Chapter 60A imposes an excise for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or a trailer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax. Non-registered vehicles, however, remain subject to the taxation as personal property.
The amount of the excise is based on the value of the motor vehicle, which is based upon the manufacturer's suggested list price when it was new.
Various percentages of the manufacturer's list price are applied as follows:
- In the year preceding the designated 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%
Calculating the Excise
Once the value of the vehicle is determined, an excise at the rate of $25.00 per thousand is assessed. The assessors of the municipality in which the vehicle is customarily garaged assess excises annually, on a calendar year basis. The information required to generate these bills (owner, vehicle, registration, and value) is provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
If a motor vehicle is registered after January 31, it is taxed for the period extending from the first day of the month in which it is registered to the end of the calendar year. For example, if a vehicle is registered on April 30, it will be taxable as of April 1, for the nine remaining months of the year (April through December) and the excise due, therefore, will be 9/12 of the full excise. In no event shall an excise be assessed for less than $5.00, nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise to less than $5.00.