Motor Vehicle Excise

Motor vehicle excise is a tax assessed on owners of all registered motor vehicles.

Vehicle Location 

The city or town where the vehicle is customarily garaged, assesses the motor vehicle excise.  A vehicle is presumed to be customarily garaged at the owner’s residential address or principal place of business, as determined by the owner’s registration. 

Motor Vehicle Assessment Calendar 

The motor vehicle excise is assessed on a calendar year basis. Vehicles registered as of January 1, and during the month of January, are assessed for the full calendar year. Vehicles registered after January 31 are assessed for the month the vehicle is registered and the months remaining in the calendar year.  (For example, a vehicle registered on March 14th will be billed an excise for the month of March through December.)

Motor Vehicle Tax Rate

The excise rate is $25 per thousand of the vehicle valuation.

How is the Amount Assessed Calculated?

The motor vehicle excise for a full calendar year is determined by multiplying the excise rate by the vehicle’s excise value for a given year. That amount is pro-rated for the number of months the vehicle is registered in that year.  For excise purposes, the value is not based on the purchase price or “book value” of your vehicle.  Instead, it is based on a percentage of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the vehicle at the time of its manufacture.  The percentage declines over several years until it reaches 10 percent of the MSRP in the fifth year after manufacture and all succeeding years for the life of the vehicle. The excise value for a particular year is determined by multiplying (1) the manufacturer’s retail price by (2) the applicable percentage.

Excise Percentage Calculation Chart:

Year before designated year of manufacture... 50%
Year of manufacture......................................... 90%
Second year...................................................... 60%
Third year.......................................................... 40%
Fourth year........................................................ 25%
Fifth and succeeding years ...............................10%

The minimum motor vehicle excise is $5.  (If your calculated excise is less than $5, you will be taxed $5.)

Motor Vehicle Abatements

Reasons to File for Abatement on Motor Vehicle Excise

A taxpayer who supplies copies of requested documentation may file for and receive an abatement for any of the following reasons: 

  • Transfer of ownership of the vehicle - Provide bill of sale or trade in agreement and  new registration showing plate has been transferred to another vehicle.
  • Moved outside of Massachusetts -  Provide registration in that state and cancellation of the Massachusetts registration.
  • Vehicle stolen or total loss -  Provide police report (if stolen) or insurance settlement letter (if totaled) and plate return receipt or new registration showing plate has been transferred to another vehicle.
  • Re-registered the vehicle -  Provide plate cancellation and new registration of the vehicle. 
  • Vehicle donated or junked -  Provide letter of donation or receipt from junk yard and plate return receipt or new registration showing plate has been transferred to another vehicle.
  • Vehicle repossessed -  Provide notice from lienholder and plate return receipt or new registration showing plate has been transferred to another vehicle.
  • Vehicle returned (Lemon Law) -  Provide letter from dealer certifying return and plate return receipt or new registration showing plate has been transferred to another vehicle. 
  • Moved within the State of Massachusetts -  Contact your insurance company and provide us with your Insurance Coverage Selection page showing garaging as of January 1 of the year in question.
  • Overvaluation -  Contact the RMV or provide documentation from dealership showing MSPR.  This will be submitted to RMV for their consideration.
  • Leased Vehicles -  Since the leasing company is the record owner of the vehicle, please contact the leasing company to request an abatement.

How To  Apply for a Motor Vehicle Abatement

Please e-mail documentation to: Assessors@hingham-ma.gov or mail to:

Town of Hingham Assessors Office, 210 Central Street, Hingham, MA  02043.  Filing an application does not stay the collection of your excise bill.  To avoid interest charges, you must pay the bill in full within 30 days of its issue date.  The Assessors must receive abatement requests within three years after the excise was due, or one year after the excise was paid, whichever is later.

Canceling Plates or Check the Status of a Registration

You can check the status of your registration and plates by going to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles