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Treasury-Excise Tax FAQ

Question: What is Excise tax?


If you have a Massachusetts license plate on your car (or in your possession!) you must pay Excise tax, a yearly tax, based on the value of the car on which the plate was registered. The largest Excise billing commitment is usually billed in February and due in March. However, you could receive an Excise bill at any time during the year, depending on when you registered your car and when the Registry of Motor Vehicles decides to bill you. See the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Web site for more Excise tax information. Be sure to receive a return plate receipt from the Registry should you ever turn your plate in (to your insurance company) or to the Registry. You are billed Excise tax as long as the license plate is in your possession (not in the possession of the Registry of Motor Vehicles). If you move to another city or state, contact the Assessing department for abatement information.

Excise tax information originates with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The address that the license plate was registered to on January 1 determines where the tax bill for that year will be mailed. If you move January 2nd, the bill will still go to the January 1 address. Please plan accordingly. Failure to receive a bill does not excuse you from the tax or fees that accrue on outstanding tax bills. Change your forwarding address with the US Postal Service so that you receive your Excise bills. Excise tax is billed one time per year. Contact the Treasurer/Collector’s office if you do not receive a bill. If you are double billed in one calendar year, look to the year of the bill to make sure they are different. If they are the same, contact the Assessing Department. For payment questions contact the Collector’s office.

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