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Massachusetts Nonprofits…Are You Ready for the Form 3ABC Deadline?

January 11, 2022

Don’t forget to file Form 3ABC by March 1! Your Organization’s charitable exemption eligibility depends on it. We have the details here.

Attention Massachusetts charitable organizations…are you aware of your Form 3ABC filing responsibilities? Here’s what you should know as the deadline approaches.

What is Form 3ABC?

The State Tax Form 3ABC (Return of Property Held for Charitable Purposes) is the Massachusetts state property tax return for eligible charitable organizations. It provides an exemption from local taxation on personal and real property.

What is the deadline for Form 3ABC?

For Massachusetts domiciled charity owning real or personal property as of January 1, Form 3ABC must be filed with the board of assessors of each city or town in which the Organization owns real or personal property. The assessors must receive it by March 1 of that year to obtain a local tax exemption for the fiscal year that begins the next July 1.

Any filing extensions available?

If the Organization makes a written request showing a sufficient reason for not filing on time, the board of assessors may extend the filing deadline.

What organizations are required to file?

In general, the Organization must attach a copy of its most recent annual report (MA Form PC and 990) to the Public Charities Division of the Office of the Attorney General. However, the Organization is not required to file an annual report if they have a religious, fraternal, or veteran organization exemption.

What are the penalties for noncompliance?

If the Organization misses the filing (and didn’t make a written request for an extension before the March 1 deadline), then the Organization’s property may not qualify for a charitable exemption for the tax year. As a result, the assessor may issue a tax bill based on the property’s assessed value. The penalties can be severe.

We urge MA nonprofit organizations to file Form 3ABC on time. In addition, nonprofit organizations should establish a mechanism to track all federal and state filing requirements. We strongly recommend that nonprofit organizations establish a compliance calendar and include Form 3ABC on their tracking list.

Questions? We can help.

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