Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

What is motor vehicle excise tax?
It is an annual tax for the privilege of registration. Every motor vehicle and trailer registered in Massachusetts is subject to excise tax unless expressly exempted. Registering a motor vehicle automatically triggers an excise tax. The city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged levies the excise annually. The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to the City or Town. Cities and Towns then prepare bills based on the excise date provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Who must pay excise tax?
Excise is assessed to anyone with Massachusetts license plates.
What is the rate?
The rate is $25.00 per thousand. This is the standard for the entire Commonwealth. The valuation is based on the rates set by the state and are assessed according to manufacturer’s list price. For more information on assessed value, contact the Assessor’s office at 781-334-9450 or visit their web page.
When is payment due?
Payment is due within 30 days from the date of issue. A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise tax. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the post office informed of current name and address so that the excise tax bill can be delivered promptly.
What happens if my payment is late?
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the date of issue, then a demand bill is sent. The charge for the demand is $15.00. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the due date until payment is received. The interest rate on excise is 12%. If the demand bill is not paid within 14 days, the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector. The deputy tax collector sends the warrant notice to the taxpayer with an additional fee. If payment is still not received, the deputy will deliver a service warrant with another additional fee. All bills will clearly state the interest and penalty charges.
How does non-payment of excise affect my license and registration?
If the service warrant demanding final payment is not paid the deputy collector may then notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of such non-payment. The Registry will then mark the individual’s registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and owner’s driver’s license. The taxpayer will then be assessed a $20.00 mark fee in addition to all other penalties and interest. Once payment is made, the Deputy will issue a Registry Release form to the taxpayer. This will enable the motorist to return to the Registry and renew his/her license or registration. To request your balance on a bill that has gone to warrant, you may contact Kelley & Ryan, Deputy Tax Collector at 1-800-491-9788.
What if I have moved out of Lynnfield?
If the owner of a vehicle moved out of Lynnfield before the end of the year, the new community will bill the taxpayer, providing he/she has filed a change of address with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the principal garaging has been updated to the new city or town.
If the owner of a vehicle moved after the first of the year, the City of Town that he/she resided in as of January 1st will generate a bill.
If you feel the wrong City or Town has billed you, you may qualify for abatement and rebill. To do this, contact the Assessor’s office at 781-334-9450.
What if I have moved out of Massachusetts?
If the owner of a vehicle has moved out of Massachusetts and registers his/her car in another state but still receives a bill, notify the Assessor’s office at 781-334-9450. Please note that the Registry of Motor Vehicles strongly encourages a person who has moved to another state to cancel the registration in Massachusetts in order to avoid problems with excise tax abatement or future registration.
What if I no longer own my car?
Contact the Assessor’s office at 781-334-9450 for abatement instructions. You may also refer to their departmental web site.