1. Who prepares the excise bill?
- The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares excise bills. They are sent to the city Assessors who commit them to the local tax collectors for distribution and payment. Cities and towns may also prepare their own bills based on excise data sent by the Registry.
2. How is the excise value of the motor vehicle determined?
- The excise tax law (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60A, Section 1) establishes its own formula for valuation for state tax purposes whereby only the manufacturer's list price and the age of the motor vehicle are considered. Different sources provide the valuation figures depending upon whether the motor vehicle is an automobile, a truck, a motorcycle, or a trailer.
3. How is the excise bill calculated?
- Here is the formula:
Value of Motor Vehicle ÷ $1000 x $25 = Excise Amount
4. How do I change the mailing address on my excise bill?
- To change the mail address for a motor vehicle excise, contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV):
Contact the RMV by phone: 1-800-858-3926.
5. Is anyone exempt from paying the excise tax?
- An excise exemption is granted to vehicles owned and registered by: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or political subdivision (such as city or town), charitable corporation or trust; religious corporation, lessor of vehicles to charitable corporations, possessors of special plates, handicapped veterans, handicapped non-veterans, former prisoners of war or their surviving spouses and non-domiciliary serviceman.
6. What is the non-resident serviceman's exemption?
- A court ruling provides that if a person, by assignment of orders, is stationed in Massachusetts, and registers a motor vehicle, then that person must provide a letter from their commanding officer or personnel officer. The letter must state that they are here because of assignment and that their legal domicile is a state other than Massachusetts.
7. What is the ruling on leased vehicles?
- Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 60A, Section 1, provides for an exemption on vehicles leased for a full calendar year by a charitable or religious organization whose personal property is exempt under Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 3 and 10.
- 8. Who collects the excise tax?
- The tax collector is responsible for collecting the motor vehicle and trailer excise. Collectors may appoint deputy tax collectors to assist them in the collection of delinquent accounts.
9. When is the excise payment due?
- Payment of the motor vehicle excise tax is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (in this case NOT mailed).
10. What if I don't receive my excise bill?
- According to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60A, Section 2, "Failure to receive notice 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.
It is very important to keep the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the assessors, and the Post Office informed of your current name and address so that the excise bill can be delivered promptly.
View MGL Chapter 60A, Section 2.
11. What happens if the excise bill is not paid?
- If the excise bill is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the tax collector will send a demand, with a fee for $5. In addition, interest will accrue on the overdue bill at an annual rate of 12% from the day after the due date.
If the demand is not answered within 14 days, the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector that carries an additional $10 fee. The deputy collector issues a warrant at a cost of $12.
If there is still no response, a final warrant, called a service warrant, will be delivered to the taxpayer at their residence or workplace, at a fee of $20. All interest and penalties should be clearly stated on the bill.
12. How does an unpaid excise bill affect my registration and drivers licence?
- According to the Supreme Judicial Court ruling in April 1996, cities and towns must issue a final notice to the taxpayer stating that they plan to ask the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to prohibit renewal of the registration until the excise bill is settled. The registrar may then prevent renewal of the vehicle registration along with the owner's driver's license until receiving notice that the bill has been paid.
13. What happens to the excise if I buy a car in the middle of the year?
- Excise bills are prorated on a monthly basis. If a motor vehicle is registered after the beginning of any calendar year, no excise will be imposed for those months. If a vehicle is registered for any part of a month, the excise will be due for the full month. The annual excise due on a car registered after January 1 will be reduced, by 1/12 of the full year's excise for every month prior to the one in which the vehicle was registered.
- 14. My car is old and in poor condition. Why is my excise so high?
- Owners of vehicles older than 5 years should have a fixed excise tax bill for succeeding years of ownership. However, no excise bill shall be less than $5.
15. I purchased a used car at very low price. Why is the excise value so high?
- Present market value, price paid, or conditions are not considered for excise tax purposes.