Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

A motor vehicle excise tax is imposed on every motor vehicle and trailer registered in Massachusetts.  The tax is imposed for the privilege of using the roadways and for registering a motor vehicle.  The registration process automatically triggers the assessment of the excise by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax bills are due in 30 days.  If the bill goes unpaid, interest accrues at 12% per annum.  Nonpayment of a bill triggers a demand bill to be produced and a demand fee of $15.00 payable in 14 days.  When the demand bill becomes past due, the account is turned over to the Deputy Tax Collector (placed on warrant).  The Deputy Tax Collector for the Town of Norton is Kelly and Ryan Associates.

The information on all excise tax bills comes directly from the information your insurance company or agent supplies to the RMV. The Town receives the billing information electronically from the RMV and collects the tax.  The Town does not set the value of the vehicle or compile the information on your bill(s).

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, local 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 local assessor if he/she has not received a bill.

The statewide motor vehicle excise tax rate is $25.00 per $1,000 of valuation.  The original (model year) value is based on the manufacturer's list price according to the N.A.D.A. Blue Book.  This taxable value is adjusted each year according to the following schedule:
        Year prior to model year:  50%
        Model year:  90%
        Second year:  60%
        Third year:  40%
        Fourth year:  25%
        Fifth year and each year thereafter:  10%

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax bills are issued on a calendar year basis.  The bill is owed to the community where the vehicle or trailer was garaged as of January 1.  The address of the registrant is based upon the registration address provided by the owner to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  

Vehicles registered for a portion of a calendar year are eligible for a proration based upon whole months.  For new registrations, this occurs automatically.  For cancelled or changed registrations, it is up to the owner to request an adjustment (abatement) from the Board of Assessors.  The minimum assessment for a motor vehicle excise tax is $5.00.

Typically, owners of vehicles registered as of January 1st can expect to receive a bill by late February or early March.  A new registration normally produces a bill 2 to 3 months afterwards.

The most common source of taxpayer confusion arises when a vehicle is registered late in the calendar year.  This generates a tax bill early in the next calendar year, which may soon be followed by a full year bill for the new calendar year.  Each bill identifies the year prominently.  Taxpayers should make note of the year of the bill when making payment.