What do you need to know about the Massachusetts sales tax?

1 min read by Unbiased team Last updated June 28, 2024

Get a full breakdown of the state sales tax in Massachusetts and how it’s applied and calculated by city and county.


  • The Massachusetts state sales tax is 6.25% on most tangible goods and select services, with no additional local sales taxes. 

  • Numerous exemptions exist for essential items like groceries, clothing under $175, prescription drugs, and medical devices. 

  • It’s possible to participate in the sales tax-free weekend Massachusetts offers its citizens every year. 

  • A financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive tax strategy to help you keep more of your hard-earned money.  

What is the Massachusetts sales tax? 

The Massachusetts sales tax is a consumption tax levied on the sale of tangible personal property and certain telecommunications services within the state. The current statewide sales tax rate in Massachusetts is 6.25%. 

Unlike some states, Massachusetts does not have additional sales taxes imposed by counties or cities.  

However, while Massachusetts does not have local sales taxes, the sales tax system can still be complex due to specific rules and exemptions. 

Businesses can apply for a Massachusetts sales tax certificate that permits them to resell goods without paying sales tax. 

How do you calculate Massachusetts sales tax by city? 

As you can see in the table below, the sales tax does not vary in Massachusetts by city:  

CityMinimum combined rate
Attleboro 6.25%
Barnstable 6.25%
Boston 6.25%
Brookline 6.25%
Cambridge 6.25%
Chicopee 6.25%
Fall River 6.25%
Framingham 6.25%
Haverhill 6.25%
Lawrence 6.25%
Lowell 6.25%
Lynn 6.25%
Maiden 6.25%
Medford 6.25%
Methuen 6.25%
New Bedford 6.25%
Newton 6.25%
Peabody 6.25%
Pittsfield 6.25%
Plymouth 6.25%
Quincy 6.25%
Revere 6.25%
Somerville 6.25%
Springfield 6.25%
Taunton 6.25%
Waltham 6.25%
Waymouth 6.25%
Worcester 6.25%

How do you calculate Massachusetts sales tax by county? 

As local jurisdictions and counties do not impose sales taxes, the sales tax in Massachusetts by county is as follows: 

CountyMinimum combined rate
Barnstable County 6.25%
Berkshire County 6.25%
Bristol County 6.25%
Dukes County 6.25%
Essex County 6.25%
Franklin County 6.25%
Hampden County 6.25%
Hampshire County 6.25%
Middlesex County 6.25%
Norfolk County 6.25%
Plymouth County 6.25%
Suffolk County 6.25%
Worcester County 6.25%

Are services subject to sales tax in Massachusetts? 

In Massachusetts, most services are exempt from sales tax. However, telecommunication services and charges for gas, electricity, and steam are subject to the 6.25% state sales tax rate.

Exempt services include professional services (lawyers, accountants, etc.), personal services (haircuts, dry cleaning), real estate, education, and healthcare. However, a Massachusetts sale tax permit does not exist.  

The exemption of these services is often due to their essential nature, difficulty in valuation, or to promote specific industries. 

What items are subject to sales tax in Massachusetts? 

Massachusetts imposes a 6.25% sales tax on most tangible personal property but exempts essential goods and services.  

The following items are subject to sales tax in the state: 

  • Clothing priced over $175 

  • Furniture, appliances, electronics 

  • Prepared foods, candy, soda, dietary supplements 

  • Alcohol and tobacco (subject to additional excise taxes) 

  • Telecommunication services 

  • Gas, electricity, and steam 

The sales tax exemption in Massachusetts applies to the following items:

  • Groceries (unprepared food items) 

  • Clothing priced $175 or less 

  • Prescription and non-prescription drugs 

  • Medical devices 

  • Newspapers and periodicals 

Exemptions are typically for: 

The sales tax exemption certificate Massachusetts offers can be found through the Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Does Massachusetts online sales tax differ from offline? 

Massachusetts applies the same 6.625% sales tax to both online and in-store purchases.  

However, collection responsibility varies: 

  • Massachusetts in-store sales tax: Retailer collects and remits tax. 

  • Massachusetts online sales tax: 

Nexus: Retailer with a physical presence in MA collects tax. 

Marketplace facilitator: Platforms like Amazon collect tax for third-party sellers. 

Out-of-state sellers (no nexus): The consumer is responsible for use tax (equivalent to sales tax). 

This can be confusing, especially for consumers buying from out-of-state sellers. While they are technically liable for use tax, many need to be made aware of or comply with it, leading to potential revenue loss for the state. 

When is the Massachusetts sales tax holiday? 

The Massachusetts sales tax holiday is an annual two-day event where the state waives its 6.25% sales tax on most retail items priced under $2,500. 

The Massachusetts sales tax-free weekend typically occurs in August, but the specific dates are determined annually by the state legislature.  

In 2024, Massachusetts will have a sales tax-free weekend on Saturday, August 10th, and Sunday, August 11th.  

The benefits of this holiday include: 

  • Consumer savings: Shoppers can save 6.25% on a wide range of items, from clothing and footwear to school supplies and electronics. 

  • Economic boost: The tax holiday encourages consumer spending, benefiting retailers and the state economy. 

  • Back-to-school relief: The timing often coincides with back-to-school shopping, providing financial relief for families. 

Get expert financial advice 

Massachusetts imposes a 6.25% statewide sales tax on most goods and select services, with exemptions for certain necessities. Online and offline sales are taxed equally, but consumers may be responsible for use tax on out-of-state online purchases. 

For expert advice on navigating Massachusetts sales tax and managing your finances, connect with an SEC-regulated financial advisor through Unbiased. 


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.