Motor Vehicle and Excise Tax

Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 60A, an excise shall be assessed on every motor vehicle and trailer registered during the calendar year.


Bill Computation

The amount of the motor vehicle excise due on any particular vehicle or trailer in any registration year is calculated by multiplying the value of the vehicle by the motor vehicle excise rate.  That rate is fixed at $25.00 per thousand dollars of value.  The value of applicable percentage for that year of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for that vehicle.  The applicable percentages are set out in Ch. 60A §1 as follows:

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

The manufacturer’s list price for any particular vehicle is the price recommended by the manufacturer as the selling price of that vehicle when new.  It is the manufacturer’s list price rather that the actual purchase price which will control for purposes of calculating the motor vehicle excise as described by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.


Motor Vehicle Abatements

Please find below the necessary information and documentation that is required to support your abatement for motor vehicle excise tax.  Although you are applying for abatement(s) you are still responsible for payment of the excise tax bill(s).

Please note that in order to receive an abatement you must BOTH dispose of the vehicle AND surrender or transfer the MA registration.  To qualify for abatement you must submit the Motor Vehicle Excise Abatement Application along with the appropriate paper work as described below:

If you have sold, junked, traded or gifted the vehicle you need to send a copy of the bill of sale or receipt from the junk your or the paper work from the dealership that shows the vehicle was a trade, or a letter from the organization that received the gift along with a copy of your plate return receipt for that registration or a copy of the new registration showing that the plate was transferred to another vehicle.

If the vehicle is stolen or totaled in an accident you need to send a copy of the plate return receipt or if the plates are lost your must send a copy of the Lost Plate Affidavit (Form C19) and documentation to show either the vehicle was stolen (police report) or if the vehicle was totaled in an accident a letter from the insurance company stating the date of loss and identification of the vehicle totaled.

If you move out of state you need to send a copy of the MA plate return receipt or a Lost Plate Affidavit (form C19) and a copy of the new state registration for the vehicle.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles is the keeper of the excise tax bill information through your MA registration.  If the information on your excise tax bill is not correct (i.e., mailing address or garaging code) you will need to contact the Registry of Motor Vehicle to correct the information.



The following are exempt from motor vehicle and trailer excise tax:

  1. Any vehicle owned and registered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision (city/town/county/federal)
  2. Any vehicle owned and registered by a corporation whose personal property is exempt from taxation under Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 3 (literary, charitable, scientific, or temperance institutions), and Clause 10 (religious organizations).
  3. Any vehicle leased for a full calendar year to any charitable corporation except a charitable educational corporation which either grants degrees or awards diplomas.  (Vehicles owned by such educational corporations which satisfy the exemption requisites for a charitable corporation, cited above, are exempt from the excise.)
  4. Vehicles owned and registered by former prisoners of war or the surviving spouses of former prisoners of war.
  5. Vehicles owned and registered by handicapped persons.  Conditions apply; please contact your Assessor’s Office for the details.
  6. Vehicles operated with Section 5 plates and owned or controlled by manufacturers, farmers or dealers.  Conditions apply; please contact your Assessor’s Office for the details.

Excise Abatement Application Form

Download a copy of the Motor Vehicle Excise Abatement Application form.