Excise Information

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A bill for a vehicle you no longer own, should not be ignored.

Excise Abatement Application

You are not entitled to an abatement if you (1) cancel your registration but retain ownership of the vehicle, or (2) move to another Massachusetts city or town, during the same calendar year. Abatements are pro-rated by the number of months in the calendar year after the month the last eligibility requirement takes place. No excise may be reduced to less than $5.00. No abatement or refund of less than $5.00 may be made.

Applications may be submitted via email to the Assessors Office or mailed to : Assessors Office
                                                                                                                             Arlington Town Hall
                                                                                                                             730 Massachusetts Ave.
                                                                                                                             Arlington, MA 02476


Residents who own and register a motor vehicle must annually pay a motor vehicle excise. 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.

Excise bills are prepared using excise data sent to the town by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to the information on the motor vehicle registration.

Motor Vehicle Excise information from Secretary of State


Valuations for excise purposes are based on 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 (M.G.L. c60A, s.1) establishes its own formula for valuation whereby only the manufacturers' list price and the age* of the motor vehicle are considered. Certain percentages of the manufacturer's list price are applied.

The formula is as follows:

 In the year preceding the model year           (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%


*Age of the vehicle is no longer considered for vehicles older than five years. Vehicles older than five years should have a fixed excise tax bill for succeeding years of ownership.

Calculating the excise

Once the valuation 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.


Excises are prorated on a monthly basis. If a motor vehicle is registered after the beginning of any calendar year, no excise will be imposed for those months, if any, which have fully elapsed before the vehicle is registered. If a vehicle is registered for any part of a month, however, the excise will be due for all of that month.


Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (not mailed, as is popularly believed). According to Chapter 60A, Section 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws, "Failure to receive notice shall not affect the validity of the excise". 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, Assessors, and the post office informed of a current name and address so that 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 Assessors if he/she has not received a bill. 

Penalties for non payment

If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the Tax Collector will send a demand, with a fee of $30. In addition, interest will accrue on the overdue bill at an annual rate of 12 percent from the day after the due date.

If the demand is not answered within 14 days, the Collector may issue a warrant to the Deputy Tax Collector or an appointed agent, which carries another $10 fee. The Deputy Tax Collector (or agent) issues a warrant notice at a cost of $12. If there is still no response, a final warrant, a service warrant, will be delivered or exhibited to the taxpayer at his/her residence or workplace, at a fee of $17. All interest and penalties should be clearly stated on the bill. 


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 contract the Assessors Office for an application for abatement. Although payment of a bill is not a precondition for an abatement, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties if an abatement is not granted.

Under M.G.L. c.60A:2 as amended by Chapter 262, sections 10-11, of the Acts of 2004, abatement applications must be received by the assessors within three years after the excise bill was due, or one year after it was paid, whichever was later. An owner needs to apply on time to avoid losing his/her appeal rights. The assessors have some discretion to act on late applications, but the excise must still be outstanding and the owner cannot appeal. If the assessors decline to grant a discretionary abatement, however, the owner can then pay the excise, apply for an abatement within one year of the payment date and appeal the assessor's decision on that application if he/she disagrees.

An application for Abatement does not stay the collection of excise or the collection process. UNLESS A BILL IS ABATED IN FULL, FEES UP TO $89.00 PLUS INTEREST WILL REMAIN YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

You can download the motor vehicle excise abatement form here.

For questions concerning excise, please call the Assessors Office at (781) 316-3050 or email
An application may be submitted via email.

 Vehicle sold or traded  Bill of sale AND registration cancellation receipt from Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) or new registration form if plate is transferred to another vehicle.
 Vehicle stolen or total loss  Police report or insurance settlement letter AND registration cancellation receipt or new registration form if plate is transferred to another vehicle.
 Vehicle repossessed  Notice from lienholder AND registration cancellation receipt or new registration form if plate is transferred to another vehicle.
 Vehicle junked or donated  Receipt from junk yard or donor's receipt AND registration cancellation receipt or new registration form if plate is transferred to another vehicle.
 Vehicle returned      (Lemon Law)  Letter from dealer certifying return AND registration cancellation receipt of new registration form if plate is transferred to another vehicle. 
 Move from Massachusetts  Registration cancellation receipt from Massachusetts RMV AND registration form from new state or country. NOTE: Registering your vehicle in another state does not automatically cancel your Massachusetts Registration.
 Move from Arlington to   another Massachusetts city  or town  Proof of residency prior to January 1 of tax year of bill (e.g., utility bill, voter registration, lease) AND proof RMV was notified before January 1 of the address change for the vehicle registration.