Motor Vehicle Excise
What is Excise Tax?
Pursuant to Ch. 60A of the Massachusetts General Laws, if you own a registered motor vehicle or trailer, you have to pay a tax, called a motor vehicle and trailer excise, each year.
Every motor vehicle and trailer registered in Massachusetts is subject to the motor vehicle excise unless exempted. It is important to note that every motor vehicle, whether registered or not, is subject to taxation either as excise or personal property.
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (not mailed). A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise plus any demand and interest charges accrued. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry and the post office informed of current name and address changes so that excise bills can be delivered promptly. It is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Tax Collector if he/she has not received a bill.
How Much is Excise Tax?
The amount of tax you pay depends on two things:
| In the year preceding the model year
(brand new car released before model year)
| In the model year
| In the second year
| In the third year
| In the fourth year
| In the fifth and succeeding years
Every motor vehicle owner must pay an excise tax based on valuation of at least ten percent of the manufacturer’s list price; thus, owners of vehicles older than five years should have a fixed excise tax bill for succeeding years of ownership. Even though an owner may have applied for an abatement that may reduce an excise tax bill, no excise shall be less than $5.
An excise at the rate of $25 per one thousand dollars of valuation (effective 1/1/81) is levied on each motor vehicle. Information on the value of a motor vehicle is accessed electronically through a data bank complete with valuation figures. Different sources provide the valuation figures depending upon whether the motor vehicle is an automobile, a truck, a motorcycle, or a trailer. For example, automobile valuations are derived from figures published in the National Automobile Dealers Association Official Used Car Guide (NADA), to which the Registry has electronic access. Most public libraries have copies of NADA and other motor vehicle official guides.