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. The bulk of motor vehicle excise bills for calendar year 2020 has been billed.
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (mailed). 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 current name and address changes so that excise bills can be delivered promptly. It is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Assessors if he/she has not received a bill.
Registration changes at the Registry of Motor Vehicles will result in off-cycle billing, which continues throughout the calendar year.
Never Ignore an Excise Bill
Bills must be paid or abated in full to avoid additional fees. If you no longer own a vehicle or think you may be entitled to an adjustment, you should contact the Assessors Office at 413-259-3024 for further detail. Filing for an abatement does not alter the due date or the resulting schedule of fees and interest.
Penalties for Nonpayment
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the Collector will send a late bill (demand), with a fee of $10. In addition, interest will accrue on the overdue bill at an annual rate of 12% from the day after the due date.
If the late bill is not paid within 14 days, the Collector may issue a warrant to the Deputy Tax Collector or an appointed agent. The Deputy Tax Collector issues a warrant notice at a cost of $22. If there is still no payment, a final warrant will be delivered or exhibited to the taxpayer at his/her residence or workplace at a fee of $17. All interest and penalties will be clearly stated on the bill. These penalties were set by state law in July 2003. Finally, the bill will be reported to the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles, where an RMV fee will be assessed and license and registration of the owner will be tagged non-renew status.
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 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.
Applications for abatement must be received by the Assessors by December 31 of the year following the year of the tax. If the bill is mailed after December 1 of the year following the tax year, application must be made on or before the 30th day from the date of issue or the date of mailing, whichever is later.