Show All Answers
An excise is a tax upon an event or privilege. A motor vehicle and trailer excise is in lieu of a tangible personal property tax and is levied for the privilege of registration.
M.G.L. Ch. 60A, which is the statutory basis for the excise, uses the motor vehicle itself as a means to measure this privilege. Revenue derived from the excise can be used by cities and towns for any lawful purpose.
For more detailed information regarding the definition of a "motor vehicle", the period of assessment, and certain registration requirements, see: General Motor Vehicle Excise Information (PDF).
The excise is based on the value of the motor vehicle as determined by the Commissioner of Revenue upon certain percentages of the manufacturer's list price (MSRP) in the year of manufacture.
The excise valuation is not based on the actual purchase price or "book value" of the vehicle. The percentages set forth in the statutory depreciation schedule that are applied to the manufacturer's list price are as follows:
For examples and more information about the computation of a motor vehicle excise, see: Calculation of the Excise (PDF).
An excise in the amount of $25 per thousand is assessed upon the value of the vehicle as determined in accordance with the depreciation schedule.
Prior to 1981, the rate was $66 per thousand. With the passage of Proposition 2 1/2 the rate was set at $25 per thousand.
The excise is levied for a full calendar year and is assessed by the community where the motor vehicle is customarily garaged. In those instances where vehicles are registered in the Commonwealth but garaged outside of Massachusetts, the Commissioner of Revenue assesses the excise which is paid into the State treasury. M.G.L. Ch. 60A Sec. 1 provides that the owner of any motor vehicle registered for less than a full calendar year will be obligated to pay an excise based on the entire month when the vehicle was registered, as well as the remaining months of the year. For example, a vehicle registered on April 9th will be assessed an excise for the months of April through December.
An exemption may be granted if the motor vehicle is owned and registered by the following entities:
The abatement application form is used to apply for an exemption, and likewise must be filed with the assessors within 3 years after the date the excise was due, or 1 year after the excise was paid, whichever is later. Supporting documentation is required when submitting the abatement application.
A taxpayer may file an abatement application and receive an abatement for any of the following reasons:
Applications for abatement must be filed with the local board of assessors within 3 years after the date the excise was due, or 1 year after the excise was paid, whichever is later. If the taxpayer's application for abatement is denied, there can be an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board (ATB).
An excise must be paid within 30 days of the issuance of the bill.
Any unpaid bill accrues interest at a rate of 12% per annum from the 31st day to the date of payment. The following steps for collection are set forth in M.G.L. Ch. 60A Sec. 2A:
If the excise continues to be outstanding, the deputy collector or collector notifies the Registrar of Motor Vehicles within a two year period after the initial excise tax was issued.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles will then mark or place in non-renewal status the license and registration of the taxpayer.
Canceling the insurance policy on a motor vehicle does not affect a contemporaneous cancellation of the registration on that vehicle. The registrant must deal directly with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, either in person, by phone or by mail.
To cancel the registration on a particular vehicle, a registrant should return the license plates to the Registry and receive a Plate Return Receipt. A registrant who does not have possession of those plates should obtain from the Registry a Form C19, "Lost Plate Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration."
Obtaining either a Plate Return Receipt or a processed Form C19 will effectuate a cancellation of the registration on that vehicle. An insurer, in order to cancel or revoke an insurance policy on a motor vehicle, must give electronic notice to the Registry. If the Registry does not receive a new certificate of insurance covering the same vehicle within the following 23 days, it will mail notice to the registrant that unless a new certificate is provided within the ensuing 10 days, the registration on that motor vehicle will be revoked.