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Wait? File? What Mass. residents should know about their 62F rebates and tax returns

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

This time last week we were bracing for unthinkable wind chills, and now… we’ll see near-record highs, with temperatures reaching 60. That’s called shorts weather in New England.

(Then again, some people consider single digits shorts weather, too.)

To the news.

Planning to get an early start on your taxes this weekend? Here’s a good reason to procrastinate a little longer: The IRS is asking people in at least 19 states, including Massachusetts, to hold off on filing their tax returns. Why? Well, the federal agency is still trying to figure out how to handle all the various special tax refunds and payments that many states issued in 2022. And the 62F rebates that Massachusetts sent out to over 3 million taxpayers last fall fit that description.

  • How long do you have to wait? Unclear! The IRS said it would provide “additional clarity” this week. But so far, no more details have been shared. (In the meantime, you can join me over on the IRS press release webpage, repeatedly hitting refresh.)
  • On the other hand: Some local experts say just go ahead and file. Worcester-based accountant Michael Sacco told WBUR’s Dave Faneuf that he’s telling clients not to delay doing their returns. Sacco says he’d just include the 62F rebate “as part of or in addition to the normal state tax refund that you received.”
  • What does that mean? While the 62F rebates won’t be taxed as income at the state level, Massachusetts officials say the feds may tax them “to the extent that the recipient claimed itemized deductions” on their return last year. In other words, only if you didn’t take the standard deduction — in which case that state should be sending you a form to report the rebate on your tax return. (Unless you got a really big rebate, it ultimately shouldn’t make a huge difference for your tax refund.)
  • What if you already filed your taxes? Don’t worry about it; at this point, the IRS is saying not to amend already-filed 2022 returns.

Get ready for the launch of sports betting in Massachusetts, part two. The state’s Gaming Commission is planning to launch mobile sports betting exactly one month from today — at 10 a.m. on March 10. That’s the Friday before the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament. That gives the commission a little buffer room in case “there’s any issues before March Madness starts,” Karen Wells, the commission’s executive director, said during a meeting Thursday. (Officials plan to finalize that launch date next week, as long as mobile betting companies have their paperwork in order.)

  • When that day comes, up to 11 mobile sports betting platforms, including popular apps like DraftKings and FanDuel, will get the greenlight to go live.
  • In truth, this launch is quite bigger than the start of in-person sports betting last month. National industry research has shown that over 90% of the money from sports wagers is now bet online. According to DraftKings spokesman Jamie Chisholm, it’s “unquestionably the dominant channel for sports betting.”
  • Woops: State regulators are also looking into illegal bets accepted by Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor, which briefly allowed wagers on a Merrimack College men’s basketball game and a Boston College women’s basketball game, respectively. (Remember, bets on in-state college teams generally aren’t allowed.) It seems like the issue was due to simple catalog errors.

Goodbye, shuttle buses. Red Line subway service is resuming today at Alewife, nearly a week after an “intentional” single-car crash caused what officials estimate will be over $1 million of damage to the station’s parking garage and main lobby.

Massachusetts has no term limits for the governor and — as of 2015 — no term limits for the House speaker. Now, the same is true for the Senate president. The Senate voted 32-6 Thursday to lift its eight-year term limit on the position. State House News Service has more on the reasoning for the move (as well as some criticism it has received).

  • The rule would have otherwise forced current Senate President Karen Spilka to step down from her leadership post in 2026.

P.S.— Sen. Elizabeth Warren pitched a plan this week to cap this service at $10-a-day nationwide. Do you know what it is? Then take our Boston News Quiz.

Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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