What to Do if the MA DOR Revokes Your Professional or Driver License
The Massachusetts DOR has the ability to revoke driver’s licenses and professional licenses for failing to pay taxes owed. The state can also place holds on your vehicle registrations. These tactics are used in order to create urgency for taxpayers to resolve their tax problems as soon as possible. Generally, these measures are used after other alternatives have been exhausted. In this guide, we will cover steps you can take to protect yourself against this type of collection action from the MA DOR.
Do you want to ensure you don’t lose your driver's license or professional license? Or have you already lost your license and need help getting it reinstated? You can use TaxCure to search for local Massachusetts professionals with experience doing just that by starting a search.
Loss of Professional Licenses
The Massachusetts DOR can revoke your professional licenses or certificates if you don't pay or file your taxes. This can make it impossible for you to work or run your business. The DOR can take away professional licenses/certifications for physicians, attorneys, CPAs, nurses, real estate brokers, massage therapists, or anyone else licensed to perform services by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Additionally, if the state assesses a tax against you (through an audit or for any other reason), you must respond promptly. Failure to take action on their attempts to contact or collect can cause them to use this collection tactic. If you disagree with the tax, you must dispute or appeal. If you don't, you risk losing your professional license in this situation as well.
Loss of Driver License and Vehicle Registration
If you don't pay your taxes, the state can take away your driver's license or vehicle registration. This makes it impossible to drive legally. It can also prevent your spouse, children, or other family members from driving vehicles that are registered in your name.
To avoid losing your license and/or registration, pay your taxes in full or set up a payment plan before the DOR starts involuntary collections. Note that although the state takes away professional licenses for unfiled returns, it does not take away driver's licenses for unfiled returns.
Notices About License/Registration Suspension
Before taking away your license/registration, the DOR will send you a Notice of Intent to Suspend Driver's License. You have 30 days to respond, and during that time, you can pay the bill in full, request a payment plan, or ask for hardship status.
If you don't take any action, the DOR will mark your license and registration with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). The RMV will suspend your license or registration 10 days after they are marked.
How to Reinstate Your Driver's License
If the state takes away your license, you will need to reinstate it through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. First, you'll need to pay your tax bill or make satisfactory arrangements with the DOR. Then, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee.
Luckily, when you lose your license due to unpaid taxes, you shouldn't have to take any tests to get it back. Usually, the tests are only required when you lose your license due to driving-related issues.
License Reinstatement Due to Financial Hardship
If you truly cannot afford to pay your taxes, you can ask the DOR to grant you hardship status. The DOR only grants hardship in exceptional circumstances. Generally, you can only qualify if paying your taxes would prevent you from covering necessary living expenses.
Once you get approved for hardship, the state will reinstate your professional license, your drivers license, and your vehicle registration. The DOR will also stop other collection actions against you, such as wage garnishments or asset seizures.
Note that in-operation businesses cannot get hardship status. If you are running a business, you must make arrangements to pay your taxes. Talk with a tax pro if you can't afford to pay and you don't want to close your business. For example, you may want to look into an MA offer in compromise.
Why Does the DOR Take Away Licenses?
The DOR takes away driver's licenses and vehicle registrations because it's an effective way to collect unpaid taxes. It can be especially effective in cases where the taxpayer doesn't have wages to garnish or bank accounts to seize. Check out the following scenario.
Imagine that someone files their taxes and they don't pay. The MA DOR sends out several demands for payments, but the taxpayer still doesn't pay. Then, in an attempt to get the money, the state tries to seize their bank account, but the taxpayer has closed it. So, the state tries to garnish their wages, but the taxpayer has quit their job or only works under the table for cash. At this point, the state has one last resort — it can get the taxpayer's attention by taking away their license.
What Happens If You Drive or Operate Your Business Without a License?
If you lose your driver or professional license, you should stop driving or operating your business. If you don't, you risk facing extremely harsh consequences.
For example, if you drive without a license, you can get a $500 penalty and possible jail time. If you practice medicine (or any other credentialed profession) without a license, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges.
Get Help With MA Tax Issues
Dealing with unpaid taxes or unfiled returns in Massachusetts? Then, you need a tax pro who has dedicated experience with the MA DOR. To get help now, use TaxCure to search for a tax professional. Then, contact them for guidance about your situation.