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Boat Excise Information
BOAT EXCISE:    You must pay an excise tax for a boat you own on July 1 and moor or locate in Massachusetts. The excise is assessed for the fiscal year that begins on that date. Bills are issued by the city or town where you moor or dock the boat for the summer season, or where the boat is registered or principally located if it is not moored or docked for the summer. The excise valuation is determined by the length and age of the boat under a schedule established by General Laws Chapter 60B §2(c).

RETURNS:         You must file a return by August 1 with the assessors of the city or town where the boat is moored or docked for the summer season, or registered or principally located if it is not moored or docked for the summer. Your abatement rights may be lost, or the amount of abatement limited, if you do not timely file a return.

ABATEMENTS:      You may be entitled to an abatement (or a refund if the excise has been paid) if the boat is valued at more than the valuation listed in the statutory schedule for the length and age of the boat. Abatements may also be granted if you do any of the following during the same fiscal year: (1) transfer ownership of the boat, or (2) move out of Massachusetts, and if required to register the boat, register it there and cancel or not renew the Massachusetts registration. You are not entitled to an abatement if you (1) cancel your registration and retain ownership of the boat, or (2) change the location or registration of the boat to another Massachusetts city or town during the same fiscal year. Abatements are pro-rated by the number of months in the fiscal year
after the month the last eligibility requirement takes place.

DEADLINE:      Your abatement application must be received by the board of assessors within three years after the excise was due, or one year after the excise was paid, whichever is later.  

PAYMENT:           The board of assessors, upon assessing the excise imposed by this chapter, shall commit the same to the collector of taxes with their warrant for the collection thereof. The collector of taxes shall seasonably notify the owner of the excise assessed and the due date, but failure to receive notice shall not affect the validity of the excise. Said excise shall be due and payable at the expiration of sixty days from the date upon which the notice was issued by the collector pursuant to this chapter.  

Filing an application does not stay the collection of your excise. Failure to pay the excise when due may subject you to interest, collection costs, a penalty of $20.00, or 20% of the excise, whichever is greater, and collection action, including loss of mooring or docking privileges. To avoid any collection charges or action, you must pay the excise in full within 60 days of the bill’s issue date. You will receive a refund if an abatement is granted.

DISPOSITION:    The assessors have 3 months from the application filing date to act unless you agree in writing to their request to extend the action period for a specific time. If the assessors do not act on your application within the original or extended period, it is deemed denied. You will be notified in writing if an abatement has been granted or denied.

BILL CORRECTIONS:       Changes of ownership, address, destruction transfer, theft or abandonment of vessel must be reported within 15 days to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, office of Law Enforcement @ 1-800-632-8075


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:     Boat/Ship/Vessel Excise –Defined: MGL CH. 60B, Sec. 2 (a) “Except as hereinafter provided there shall be assessed and levied by each city and town in each fiscal year on every vessel, and its equipment, for the privilege of using the waterways of the commonwealth, an excise measured by the value thereof, as hereinafter defined and determined, at the rate of ten dollars per thousand of valuation.”

For the purpose of computing excise tax, the state offers the following guidelines:


Town of Sutton  4 Uxbridge Rd., Sutton, MA 01590
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