. State officials say that refunds are still being issued in December.

The Massachusetts tax refund will either arrive in a mailed check or be sent via direct deposit if the state has your banking information available. Direct deposits will be labeled “MASTTAXRFD”. And state officials say that tax refund payments will continue to be sent on a rolling, but random basis through December 15.

There is a calculator on the state’s website to help you estimate how much your tax refund will be. The website also contains answers to frequently asked questions about the 2022 Massachusetts tax refunds.

If you have questions about your Massachusetts tax refund, you can contact the call center that has been established at 877.677.9727. That call center is available Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm ET.

Are Massachusetts Tax Refunds Taxable?

Massachusetts will not treat tax refunds (including the 2022 62F refunds) as taxable income.

However, the 2022 Massachusetts tax refunds could be subject to federal tax if you itemized deductions and claimed your state income tax on your 2021 federal tax return. If you receive a 2022 62F Massachusetts tax refund in 2022, and you itemized deductions on your 2021 federal return, you can expect to receive a Form 1099-G from the IRS by January 31.

Avoid Scam Calls Involving Massachusetts Tax Refunds

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has made clear that it will not contact you by phone or email or via social media channels, regarding this 2022 62F tax refund. If you receive a phone call, text, or other communication asking you to make a payment, that is a scam communication. Also, no one from the Massachusetts government has authorized any entity or person to help speed up the tax refund process. So, if you are contacting by someone claiming to help you expedite your 62F refund, that is also a scam.

Refunds are being sent in random order by mail or direct deposit and eligible taxpayers should receive those checks or payments from the Massachusetts government by December 15. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue can be contacted with questions through its 62F Refund Call Center at 877-677-9727.

Do the 62F Tax Refunds Favor Wealthy Bay Staters?

There has been some criticism and concern that the Massachusetts 62F tax refunds favor high income residents. That’s in part because the refund amounts are based on a flat percentage.

A Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center analysis puts the likely average amount of the tax refund at about $529 for an average Massachusetts taxpayer. However, data from 2018 indicate that lower income taxpayers could receive tax refunds that are less than $10, while 2020 data show that taxpayers with incomes over $1 million could receive more than $28,000, on average.

Overall, the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center concluded that almost 75% of the nearly $3 billion in tax refunds will go to people whose incomes are in the top twenty percent of Massachusetts’ income distribution.

December Stimulus Check Update: Are There More Federal Stimulus Checks for 2022?

It’s important to know that the 2022 Massachusetts tax refund and other 2022 state tax rebate checks and state stimulus payments are different from the three rounds of COVID-19 stimulus payments that you may have received from the federal government in the recent past.

That federal stimulus check program has ended. However, if you did not receive your third COVID stimulus payment of $1,400, or your 2021 child tax credit, you might be able to file your 2021 federal income tax return and get those funds.

Kelley R. Taylor
Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

With more than 20 years experience as an in-house legal counsel and business journalist, Kelley R. Taylor has contributed to numerous national print and digital magazines on key issues spanning education, law, health, finance, and tax. Kelley particularly enjoys translating complex information in ways that help empower people in their daily lives and work.