by Lisa Berg MAA
Q. What is Motor Vehicle Abatement and how do I qualify and apply for it?
A. Motor vehicle excise taxes are based on the calendar year. If you sell a vehicle and purchase a new one during the same year, and the excise bill on the old vehicle has been paid, the buyer may receive abatement (or reduction) of their excise bill for the remaining paid months on the old vehicle.
The Assessor’s Office has the authority to give abatements when a car is sold, stolen, totaled, or registered in another state during the year that the excise tax was paid. The Assessor’s office must receive applications for abatement within three years after the date the excise tax was due, or one year after the date the excise tax was paid, whichever is later.
In order to qualify for abatement you must provide proof of BOTH:
1) Conveyance (or transfer) of title to the vehicle. (By gift, repossession, sale, etc…) AND
2) Cancellation of the registration. (Plate Return Receipt, or Lost Plate Affidavit from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles)
If you were assigned a new license plate by the Registry, you must bring the Plate Return Receipt to the Assessor’s Office when you apply for abatement. If you purchase a new vehicle and transfer the license plate from the old one, you will need to bring a copy of your new registration.
All license plate numbers are assigned and as long as the plate is active, you will be responsible for the excise taxes accrued by that plate. Even if you leave the state and turn your plates over to the new Registry, you will need to send the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles a copy of your new state registration, along with your Massachusetts excise tax bill.
If your car is stolen or totaled, immediately go to the Registry and file a Lost/Stolen Plate Form. You may need a police report to do this, but it will end your responsibility for the plate, and will stop police from tracing plates to you if anyone were using them for criminal intent.
Failure to take care of any of the above may result in a difficult and expensive process as your excise taxes begin to pile up and warrants are issued. Unpaid excise taxes can be costly and, additionally, you cannot renew your license or register your car until all outstanding bills are paid.
While the Assessor’s office does not handle payments, we do issue an abatement notification to the Tax Collector, who collects the adjusted balance after the abatement, or a refund check if applicable. The minimum abatement allowed is $5.00.
- Wednesday, 15 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News