City Of Boston Excise Tax

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What Is Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

Why are 2 identical Massachusetts vehicles getting different excise tax bills?

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 . 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 . 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 days from the issue date. If the bill is unpaid and remains outstanding more than thirty 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.

What If I Dont Have The Car Anymore

If you receive an excise tax for a vehicle you no longer own, you may qualify for an abatement, or adjustment, on the bill, but you must provide proof that you no longer own the car AND proof of the registration cancellation or transfer. Any required documentation must be presented to the Assessors office to receive an abatement.

If any of the situations listed below apply to an excise tax billed in your name, please supply applicable documents to the Assessors office. You can call their office if you need more information, 322-5550.

Get Your Payment Together

At City Hall, we accept cash, credit cards, pinless debit cards, and checks or money orders made payable to the City of Boston.

If you use a credit card or pinless debit card, there is a non-refundable service fee of 2.5% of the total payment, with a $1 minimum. This fee is paid to the card processor and not kept by the City.

If your debit card requires you to enter your pin to process a payment, you CANNOT use it to pay your fee.

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Valid Reasons For An Abatement

You may receive an abatement for any of the following:

  • Moved Outside of Massachusetts
  • Moved from Billing City or Town
  • Vehicle Was Overvalued
  • Transferred Vehicle Ownership
  • Re-registered the Vehicle

You must file applications for abatement with your local board of assessors within three years after the excise’s due date or one year after the excise was paid whichever is later. Filing an application does not mean that collecting the excise has stopped.

What Is Excise And Who Gets It

City Of Boston Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Payment

Excise tax on motor vehicles is an annual tax for the privilege of registration. Every motor vehicle and trailer registered in Massachusetts is subject to excise tax unless expressly exempted. Registering a motor vehicle automatically generates an excise tax. The city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged levies the excise annually. The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to the City or Town. Cities and Towns then prepare bills based on the excise data provided by the Registry of Motor vehicles. Anyone with Massachusetts plates registered in their name gets a bill every year for as long as the plates are active in the RMVs system.

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When Are They Due

Payments are due 30 days from the issue date. A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise tax. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Post Office informed of the current name and address so that the excise tax bill can be delivered promptly.

What If I Traded My Car

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, you should:

  • Pay the bill and file an application for abatement with the Assessors office.
  • If the license plates were transferred to the new vehicle provide a copy of the New Registration Form AND the Purchase Agreement citing the vehicle as Trade-in.
  • If the license plates were returned to the Massachusetts RMV provide a copy of the Plate Return Receipt AND the Purchase Agreement citing the vehicle as Trade-in.
  • Provide a copy of your completed application for abatement along with all supporting documentation to the Assessors office.
  • Contact the Assessors office at 796-1160 for an application for abatement OR you can fill in and print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement Application Form. Follow the directions on the form and send it to the Assessors office at 1000 Commonwealth Ave, Newton Centre, Ma 02459 or e-mail to .

    The Assessors office 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. In no event shall the excise abatement be for less than $5.00, nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise tax to less than $5.00.

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    Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Faqs

    • In the year preceding the designated year of manufacture – 50%
    • In the designated 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%
    • the owner believes the assessment is incorrect, or
    • if the vehicle was traded, or
    • if the vehicle was stolen, or
    • if the vehicle was sold during the year in which it is being taxed and the registration was properly cancelled, or
    • if the owner moved from the Town of Belmont to another city or town, before January 1
    • if the owner moved to another state and registered the vehicle and cancelled the registration in Massachusetts, or
    • if the registration is cancelled, it is most important to return the plate to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and to obtain a return plate receipt.
    • Pay the motor vehicle excise to the city or town in which the vehicle was registered on January 1.
    • The excise for any particular year is due to the municipality in which the vehicle was registered on January 1 of that year. In the case of any person who moves during any particular registration year, the excise will be due to the city or town where the vehicle was registered on January 1 of that calendar year.

