Auto Excise Tax

Motor Vehicle Excise - Chapter 60A
Chapter 60A imposes an excise on the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or trailer in the Commonwealth. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax. Non-registered vehicles, however, remain subject to taxation as personal property.  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 by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to the information on the motor vehicle registration. They are sent to city or town assessors who commit them to the local tax collectors for distribution and collection of payment. Cities and towns may also prepare their own bills based on excise data sent by the Registry in conformity with Registry requirements.

Am I eligible for any exemptions?
Chapter 60A, Section 1 of the Massachusetts General Laws provides excise tax exemptions for vehicles owned by certain disabled individuals and veterans, ex-prisoners of war and their surviving spouses and certain charitable organizations. Please contact the Assessors office at (617) 846-2716 for further details on eligibility.

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.  You have until three years after the excise is due OR one year after you pay the excise bill to file an abatement.

Abatement applications can be filed if:
the owner believes the assessment is incorrect, or
if the vehicle was traded, or
if the vehicle was stolen, or
if the vehicle was sold during the year in which it is being taxed and the registration was properly canceled, or
if the owner moved from the Town of Winthrop to another city or town
if the owner moved to another state and registered the vehicle and canceled the registration in Massachusetts, or
if the registration is canceled, it is most important to return the plate(s) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and to obtain a return plate receipt.
When an abatement is granted, excise bills are prorated by the month, thus the owner is responsible for the excise accrued through the month in which the car was last registered to him/her.

NOTE: It is important to remember that the bill for a vehicle you no longer own should not be ignored. On unpaid excise tax bills, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties if an abatement is not granted.

You can have your vehicle abated at the Assessors office. Follow the directions on the form, fill in and sign the form and mail your application to the Assessors office at:

Town of Winthrop
Board of Assessors
One Metcalf Square, Room 1
Winthrop, MA 02152

NOTE: It is important to provide any necessary paperwork whether you have your vehicle abated at the Assessors office or if you mail in your application.

Motor Vehicle Tax Information
Motor Vehicle Taxes
Vehicle Excise FAQ (Updated December 2011)