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Massachusetts Consumer Tax Laws

The consumer taxes we are most familiar with include things like retail sales tax, taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, gasoline tax, and other taxes related to specific goods. These taxes affect our everyday spending habits. For example, Massachusetts consumer tax rates are relatively high for cigarettes ($1.18 per pack is high but not the highest tax in the country).

Consumer Tax Statutes in Massachusetts

Massachusetts' consumer tax laws are listed in the following chart. See State Tax Laws for more general information, and check with your local municipality for county and city taxes.

Sales Tax

6.25% Ch. 64H §2

Cigarette Tax

75.5 mills per cigarette Ch. 64C §6 (Here the term "mills" means one one-thousandth of a dollar, so 10 mills = 10 one-thousandths of a dollar, or .01.)

Gasoline Tax per Gallon

21¢ (19.1% of average price, but minimum cannot be less than 21¢/gal.) Ch. 62C§3A; Ch. 64A§1; Ch. 64E§4; Ch. 64F§3

Use Tax

6.25% Ch. 64I §2

Liquor Tax

Beer $3.30 per barrel; Still wine 55¢ /gal.; Sparkling wine 70¢ per gal.; Spirits <15% $1.10/proof gal., 15-50% $4.05/proof gal., >50% $4.05/proof gal. Ch. 138 §21

Gambling Tax

NA

If you live in the Bay State and do some shopping online or in another state, there may be times you think you’re getting items “tax free”. However, if you purchase taxable goods or services delivered into or used in Massachusetts and the vendor does not collect a sales tax, you must pay a “use tax” to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The use tax rate is currently 6.25 percent, the same as the in-state sales tax rate. Massachusetts use tax might apply to:

  • Internet purchases;
  • Mail-order catalog purchases;
  • Purchases made in another country;
  • Furniture purchased from dealers located in another state; and
  • Computer equipment ordered from out-of-state vendors advertising in magazines.

If the out-of-state seller does not collect sales tax, or charges a rate less than 6.25%, it is up to you to comply with Massachusetts statutes and pay the tax.

Massachusetts Consumer Tax Laws: Related Resources

It goes without saying that tax laws can be the most complicated area of law for ordinary folks to understand. You can access more introductory tax information and some necessary forms by visiting FindLaw’s sections on Massachusetts Tax Laws and Tax Laws and Forms. If you would like legal assistance with a tax matter, you can contact a Massachusetts tax attorney in your area and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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