    Registration And Certificate General Information

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    All operators must register with DOR and obtain a Certificate of Registration for each property they offer for rent. The Certificate of Registration must be posted in the property and a copy of the Certificate must be given to any intermediary used by the operator.

    For the intermediary, the Certificate of Registration is proof that the operator has registered with DOR. Without it, DOR may ask the intermediary to remove the property from their listings. For tax returns filed by either an operator or an intermediary, the Certificate number ensures that the taxes collected are distributed to the proper localities or special funds.

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    What Are The Requirements For Abatements

    The Assessors office must receive abatement applications within 3 years after the excise is due OR within one year after the excise is paid.

    Example: Assume that an excise tax bill is due on February 25, 2008. The abatement deadline would be February 25, 2011, OR one year after the payment of the bill, whichever is later.

    Under what circumstances might motor vehicle excise abatement be warranted?

    Abatement applications can be filed if:

  • the owner believes the assessment is incorrect, or
  • if the vehicle was traded, or
  • if the vehicle was stolen, or
  • if the vehicle was sold during the year in which it is being taxed and the registration was properly cancelled, or
  • if the owner moved from the City of Newton to another city or town, before January 1 if the owner moved to another state and registered the vehicle and cancelled the registration in Massachusetts, or
  • if the registration is cancelled, it is most important to return the plate to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and to obtain a return plate receipt.
  • When an abatement is granted, excise bills are prorated by the month, thus the owner is responsible for the excise accrued through the month in which the car was last registered to him/her.

    What Happens If They Are Not Paid

    If the service warrant demanding final payment is not paid, the deputy collector may then notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of such non-payment. The Registry will then mark the individuals registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and the owners drivers license. The taxpayer will then be assessed a $20.00 mark fee in addition to all other penalties and interest. It is the policy of the City of Holyoke to NOT release any marked bill until ALL OUTSTANDING delinquent excise tax bills for a taxpayer are PAID IN FULL. Once full payment is made, the City will call to electronically clear the mark. This will enable the motorist to return to the Registry and renew his/her license or registration.

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    How Is The Excise Determined

    Valuation figures are the manufacturers’ list prices for vehicles in their year of manufacture. Present market value, price paid, or condition are not considered for excise tax purposes. The excise tax law establishes its own formula for valuation for state tax purposes whereby only the manufacturer’s list price and the age of the motor vehicle are considered. Various percentages of the manufacturer’s list price are applied. The percentages are as follows:

  • In the year preceding the designated year of manufacture – 50%
  • In the designated 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%
  • When Is Payment Due

    City Of Boston Excise Tax Payment

    Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued .

    NOTE: 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 Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and the United States Postal Service informed of a current name and address so that excise bills can be delivered promptly. Vehicle owners who do not receive an excise tax bill should contact the Office of the Treasurer/Collector at 796-1330.

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    Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

    Billing Cycle: Annual per registrationDue Date: Thirty days after issue, date varies upon registration of vehicle. Majority of bills are due in March.

    Late Payments:

    Interest will be charged at 12% per year on any payment not received by the Collectors Office by the due date. Postmarks are not acceptable. If not paid, pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60 Section 15, a demand fee of $10.00 will be added.

    If payment is still not received, a warrant fee of $10.00 will be added and the account will be forwarded to the Deputy Collector, PKS Associates, Inc.

    The Deputy Collector will issue a first notice for an additional fee of $12.00 and a second notice for an additional fee of $17.00. Continued failure to pay will result in your license and registration being flagged for non-renewal at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

    To request a motor vehicle excise abatement, please fill out an application or contact the Assessors Office at 508-324-2300.

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    Get Your Bill In The Mail Before Submitting Online

    Residents who own motor vehicles have to pay taxes based on the value of their vehicles each year. You pay an excise instead of a personal property tax. If your vehicle isn’t registered, youll have to pay personal property taxes on it.

    We send you a bill in the mail. You need to pay the bill within 30 days of the date we issued the bill. Payments are considered made when received by the Collector.

