What is motor vehicle excise tax?

Motor vehicle excise tax is an annual tax for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or trailer. Anyone who registers a vehicle in Massachusetts will receive an excise tax bill from the municipality where the vehicle is garaged. The amount of excise tax due is calculated by multiplying the value of the vehicle by the tax rate ($25.00 per thousand dollars of value). The value of the vehicle is determined by the Registry formula taking the applicable percentage for the year of the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). The manufacturers list price rather than the actual purchase price is used to calculate motor vehicle excise tax.

Applicable Percentage for the Year:

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

Do not ignore your excise bill! Even though you may have sold, traded or otherwise disposed of the vehicle, your bill is always due thirty (30) days from the issue date. If the bill is unpaid and remains outstanding more than thirty (30) days after its issue date, it will accrue interest charges and fees for which you will be responsible. Your driver's license and/or vehicle registration will also be returned to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for non-renewal action.