Reasons for Abatement

If You've Moved
If a motor vehicle owner moves within Massachusetts and has not paid an excise tax for the current year, he/she should immediately notify the Assessors of his/her new address. The owner must pay the motor vehicle excise to the city or town in which he/she resided on January 1. 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, the Assessors, and the post office that he/she moved before the first of the year, it may be necessary to file for an abatement with the former city or town that had sent the excise bill.

If Your Motor Vehicle Is Sold
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle or trailer that has been sold, the seller must return the plate(s) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, get a return plate receipt, and file an application for abatement, together with the return plate receipt and the bill of sale with the Assessors. The bill will be adjusted to reflect the portion of the year when the vehicle was owned by the recipient of the bill.

If Your Motor Vehicle Is Traded
If an excise is received for a vehicle which was traded and which was not owned in the calendar year stated on the bill, it is recommended to pay the bill and then file an application for abatement with the Assessors. The application must accompany a copy of the registration for the new vehicle that indicates the date of transfer and a copy of the bill of sale that shows the trade in information.

If Your Motor Vehicle Is Stolen
If the vehicle is stolen and not recovered within 30 days, the owner will be entitled to an abatement if the theft of the vehicle was reported to the local police within 48 hours of discovery of the theft. After 30 days, the owner must surrender the certificate of registration and obtain a certificate from the Registry of Motor Vehicles indicating that he/she has done so.

It is important to remember that the bill for a vehicle you no longer own should not be ignored.

For more information on the motor vehicle excise, see the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Citizen Information Service (external link).