Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

Icon of carUnder MGL Chapter 60A, all Massachusetts residents who own and register a motor vehicle must annually pay a motor vehicle excise. Every motor vehicle, whether registered or not, is subject to taxation, either as excise or 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.

Click here for the Massachusetts Secretary of State's guide to excise tax.

An excise at the rate of $25 per one thousand dollars of valuation is levied on each motor vehicle. A vehicle's value for excise purposes is a percentage of the manufacturer's list price in the year of manufacture.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is responsible for preparing the excise bill using the information obtained from the vehicle registration. Periodically throughout the year, the information is sent to the Town of Wakefield's Assessor who, in turn, commits the bills to the Tax Collector. The Tax Collector mails the bills and collects the excise based on the data sent by the RMV. 

Where excise is due and payable 
The excise is payable to the community in which the vehicle is principally garaged. When an individual moves during a calendar year, payment is due where the vehicle was originally garaged on January 1 or where garaged on the date of registration, if registered after January 1. 

Registration period 
A vehicle registered at any time during a month is considered to have been registered for the entire month. For example, if a vehicle is registered on April 30, it will be assessed for nine months. The excise due will be 9/12 of a full year's excise. 

Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued. The tax liability remains until paid or abated.

Additional questions about excise tax and abatements should be directed to our Assessor’s Office.