Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes FAQ
What is a motor vehicle excise tax?
It 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 triggers 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.
Additional information regarding excise taxes may be obtain on the web site of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Citizens Information Service
Who must pay excise tax?
Excise is assessed to anyone with Massachusetts’ license plates.
What is the rate?
The 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 manufacture’s list price. For more information on assessed value, contact the Assessor’s office at (413) 337-4934 ext 3.
When is payment due?
Payment is due within 30 days from the date of issue. 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 current name and address so that the excise tax bill can be delivered promptly. Please don't ignore any excise bills you receive even if you think it has been issued in error.
Partial payments of excise tax cannot be accepted by the Collector. Please be sure to pay the full amount of the bill.
What happens if my payment is late?
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the date of issue a demand bill is sent. The charge for a demand bill is $10.00. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the day after the due date until payment is received. The interest rate on excise is 12%. If the demand bill is not paid within 14 days, the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector. The warrant fee is $10. The deputy tax collector sends the warrant notice to the taxpayer with an additional fee of $12.00. If payment is still not received, the deputy will deliver a service warrant with an additional fee of $17.00. All bills will clearly state the interest and penalty charges.
Never ignore an excise bill. Bills must be paid or abated in full to avoid additional charges. If you no longer own a vehicle or think you may be entitled to an adjustment, you should contact the Assessor’s Office at (413) 337-4934 ext 3 for further information. Filing for an abatement does not alter the due date or the resulting schedule of fees and interest. If you have paid your bill in full and later receive an abatement, the abated amount will be refunded to you by the tax collector.
How do I file for an abatement?
Abatements are issued by Board of Assessors if the vehicle has been valued incorrectly or if the plates have been returned or transferred during the calendar year. Please contact the Board of Assessors for further information. You will find an abatement application form on the Assessor's Office page under Town Offices.
How does non-payment of excise affect my license and registration?
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 individual’s registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and the owner’s driver license. The taxpayer will then be assessed a $20.00 mark fee in addition to all other penalties and interest.
Payments of marked bills can be made either to Jeffery and Jeffery or to the Tax Collector. Payments must be in the form of cash, bank check or money order payable to the Town of Heath. Personal checks are not accepted. Payments can also be made on line by visiting jefferyandjeffery.com. On line payments can be made with a credit card, debit card or by electronic transfer. You can contact Jeffery and Jeffery directly at 413-967-9941.
What should I do if I have moved out of Heath, out of Massachusetts or if I no longer own the car?
Make sure you have notified the Registry of Motor Vehicles of your current address and contact the Board of Assessor’s Office at (413) 337-4934 if you believe that you do not owe this excise. Please don't ignore any excise bills.
Heath sent me an excise tax bill but I don’t live in Heath, What should I do?
Contact the Board of Assessor’s at (413) 337-4934 and verify with the Registry of Motor Vehicles that your address and place of garaging are correct.