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First-Ever Massachusetts Tax Credit Transparency Report Released

June 5, 2012

(Boston) – Yesterday, the Department of Revenue released the first-ever Massachusetts Tax Credit Transparency Report, providing detailed information on thirteen types of corporate tax credits distributed by the state and who received these credits in 2011.

A new law passed by the Legislature in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget requires state agencies responsible for certain tax credits to report to the Department of Revenue the identity of the taxpayer and the credit program from which the award was made and the amount of the credit by taxpayer and project.

“The Legislature is committed to increasing government transparency and accountability and this report is the latest example of those efforts,” said Senator Karen Spilka.

Thirteen tax credit programs are included:

  • Film Tax Credit
  • Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Brownfields Tax Credit
  • Medical Device Company Tax Credit
  • Dairy Farmer Tax Credit
  • Life Sciences Tax Incentive Programs:
    • Investment Tax Credit
    • User Fees Credit
    • Research Credit
    • Jobs Credit
  • Economic Development Incentive Program Credits
  • Certified Housing Development Tax Credit
  • Conservation Land Tax Credit

The Senate’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget includes a Spilka amendment to increase public access to information about the finance and operations of state authorities and quasi-public agencies. That amendment requires that each authority establish an internal audit committee, be subject to biennial audits by the State Auditor, and have an annual independent audit of its funds. These two audits and all financial statements would be made available to the public through the Commonwealth’s new “Open Checkbook” website, also established by the Legislature through their Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

“We need to keep going with our work to increase government accountability.  The public must have tools to track how their taxpayer dollars are spent,” said Spilka. “By standardizing the way our public agencies are monitored and the way we judge compliance we will have a better understanding of the allocation of resources.  When government is open and transparent we can all work to make it better,” said Spilka.

Earlier this year, Spilka was named to serve as the Senate Chair of the six member conference committee tasked with resolving the differences between the Senate and House versions of the state financial and administrative reform legislation. The bill, originally filed by Senate President Therese Murray, unanimously passed the Senate on June 9, 2011. The House passed its version in February 2012.

“This legislation improves efficiency and accountability by updating the Commonwealth’s finance laws and requiring our agencies and programs to start measuring performance and outcomes,” said Spilka. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues on the conference committee on a final bill that will increase oversight and require smart and effective management of the state’s finances.”

Yesterday’s release comes after a recent announcement by the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) ranked the state fourth in the nation in government spending transparency and upgraded Massachusetts to a grade of “A-” in 2012 from a “B+” in 2011 for its efforts to increase the availability of comprehensive and reliable fiscal data.

To view the Massachusetts Tax Credit Transparency Report in its entirety, please go to: http://www.mass.gov/dor/tax-professionals/news-and-reports/massachusetts-tax-credit-transparency-reports/

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