Questions about your motor vehicle excise valuation or abatement requests can be directed to the Assessor's Office at (508) 799-1098. Questions about your motor vehicle excise payments or balances can be directed to the Treasurer and Collector of Taxes at (508) 799-1075.
It is an annual tax for the privilege of registration. Anyone who registers a vehicle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will be billed based on the information supplied to the Registry of Motor Vehicles on the registrant's application. M.G.L. Chapter 60A imposes an excise on the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or a trailer on 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 excise is levied by the city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged and the revenues become part of the local community treasury. The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to city or town assessors. Cities and towns then prepare bills based on excise data sent by the Registry in conformity with Registry requirements.
Anyone with Massachusetts' license plates.
The rate is $25.00 on the thousand. This is the standard rate for the entire Commonwealth.
Based on valuation rates set by the state, vehicles are valued as follows:
Once the value of the vehicle is determined, an excise at the rate of $25.00 per thousand is assessed. Excise taxes are assessed annually on a calendar year basis by the assessors of the city or town in which the vehicle is garaged as of January 1st. If the 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 months of the year (April through December) and the excise due therefore, will be 9/12 of the full excise. In no event shall the 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.
You may qualify for an abatement when:
If an owner of a motor vehicle thinks that he/she is entitled to an adjustment of his/her excise bill, it is strongly recommended that he/she pay the bill in full and contact the Assessing Division for an application for abatement. You can print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement Form from this site. Follow the directions on the form and send it to the Assessing Division. NOTE: on unpaid excise tax bills, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties if an abatement is not granted. The Assessing Division must receive applications for abatement by December 31 of the year following the year of the tax. If the bill is mailed after December 1 of the year following the tax year, application must be made on or before the 30th day from the date of issue or the date of mailing, whichever is later. Abatements can be handled through the mail. However, the bill should be paid as assessed and a refund will follow if the abatement is granted.
What information do I need to file with an abatement application?
You will need the following items:
Abatements are pro-rated monthly. The abatement amount is calculated from the registration cancellation date to December 31st of the tax year. For example, if the tax bill was issued for the whole year and the plate was cancelled in the month of February, you would be due an abatement for 10 months or 10/12ths of the original tax. The minimum abatement amount is $5.00.
M.G.L. Chapter 60A, Section 1 provides excise tax exemptions for vehicles owned by certain disabled individuals and veterans, ex-prisoners of war and their surviving spouses and certain charitable organizations. For ex-prisoners of war and their unmarried surviving spouses, the law allowing the exemption for the motor vehicle excise must be accepted by the city or town to be applicable. Those listed below qualify for an exemption.
Please contact the Assessing Division at (508) 799-1098 for further details on eligibility.
You must file by December 31st of the following year. If your tax bill is issued after December 1st of the following year, you have thirty days from the date of issue of your bill to file an application.
You can file either in person at the Assessor's Office or through the mail, Room 201, City Hall, 455 Main Street, Worcester, 01608. Please visit the Assessor's web page where you can download the abatement form.
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued. A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise plus any interest charges accrued. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry, the City of Worcester, and the post office informed of a current name and address so that excise bills can be delivered promptly. All owners of motor vehicles must pay an excise tax. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Treasurer's Office if you have not received a bill.
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the local tax collector sends a demand. The charge for the demand is $5. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the day after the due date until the date of payment at an annual rate of 12 percent. If the demand is not answered within 14 days, the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector or an appointed agent. The warrant notice sent by the deputy collector (or the appointed agent) to the taxpayer costs $22. If this notice is not answered than a final warrant, a service warrant, will be delivered or exhibited to the taxpayer at his/her residence or place of business at a fee of $17. All bills should clearly state the interest and penalty charges.
