Motor Vehicle Excise

Every motor vehicle in Massachusetts, whether registered or not, is subject to taxation either as excise or personal property according to Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 59, Section 2. The motor vehicle excise is imposed for the privilege of road use, whether actual or future. Registering a motor vehicle automatically triggers the assessment of the excise.

Excise Tax Valuation

Excise bills are prepared by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) according to the information on the motor vehicle registration. They are then sent to each municipality for distribution and collection of payment. Values are set by the RMV according to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for vehicles in their year of manufacture. All valuation issues should be directed to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to be corrected at the source. Present market value, price paid, and condition are not considered for excise tax purposes.  Excise tax bills are calculated with a tax rate of $25 per one thousand dollars of valuation.  Formula for excise tax valuation is as follows.

Valuation by Model Year

Year Relative to Model YearExcise Tax Valuation
In the year preceding the model year50% of MSRP
In the model year90% of MSRP
In the second year60% of MSRP
In the third year40% of MSRP
In the fourth year25% of MSRP
In the fifth and all succeeding years10% of MSRP


Excises are prorated on a monthly basis. If a vehicle is registered for any part of any month in a calendar year, the excise is assessed for the entire month.


The Application for Abatement must be received by the Assessor within three years after the excise is due, or one year after the excise is paid, whichever is later. To avoid interest, charges, and collection action, you must pay excise as billed by the due date. No abatement or refund of less than $5 may be made. You can cancel your registration online at the My RMV website.

You may scan your required supporting documentation, sign Application for Abatement of Motor Vehicle Excise Form 126-MVE (PDF) and email it to the Town Assessor or return by mail to:
29 Middle Road
Boxborough, MA 01719

Materials Needed for Abatement in Different Situations

I Have Sold My Vehicle

  • Bill of Sale
  • Plate Return Receipt

I Have Traded My Vehicle

  • Sales contract showing trade-in
  • New registration if plate was transferred or Plate Return Receipt

I Have Moved to Another State

  • Plate Return Receipt
  • Proof of registration in new state

My Vehicle Was Stolen or Totaled

  • Police report or Insurance company letter declaring total loss
  • Plate Return Receipt or Lost Plate Affidavit (Form C-19) or New Registration

I Have Junked My Vehicle

  • Receipt from junkyard
  • Plate Return Receipt or Lost Plate Affidavit (Form C-19) or New Registration

My Vehicle Was Repossessed

  • Notice from Lien Holder
  • Plate Return Receipt or Lost Plate Affidavit (Form C-19) or New Registration

I Have Returned My Vehicle (Lemon Law)

  • Letter from dealer certifying return of vehicle
  • Plate Return Receipt or New Registration

I Have Moved from Billing City Before January 1st of Tax Year

  • Proof of residency in new community before January 1st
  • Proof RMV was notified of new address prior to January 1st

I Am Active Duty Military or Handicapped Veteran

  • To be eligible for a motor vehicle excise exemption, a veteran must, as documented by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, have actually lost, or have the permanent loss of use of, at least one foot or hand, or have permanent legal blindness in at least one eye, due to his or her military service. A veteran who does not have one of those specific disabilities can also qualify for an excise exemption if the RMV’s Medical Advisory Board (MAB) has determined that the veteran is permanently disabled due to his or her military service. General Law Chapter 60A, Section 1. Veterans who the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) determines have permanent service-connected disabilities and are eligible for a disabled veteran (DV) plate can receive the exemption by evidence of their DV plate or providing a copy of their MAB letter.
  • Military soldiers and sailors who are stationed in Massachusetts due to military orders will need to provide a letter from their commanding officer establishing their absence from their domicile state due to compliance with military orders.

Handicapped non-veterans will be required to provide documentation of certification by a physician of the existence of total loss of use as per Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60A, Section 1.

I Have Cancelled My Registration

You are not entitled to abatement if you cancel your registration and retain ownership of the vehicle. You must provide documentation of transfer of title of vehicle to receive abatement.

If you have any questions about your vehicle's value, please contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles: (857) 368-8080 press 0 for a live person.

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