Motor Vehicle Excise Tax
What is Excise Tax?
It is an annual tax for the privilege of registration. Every motor vehicle and trailer registered in Massachusetts is subject to excise tax unless expressly exempted. Registering a motor vehicle automatically triggers an excise tax. The city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged levies the excise annually. The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to the City or Town. Cities and Towns then prepare bills based on the excise date provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles
Who Must Pay Excise Tax?
Excise is assessed to anyone with Massachusetts license plates.
The rate is $25.00 per thousand. This is the standard for the entire Commonwealth. The valuation is based on the rates set by the state and are assessed according to manufacturer’s list price.
When is Payment Due?
Payment is due within 30 days from the date of issue. A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise tax. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the post office informed of current name and address so that the excise tax bill can be delivered promptly
What Happens if my Payment is Late?
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the date of issue, then a demand bill is sent. The charge for the demand is $10.00. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the due date until payment is received. The interest rate on excise is 12%. If the demand bill is not paid within 14 days, the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector. The deputy tax collector sends the warrant notice to the taxpayer with an additional fee. If payment is still not received, the deputy will deliver a service warrant with another additional fee. All bills will clearly state the interest and penalty charges.
How Does Non-Payment of Excise Affect my License & Registration?
If the service warrant demanding final payment is not paid the deputy collector may then notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of such non-payment. The Registry will then mark the individual’s registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and owner’s driver’s license. The taxpayer will then be assessed a $20.00 mark fee in addition to all other penalties and interest. Once payment is made, the Deputy will issue a Registry Release form to the taxpayer. This will enable the motorist to return to the Registry and renew his/her license or registration. To request your balance on a bill that has gone to warrant, you may contact Kelley & Ryan, Deputy Tax Collector at 1-508-473-9660.
Can I File for an Abatement on Excise Tax?
A taxpayer may file an abatement application for the following reasons:
- Sale of the vehicle and cancellation of the registration or the trade of the subject vehicle for another;
- Donation of car with donation receipt and cancellation of registration;
- If car was stolen or total loss, with proof of such and cancellation of registration;
- If car was junked with receipt from junk yard and cancellation of registration;
- If vehicle was repossessed with notice from lienholder and cancellation of registration.
- Transfer of the registrant and the vehicle to another state with proof of registration in the new state and cancellation of the MA registration.
The filing of an application does not stay the collection of your excise tax. The bill should be paid as assessed. A refund will follow if the abatement is allowed.
Please call the Assessor’s office at 978-468-5574 with any further questions.
Visit the Motor Vehicle Excise FAQ