Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

Motor Vehicle Excise


MGL Chapter 60A imposes an excise on the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or trailer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax. Non-registered vehicles remain subject to taxation as personal property.

Valuation


The amount of the excise is based on the manufacturer's suggested retail price (M.S.R.P.)
Various percentages of the M.S.R.P. are applied as follows:
  • In the year preceding the model year: 50%
  • In the model year: 90%
  • In the second year: 60%
  • In the third year: 40%
  • In the fourth year: 25%
  • In the fifth and all succeeding years: 10%

Calculating the Excise


Once the value of the vehicle is determined, an excise at the rate of $25 per thousand is assessed. Excise taxes are assessed annually, on a calendar year basis, by the assessors of the municipality in which the vehicle is garaged as of January 1st.

If the motor vehicle is registered after January 31st, it is taxed for the period extending from the first day of the month in which it is registered to the end of the calendar year. For example, if a vehicle is registered on April 30th, it will be taxable as of April 1st, for the nine remaining months of the year (April through December) and the excise due; therefore, will be September 12th of the full excise. In no event shall the excise be assessed for less than $5 nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise to less than $5.

Payment Due Date


Motor vehicle excise is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued. A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise plus any interest charges accrued. It is important to keep the Registry and the post office informed of a current name and address so that excise bills can be delivered promptly. All owners of motor vehicles must pay an excise tax. It is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Tax Collector's Office if you have not received a bill.

Late Payment


If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the local tax collector sends a demand. The fee for the demand is $25 and interest accrues on the overdue bill from the date it was due until the date of payment at an annual interest rate of 12%. If the bill is not paid within 14 days of the demand the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector. The warrant notice sent by the deputy collector to the taxpayer costs $22. If this notice is not answered than a final warrant will be delivered or exhibited to the taxpayer's residence or place of business at a fee of $17.

Non-payment of Excise


If the warrant demanding final payment is ignored, the collector may then notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry may mark the individual's registration preventing the renewal of the registration and the owner's driver's license.

Abatements

Application


View, Complete, or Download the Motor Vehicle Abatement Application (PDF).

Qualification


You may qualify for an abatement if:
  • A registrant moves out of state, cancels the Massachusetts registration and registers in another state prior to December 1st
  • A registrant moves to another city or town within Massachusetts prior to January 1st of the taxing year
  • A vehicle is sold, traded or junked
  • A vehicle is stolen
  • A vehicle is totaled

Required Items


You will need the following items:
  • Moved to another city or town in Massachusetts:
    • Prior to January 1st of the Tax Year
    • Proof that the vehicle was garaged and insured in another Massachusetts  city of town, for example copy of the coverage selections page from insurance company.
  • Moved to Another State or Country:
    • Dated copy of original registration from the new state or country and either a plate return receipt or a Lost / Stolen plate affidavit.
  • Sold, Traded or Junked:
    •  Bill of sale and either a plate return receipt or new registration if plates were transferred.
  • Stolen or Total Loss:
    • Insurance company settlement letter and Affidavit of Lost/Stolen plate from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Receipt & Filing


The abatement application must be received by the Board of Assessors within three years after the excise was due, or one year after the excise was paid, whichever is later. To preserve your right to an abatement and to appeal, you must file on time.

Questions

If you think that you are entitled to an adjustment of the excise bill contact the Assessors' office and request an abatement application.