Harbor Maintenance Tax Credit


Shipping Through Massachusetts Ports


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on the Harbor Maintenance Tax to corporations moving goods through Massachusetts ports. The credit can be applied against current and future taxes paid in the Commonwealth.

The Harbor Maintenance Tax Credit (HMTC) is subject to the following limitations:

  • Applies only to corporate taxes paid to Massachusetts.
  • Applies only to containerized and break-bulk cargo and vehicle shipments.
  • Cargo must be carried on sea and ocean-going vessels through Massachusetts ports.
  • The credit does not apply to the shipment of bulk cargo or passengers.
  • The credit applies to Harbor Maintenance Tax assessments made on cargo only relative to their unloading at a Massachusetts port.

Break-bulk cargo is defined in the bill as "general goods, commodities or wares which are customarily shipped in boxed, bagged, crated or unitized form, held in the vessel’s general holding areas, and handled by the piece, unit or in separate lots: without limiting the generality of the foregoing definition of break-bulk cargo, that term shall include road motor vehicles and other odd-size cargo, but shall not include containerized cargo or bulk cargo."

Using the Tax Credit
The Harbor Maintenance Tax Credit is handled by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (Mass DOR). Companies wishing to take advantage of this tax credit should maintain careful records of Harbor Maintenance taxes paid and be prepared to show proof the shipment went by waterborne means through an eligible Massachusetts port. Contact the Mass DOR at (617) 887-6367 with any questions.

Legal Note: Massport provides this information as a service to companies using the Port of Boston; however, Massport is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained herein. Customers should verify the permissibility of claims with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.