Excise Tax Information

Motor Vehicle & Trailer Excise

All Massachusetts residents who own and register a motor vehicle must annually pay a motor vehicle excise. This annual tax is levied by the city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged and the revenues become part of the local community treasury.

Excise billing information is distributed by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to all Massachusetts cities and towns according to the ownership information on the motor vehicle’s registration. This information includes the valuation used to calculate the annual excise tax bill. This valuation used for the calculation of an excise tax bill is a percentage of the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (M.S.R.P) of that vehicle during the year is was made. It is not the current market value of the vehicle. The following schedule details the percentage of M.S.R.P used.

  1. 90% - Year 1 (where the model year of vehicle is the same as the Excise Tax year)  
  2. 60% - Year 2
  3. 40% - Year 3
  4. 25% - Year 4
  5. 10% - Year 5

Please note, for new vehicles released in the calendar year prior to model year, 50% of M.S.R.P is used.

Excise is paid at a rate of $25.00 per 1,000 in valuation throughout the state.

An Excise Tax abatement, or refund, can be filed with the Assessors Office if the vehicle was sold / traded / scrapped/ totaled / donated or vehicle has been re-registered in another state during a year in which an excise tax has paid. Excise bills are prorated by the month, thus the owner is responsible for the excise accrued through the month in which the car was last registered to him/her

In order to process an abatement on your motor vehicle excise tax bill you must provide documentation to verify the disposition of both the Plate (e.g. cancelled or transferred) and the Vehicle (e.g., was it sold, a total loss, etc.?). No abatement is entitled if the plates are cancelled or transferred and the vehicle ownership is retained. Furthermore, excise is payable through the month during which the later of the two transactions occurred.

Required documentation to verify the disposition of the Plate (Please submit one):

  • Plate Cancellation Receipt (with VIN#)
  • Registration from your new vehicle showing plate transfer
  • Affidavit of Lost or Stolen Plate (C-19 form)

Required documentation to verify the disposition of the Vehicle (Please submit one):

  • Bill of Sale (with VIN# and signed by both the seller & buyer)
  • Copy of the title (both sides and signed by both the seller & buyer)
  • Purchase Agreement of a new vehicle citing old vehicle as trade-in (with VIN#)
  • Insurance Settlement Letter showing you conveyed title to the Insurance Co (with VIN#)
  • Copy of Donation Letter (with VIN#)
  • Repossession Letter (with VIN# and repossession date)
  • Junk Yard Receipt (with VIN#)

Other documentation that may be required depending on individual circumstances:

  • Registration Form from new state or country
  • Letter from Commanding Officer (non-domiciliary service person)
  • Insurance coverage selection sheet showing the principle place of garaging

Note:  No excise may be reduced to less than $5.00.  No abatement for less than $5.00 will be granted and no refund of less than $5.00 will be made.

Click here to apply online for a Motor Vehicle/Trail/Boat Excise Tax Abatement 

Printable - Motor Vehicle/Trailer/Boat Excise Tax Abatement Application