BOSTON—State Senator Jason Lewis joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to overwhelmingly enact a bipartisan tax relief package on Thursday, September 28, to help make living in Massachusetts more affordable for working families and seniors and to bolster our state’s economic competitiveness.
An Act to improve the Commonwealth’s competitiveness, affordability, and equity phases in a series of tax reforms expected to provide $561 million in taxpayer savings in the current fiscal year and grow to approximately $1 billion in tax relief by fiscal year 2027.
The bill substantially increases the child and dependent tax credit, senior circuit breaker tax credit, and earned income tax credit. The bill also reforms the Massachusetts estate tax by raising the threshold to $2 million and eliminating the current cliff effect. A number of housing production tax credits are also expanded to help spur the creation of more market-rate (in gateway cities) and affordable housing units.
“The goal of this bill is to help low-income residents, working families, and seniors afford the high cost of living in Massachusetts,” said State Senator Jason Lewis. “Substantially increasing the child and dependent, senior circuit breaker, and earned income tax credits, along with estate tax reform and increased housing production will make the Commonwealth more affordable and equitable. I’m particularly pleased that an important provision that I advocated for — to close a loophole in the new millionaire’s tax that voters approved last November — was also included in the final bill.”
Among other provisions, this tax relief bill:
- Increases the Child and Dependent Tax Credit from $180 to $310 in taxable year 2023, and then to $440 in taxable year 2024 and beyond, while eliminating the current cap on children/dependents, benefitting more than 565,000 families and providing the most generous universal child and dependent tax credit in the country;
- Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit from 30% to 40% of the federal credit;
- Doubles the maximum annual Senior Circuit Breaker Credit from $1,200 to $2,400;
- Increases the cap on the Rental Deduction from $3,000 to $4,000;
- Raises the Estate Tax threshold from $1 million to $2 million, and establishes a uniform credit of $99,600 in order to eliminate the current cliff effect;
- Increases the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) statewide cap from $10 million to $57 million one-time, and then to $30 million annually, which will create an estimated 12,500 new homes in Gateway cities; and
- Raises the annual Low Income Housing Tax Credit authorization cap from $40 million to $60 million, providing increased funding for new affordable housing units.
The bill also includes a requirement that married couples who file a joint tax return with the federal government also file a joint state tax return. This provision — which aligns Massachusetts with many other states — was championed by Senator Lewis and is intended to close a tax avoidance loophole in the new millionaire’s tax that was approved by voters last November.
Having received final passage by both the House and Senate, the bill was then signed by Governor Maura Healey on October 4, 2023.