If the service warrant demanding final payment is ignored, the collector may then notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of such non-payment, including all accrued interest and penalty fees. The Registry may then mark the individual's registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and the owner's driver's license until such time as the Registry is notified that full and final payment has been made to the city or town. This payment shall include a $20 release fee as final settlement of the delinquent excise. Once the bill had been paid, the municipality will give the motorist a receipt so he or she can return to the Registry to re-register his/her vehicle. Although the local tax collectors do notify the Registry that the matter is resolved, it is strongly advised to retain the certified receipt of payment for presentation to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Cities and towns relay computerized notification that excise bills have been paid only periodically to the Registry. Local tax collectors, in effect, have up to six years to notify the Registry of non-payment. Under the excise tax law, tax collectors have six years from the issue date of a bill to notify the Registry of non-payment by a driver (M.G.L. Chapter 60A, Section 2A), unless the tax record shows a history of non-payment. However, under the Registry's own policy, this notification time has been reduced to just two years. If the record does show a history of delinquency, the tax collectors can electronically mark the driver's record and institute proceedings to collect for as many years back (beyond six years, in other words) as necessary and notify the Registry. The Registry, in turn, reviews each notification beyond two years individually. If a taxpayer has had a good history of payment and suddenly receives a bill dating back more than six years, the assessors will assign a tax collector to collect the bill; the tax collector, in turn, will attempt to collect and assess late fees and penalties, as is required by law, if applicable. However, the collector can no longer mark the driver's record for non-payment since the Registry only allows two years for notification from the issue date of the bill. Thus, the taxpayer's ability to renew the license, in this instance, is not hampered; but the bill must still be resolved with the local tax collector.
If a motor vehicle owner moves within Massachusetts and has not paid an excise tax for the current year, he/she should notify the Assessing Division at (508) 799-1098 of his/her new address, provide them with a copy of the following documentation: the date of move; proof of garaging as of January 1, of the billing year and a copy of the Insurance Policy (Cover Selection Page) as of January 1 of the tax year, pay the motor vehicle excise to the city or town in which he/she resided on January 1.
If the owner moved before the first of the year, he/she must pay the tax to the new community to which the owner moved. If the owner did not notify the Registry, the local assessor, and the post office that he/she moved before the first of the year, it may be necessary to file for an abatement with the former city or town which had sent the excise bill. Most cities or towns will dismiss the bill and reroute it to the new community once the owner furnishes proof that he/she had moved before the first of the year.
If the owner of a vehicle moves out of Massachusetts and registers his/her vehicle in another state, notify the Assessing Division at (508) 799-1098 and provide them with a copy of the following documentation: as of January 1 of the tax year the Registration Form for the New State or County or Plate Return Receipt.
Please note that the Registry strongly encourages a person who has moved to another state to cancel the registration in Massachusetts in order to avoid problems with an excise tax abatement application or future registration in the new state.
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle or trailer which has been sold, the seller must return the plate(s) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, get a return plate receipt and file an application for abatement together with the return plate receipt or new registration form and the bill of sale with the Assessing Division at (508) 799-1098. You can print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement application from this site. The bill will be adjusted to reflect the portion of the year when the vehicle was owned by the recipient of the bill. NOTE: It is important to remember that the bill for a vehicle you no longer own should not be ignored.
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which was traded and which was not owned in the calendar year stated on the bill, it is recommended to pay the bill and file an application for abatement with the Assessing Division at (508) 799-1098. The application must accompany a copy of the New Registration Form for the new vehicle that indicates the date of transfer. You can print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement application from this site. If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which was traded but which was owned for a portion of the calendar year stated on the bill, it is necessary to pay the bill and provide a copy of the registration for the new vehicle which indicates the date of transfer together with an application for abatement to the Assessing Division. The Assessor can then adjust the bill to reflect the ownership for only part of the year, and grant the proper abatement. The bill is prorated back to the last day of the month in which the vehicle was owned and the excise bill on the new vehicle will be prorated as of the date the new vehicle was registered.
If the vehicle is stolen and not recovered within 30 days, the owner will be entitled to an abatement if he/she reports the theft of the vehicle to the local police within 48 hours of discovery of the theft. After 30 days, the owner must surrenders the certificate of registration and obtain a certificate from the Registry of Motor Vehicles indicating that he/she has done so, notify the Assessing Division at (508) 799-1098 and provide them with a copy of the following documentation: Police Report and C-19 form (Affidavit of Lost or Stolen plate) - this certificate and the local police report of the theft should be presented to the Assessing Division with an application for abatement. You can print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement application from this site. The assessor will adjust the bill and grant an abatement for the remaining portion of the year. If the motor vehicle or trailer is subsequently recovered and reregistered, another excise bill will be issued for the remainder of the year.
Falsely reporting the theft of a motor vehicle or trailer will result in severe penalties and a person may be charged up to three times the excise due on the vehicle for an entire year.