Under MGL Chapter 60A all Massachusetts residents who own and register a motor vehicle must annually pay a motor vehicle excise. Also, under MGL Chapter 59, Section 2, it is important to note that every motor vehicle, whether registered or not, is subject to taxation, either as excise or personal property for the privilege of road use, whether actual or future. The excise is levied by the city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged and the revenues become part of the local receipts.
The amount of the excise is based on the value of the motor vehicle. That value is based upon the manufacturer's suggested list price when it was new.
Various percentages of the manufacturer's list price are applied as follows:
Calculating the Excise
Once the value of the vehicle is determined, an excise at the rate of $25.00 per thousand is assessed. The assessors of the municipality in which the vehicle is customarily garaged assess excises annually, on a calendar year basis. The information required to generate these bills (owner, vehicle, registration, and value) is provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
If a motor vehicle is registered after January 31, it is taxed for the period extending from the first day of the month in which it is registered to the end of the calendar year. For example, if a vehicle is registered on April 30, it will be taxable as of April 1, for the nine remaining months of the year (April through December) and the excise due, therefore, will be 9/12 of the full excise. In no event shall an excise be assessed for less than $5.00, nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise to less than $5.00.
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (not mailed). According to MGL Chapter 60, Section 2 "failure to receive a bill shall not affect the validity of the excise". A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise plus any interest charges accrued. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry and Post Office informed of a current name and address so that excise bills can be delivered promptly. It is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Assessor's Office @ 508 865-8722 if he/she has not received a bill.