What is Motor Excise Tax?
Chapter 60A of Massachusetts General Laws imposes an excise for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or a trailer on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax.
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.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to city or town assessors. Cities and towns then prepare bills based on excise data sent by the Registry in compliance with Registry requirements.
How is the Motor Excise Tax determined?
The amount of the excise is based on the value of the motor vehicle, which value is based upon the manufacturers list price.
Various percentages of the manufacturer's list price are applied.
In the year preceding the designated year of manufacture
(brand new car released before model year): 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%
Once the value of the vehicle is determined, an excise at the rate of $25.00 per thousand is assessed. Excises are assessed annually, on a calendar year basis, by the assessors of the city or town in which the vehicle is garaged.
If a vehicle is registered after January 31, it is taxed for the period extending from the first day of the month in which it is registered to the end of the calendar year. For example , if a vehicle is registered on April 30, it will taxable as of April 1, for the nine months of the year (April through December). In no event shall the excise be assessed for less than $5.00 nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise to less than $5.00.
Where should I mail the Motor Excise payment?
Please mail payment to:
Office of the Tax Collector
Town of Winchester
71 Mt. Vernon Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Please make checks payable to: Town of Winchester.
For proper crediting, write the bill number on the check and enclosed the top portion of your tax bill. To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and both portions of the bill with the payment. One will be stamped "paid" and returned.
When are the payments due for Motor Excise?
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (not mailed, as is popularly believed).
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 Registry, the Town of Winchester, and the post office informed of a current name and address so that the excise bills can be delivered promptly.
All owners of motor vehicles must pay an excise tax; therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Office of the Tax Collector if you have not received a bill.
What if I do not receive a Motor Excise Tax bill?
You can request a statement by calling the Town Treasurer’sOffice at
What if I mail in my Motor Excise Tax payment late?
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the account will be assessed a $15.00 demand charge. If payment in full (including the demand charge) is not received within 14 days of the date of issue of the demand, an additional $22.00 warrant charge will assessed. If payment in full (including the demand and warrant charges) is not received within 30 days of the date of issue of the warrant charge, a service warrant will be delivered to the taxpayers residence and an additional $17.00 will be assessed.
If the payment in full (including the demand, warrant, and service of warrant charges) is not received within 14 days, the Office of the Tax Collector notifies the Registry of Motor Vehicles of non-payment, and the Registry then marks the individual’s registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and the owner’s drivers license until such time as the Registry of Motor Vehicles is notified that payment in full of all outstanding vehicles taxes and parking tickets has been made to the Town of Winchester.
This payment includes a $20.00 release fee as the final assessment. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the day after the due date until the date of payment at an annual rate of 12 percent. Only payment in full for each excise tax bill is accepted. Any partial payment will be returned. Payment in full includes all charges and interest.
My Vehicle’s Registration and my Driver License have been marked for Non-Renewal at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, how do I clear this at the Registry?
Once payment of all outstanding excise and parking tickets in money order, bank check, or cash is made, the Town will give the motorist a certified receipt of payment, so he/she can return to the Registry to renew his/her registration or license.
Can I make partial payments on Motor Excise?
NO. Only payment in full for each excise tax bill is accepted. Any partial payment will be returned to the taxpayer via US mail. Payment in full includes all charges and interest.
What do I do if I sell or trade my car?
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which was traded, it is recommended to:
Pay the bill in full, and provide a copy of the new registration with an application for abatement with the Assessors Office. (781) 721-7111.
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which has been sold it is recommended to:
• Pay the bill in full, and return the plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles
• Get a Return Plate Receipt
• File an application for abatement with the Assessors Office (781) 721-7111.
What do I do if I move out of Winchester?
If a motor vehicle owner moves within Massachusetts, he/she should:
Pay the motor vehicle excise if he/she resided in the Town of Winchester on January 1st.
If the owner moved before the first of the year, he/she must pay the tax to the new community to which the owner moved. If the owner did not notify the Registry that he/she moved before the first of the year, it may be necessary to file for an abatement with the Town of Winchester, which had sent the excise bill.
File the abatement at the Town of Winchester Assessors Office (781) 721-7111.
If a motor vehicle owner moves out of Massachusetts, he/she should:
• Pay the motor vehicle if he/she resided in the Town of Winchester on January1st.
• Return the plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts
• Get a Return Plate Receipt
• Apply for a partial refund with the Town of Winchester Assessors Office (781) 721-7111.
Am I entitled to an abatement?
If an owner of a motor vehicle thinks that he/she is entitled to an adjustment of his/her excise bill, it is strongly recommended that he/she:
Pay the bill in full, then contact the Town of Winchester Assessors office for an
application for an abatement. Assessors office must receive application for abatement by December 31 of the year following the year of the tax.
NOTE: It excise tax bills are unpaid, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties that are non-refundable or waived.
Abatements can be filed if:
• The owner believes the assessment is incorrect, 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 Winchester to another city or town, or
• If the registration is cancelled, it is most important to return the plate(s) 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.