Voluntarily Pay More Taxes? Few In Mass. Opt For Higher Rate

Apr 8, 2017

Massachusetts taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 18, to file their returns. And some -- although not many -- will choose to pay the state a little more than they have to.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The origin of Massachusetts' optional income tax rate

Lenox accountant William Keen said it's his job to save his clients money, so he just assumes they want to pay their state income tax at 5.1 percent, and not the optional rate of 5.85 percent.

"If somebody specifically asked to be set at the higher rate, I would do it," Keen said Friday. "Nobody has ever even asked for that. It's never even come up."

And very few taxpayers across Massachusetts do pay at that higher rate.

According to the state Department of Revenue, on average since 2002, 1,200 people each year check the box on the tax form to voluntarily pay more.

That's contributed to just over a quarter million dollars to the state's coffers each year -- a drop in the bucket since Massachusetts has a budget of about $40 billion.