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§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, price paid and condition are not considered. If the owner believes the valuation is incorrect, they can contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles at 1-857-368-8000.

Excise Assessed For:% of MSRP
Year before model year (e.g. 2020 model in 2019)50%
Model year (Year of manufacture)90%
2nd year60%
3rd year40%
4th year25%
5th and following years10%

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 an abatement by just canceling your registration.

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 citing 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 serviceperson)
  • DV plate registration or letter from RMV stating eligible for DV plate
  • 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.

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Abatement Online Submission (Due to a web hosting issue, our online abatement application is down.  Please use the downloadable Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Abatement Form that you can email, fax or mail to our office.  Our contact information is on that form.)

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

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.