Excise Tax Information

Motor Vehicle / Trailer / Boat

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

Excise bills are prepared by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to the information on the motor vehicle registration. They are sent to city or town assessors who commit them to the local tax collectors for distribution and collection of payment.

Per M.G.L. 60A Section 1, the vehicle valuation is a percentage of the original Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). The percentage used is determined by the year of the vehicle, please see the table below for more information. Once a vehicle reaches the 5th year, that vehicle will remain at 10% of the original MSRP for the life of the vehicle. For excise tax purposes, the price paid and conditions are not considered. If the owner believes the valuation is incorrect, they can contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles at Phone: 857-368-8000.

Excise Assessed For: Percent of MSRP
Year before model year (e.g. 2020 model in 2019) 50 Percent
Model year (Year of manufacture) 90 Percent
Second year 60 Percent
Third Year 40 Percent
Fourth Year 25 Percent
Fifth and Following years 10 Percent

Abatements can be filed if the vehicle was sold/traded/scrapped/totaled or donated during the year in which it is being taxed or if the owner moved and registered the vehicle in another state. When an abatement is granted, excise bills are prorated by the month.

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. was it transferred or turned in?) and the Vehicle (e.g., was it sold, a total loss, etc.?).

Please be advised, you are not entitled to abatement by just canceling your registration.

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

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

Other documentation that may be required depending on individual circumstances:

  • Registration Form from new state or country
  • Letter from Commanding Officer (non-domiciliary serviceperson)
  • DV plate registration or letter from RMV stating eligible for DV plate
  • Insurance coverage selection sheet showing the principal place of garaging

Note: No excise may be reduced to less than $5. No abatement for less than $5 will be granted and no refund of less than $5 will be made.

View the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Abatement Online Submission Form.

Printable - Motor Vehicle / Trailer / Boat Excise Tax Abatement Application (PDF)

Incomplete applications will be returned. When applying for an adjustment it is the applicant's responsibility to contact us for a new amount. A new bill will not be issued.