About Vehicle Excise

Pursuant to Ch. 60A of the Massachusetts General Laws, every motor vehicle and trailer registered in the Commonwealth is subject to the motor vehicle excise unless expressly exempted.

The motor vehicle excise is imposed for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle. Registering a motor vehicle automatically triggers the assessment of the excise.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles annually calculates the value or all registered motor vehicles for the purpose of excise assessment. For most motor vehicles the calculations are performed electronically using valuation tapes created by the major related valuation services. Assessors possess authority to abate a Registry default value in any case in which they believe it is excessive.

CALCULATING EXCISE

The amount of the motor vehicle or trailer is calculated by multiplying the manufacturer’s list price of the vehicle by the motor vehicle excise rate. That rate is fixed at $25.00 per thousand dollars of value. The applicable percentages are set out in Ch. 60a S1 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 excise on any particular vehicle is to be assessed at the place where that vehicle is principally kept, i.e., garaged as of January 1st of the year.

Excises 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 any, which have fully elapsed before the vehicle is registered. If a vehicle is registered for any part of a month, however, the excise will be due for all of that month. The annual excise due on a vehicle registered after January 1 will be reduced, therefore, by one-twelfth of the full year’s excise for every month prior to the month in which the vehicle was registered.

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