Motor Vehicle Excise

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

View and download the Motor Vehicle Abatement Application (PDF), and please review this page for more information on abatements.

It is important to remember that the bill for a vehicle(s) for which you no longer own should not be ignored.

Two actions are necessary for qualification for abatement eligibility. A vehicle owner must both:

  • Convey title to the vehicle
  • Cancel or transfer the registration

The performance of one of these actions, alone, does not qualify a person for abatement.

Therefore, a person who cancels the registration on a vehicle during a calendar year, but does not convey the title to the vehicle, is not entitled to excise abatement for any part of that year.

Excise bills are prepared by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to 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. Commits are issued several times per year.

An excise at the rate of $25 per one thousand dollars of valuation is levied on each motor vehicle. The valuation is based on the manufacturer's list price for the vehicle in its year of manufacture. Market value is not applicable to motor vehicle valuation for excise tax purposes. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 60A Section 1, establishes its own valuation formula for state tax purposes wherein only the manufacturer's list price and the age of the motor vehicle are considered. The formula is as follows:

  • In the year preceding the designated year of manufacture 50%
  • In the designated year of manufacture 90%
  • In the year succeeding the designated year of manufacture 60%
  • In the second year succeeding the designated year of manufacture 40%
  • In the third year succeeding the designated year of manufacture 25%
  • In the fourth and all succeeding years 10%

Owners of vehicles older than five years old should have a fixed excise tax bill for each succeeding year of ownership, and it should be based on a value which is no less than 10% of the manufacturer's list price in the year of manufacture for the vehicle being taxed.