Questions & Answers

What qualifies for the Rental Deduction?

The deduction must be for rent you paid to a landlord for the rental or lease of your principal residence in Massachusetts.

If two or more people rented a unit together, each occupant using it as his or her principal residence is entitled to a deduction based on the amount of rent that each person paid.

If the rent is paid by a third party (such as a parent) who maintains a principal residence elsewhere, no deduction is allowed for either party.

A principal residence does not include any residence for vacation, an apartment for a person on a temporary assignment, or a student or faculty member who has a principal residence elsewhere. It also doesn't include any apartment or house in Massachusetts of a nonresident who has a legal residence in another state or country.

Payment for occupying a hotel, motel, or rooming house is not considered rent unless a rental agreement exists. All separately stated charges such as utilities, furnishings or parking cannot be included in rent for purposes of this deduction. Also, rent does not include any advance payments (such as security deposit, last month's rent, etc.) until actually applied as rent.

Special Instructions for those filing as Married Filing Separately

If a married couple files as Married Filing Separately, they are each entitled to a rental deduction equal to 50% of the rent each pays, not to exceed $1,500 per return. However, you may allocate the rent deduction differently, provided the amount taken by each spouse does not exceed 50% of the rent actually paid by that spouse, and provided their combined rental deductions do not exceed $3,000. If the allocation results in one spouse claiming a deduction in excess of $1,500, that spouse must have a statement signed by the other spouse indicating consent to the allocation. The statement must contain the name, address, and Social Security number of the consenting spouse and the amount of rental deduction taken by that spouse.

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