    The states Registry of Motor Vehicles determines the value of motor vehicles each year based on the list price and age of the vehicle. We use that information to figure out your excise tax.

    You are taxed at a rate of $25 per thousand dollars of your cars value. If you registered your car after January 31, we tax you from the month that you registered your car until the end of the year. For example:

    • if you register your car on April 20, you will be taxed for nine months of the year, from April 1 until December 31.

    For more information, we created a page all about motor vehicle and boat taxes.

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    Before You Get Started By Mail

    You can only file an abatement for specific reasons. Please check to make sure youre able to file an abatement:

    You have until three years after the excise is due OR one year after you pay the excise bill to file an abatement.

    You can find the abatement form on the reverse side of your excise tax bill. You can also download and print a blank abatement form online:

    You can also call the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center at and we will send you the form you need.

    Can I Get Motor Vehicle Excise Abatement

    Program offers free tax help for qualified Boston residents

    Contact the Assessors office at 796-1160 for an application for abatement OR you can fill in and print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement Application Form. Follow the directions on the form and send it to the Assessors Office at 1000 Commonwealth Ave, Newton Centre, MA 02459 or e-mail to .

    NOTE: on unpaid excise tax bills, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties if an abatement is not granted.

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    Who Collects The Motor Vehicle Excise

    Local tax collectors are responsible for collecting the motor vehicle and trailer excise. Generally, tax collectors and deputy tax collectors do not accept partial payment of an Excise bill. Taxpayers should be prepared to pay the full amount due. There are no special considerations for financial hardship.

    What If I Sold My Car

    If an excise bill is received for a vehicle or trailer that has been sold, the seller must:

  • Return the plate to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and obtain a return plate receipt.
  • File an application with the Assessors office for abatement together with the following:
  • return plate receipt AND
  • the bill of sale OR transfer letter
  • Contact the Assessors office at 796-1160 for an application for abatement OR you can fill in and print out a Motor Vehicle Abatement Application Form. Follow the directions on the form and send it to the Assessors office at 1000 Commonwealth Ave, Newton Centre, Ma 02459 or e-mail to .

    The Assessors office 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. In no event shall the excise abatement be for less than $5.00, nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise tax to less than $5.00.

    NOTE: It is important to remember that the bill for a vehicle you no longer own should not be ignored. On unpaid excise tax bills, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties if an abatement is not granted.

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    How Much Is It

    The excise tax rate is $25.00 per thousand. This is the standard for the entire Commonwealth. The valuation is based on the rates set by the state and are assessed according to the manufacturers list price. This taxable value is adjusted each year according to the following schedule:

    • Year prior to model year: 50% of the manufacturers list price
    • Model year: 90%
    • Fifth-year and each year thereafter: 10%

    State And Local Room Occupancy Excise Rates And Fees

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    The total amount of tax required to be collected depends on where the property is located. Visit the Division of Local Services Municipal Databankfor current local option and community impact fee rates as well as information about which localities are part of the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund.

    Local rates and fees must be added to the states room occupancy rate and reported together to the Department of Revenue on the same return.

    Total tax to be collected

    The states room occupancy excise tax rate is 5.7%. Note that while the statute provides for a 5% rate, an uncodified surtax adds .7% to that rate.

    In addition to the state excise, Massachusetts cities and towns are permitted to charge a local room occupancy excise tax up to 6% .

    In the cities of Boston, Worcester, Cambridge, Springfield, West Springfield, and Chicopee, an additional 2.75% tax is charged for convention center funding. See TIR 05-01 for more information.

    In Barnstable, Nantucket and Dukes Counties an additional 2.75% may be charged for the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fundbeginning July 1, 2019. Currently this applies for all Barnstable County municipalities.

    Beginning July 1, 2019, for short-term rentals only, cities and towns are permitted to charge an additional community impact feeup to 3% if an operator has more than one property in that locality or is renting an owner-occupied 2 or 3 family house on a short-term rental basis.

    Collecting the Community Impact Fee

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