Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

Excise tax bills are due annually for every vehicle owned and registered in Massachusetts. Excise tax bills are prepared by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and billed by the local community where the vehicle is garaged.

The value of the vehicle is determined by multiplying the manufacturer's suggested retail price by the depreciation factor according to the following table:

 Year  Percentage
New Car released in the year prior to manufacture
In the year of manufacture
In the second year
In the third year
In the fourth year
In the fifth and all succeeding years

  • The minimum excise tax bill is $5. 
  • The excise tax rate is $25 per $1,000 of assessed value. 


Excise abatements are warranted when a vehicle is sold, traded, or donated within the year or has been registered in another state. 

General information required for an abatement is based on “what happened to the car” and “what happened to the plate.”  The following illustrates the documentation required for our office to process an abatement.

Transaction                                                         Documentation Needed

SOLD VEHICLE-NEW PLATES                         Plate return receipt and copy of bill of sale/purchase agreement

SOLD VEHICLE-TRANSFERRED PLATES      New registration and purchase agreement showing trade

TRADED VEHICLE                                            Plate return receipt or new registration and purchase agreement 
               showing trade-in

MOVED OUT OF MASSACHUSETTS               Plate return receipt and copy of new out of state registration

DONATED                                                          Plate return receipt and receipt from charity

JUNKED                                                             Plate return receipt and receipt from junk yard

TOTAL LOSS                                                      Plate return receipt and statement letter from insurance company

Other information:

If you have cancelled your plates but have not disposed of or sold the vehicle, you are not entitled to an excise abatement. 

Excise bills stand on their own (refunds cannot be transferred to a new bill for example). 

Leased vehicles are owned by the leasing company.  Requests for excise abatements must be made by the leasing company. 

Address changes and garage codes are processed through the registry of motor vehicles.  

For more information, please review the Excise Abatement Form

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As noted, address changes, garage code changes, plate cancellations are all done through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.  Many of these services can now be completed on line.  

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles