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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE IX TAXATION
  • CHAPTER 60A EXCISE TAX ON REGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLES IN LIEU OF LOCAL TAX
  • Section 1 Excise tax on motor vehicles; assessment and levy; exemptions; abatement for theft of motor vehicle

Section 1. Except as hereinafter provided, there shall be assessed and levied in each calendar year on every motor vehicle and trailer registered under chapter ninety, for the privilege of such registration, an excise measured by the value thereof, as hereinafter defined and determined, at the rate of twenty-five dollars per thousand of valuation. For the purpose of this excise the value of each such motor vehicle or trailer shall be deemed to be the value, as determined by the commissioner, of motor vehicles or trailers of the same make, type, model, and year of manufacture as designated by the manufacturer, but not in excess of the following percentages of the list price established by the manufacturer for the year of manufacture, namely:—

A motor vehicle dealer to whom a general distinguishing number or mark has been issued shall, for the privilege of such registration, pay to the collector of taxes for the city or town in which such dealership is licensed, a special excise in the amount of $100.00 for each registration plate issued by the registrar of motor vehicles under such general distinguishing number or mark. Such motor vehicle dealer shall otherwise be exempt from the excise imposed by this section on any motor vehicle owned by such motor vehicle dealer, which motor vehicle may be operated by such dealer, the spouse of such dealer, a co-owner of such dealer or dealership entity, the spouse of such co-owner or an employee of such dealer whose duties involve the sale of motor vehicles at any time for any purpose, including personal use, provided that such employee renders at least 20 hours of service each week to such dealer and provided that such co-owner holds at least 40 per cent proprietary interest in such motor vehicle dealer or any such dealership entity; provided, however, that a motor vehicle which is operated under such general or distinguishing mark or number shall, at all times, display all notices and stickers required by applicable law to be eligible for sale.

The term “year of manufacture”, as used in this section, shall mean the year used by the manufacturer of the motor vehicle or trailer in connection with the designation by him or it of the model of such motor vehicle or trailer.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the board of assessors or the commissioner of revenue, as the case may be, from granting an abatement in any case in which the valuation aforesaid is in their or his opinion excessive.

The excise imposed by this section shall not apply to motor vehicles or trailers owned and registered by the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof, or to motor vehicles or trailers owned and registered by a corporation whose personal property is exempt from taxation under clauses Third and Tenth of section five of chapter fifty-nine. Motor vehicles or trailers owned or controlled by a manufacturer, or farmer to whom has been issued a general distinguishing number or mark under section five of chapter ninety, and trailers owned or controlled by a dealer to whom there has been issued a general distinguishing number or mark, shall be exempt from the excise imposed by this section, upon application in writing filed with the assessors, if and so long as such motor vehicle or trailer is operated or propelled over the highways solely in connection with the business of the owner or controller as such manufacturer or farmer and in no way for his personal use or convenience or the personal use and convenience of his family or any other person; provided, that such application shall contain a statement subscribed under penalties of perjury by such owner or controller to the effect that such motor vehicle or trailer is and will be operated or propelled only in the manner aforesaid; and provided further that if any such motor vehicle or trailer is operated or propelled otherwise than in the manner aforesaid, there shall be assessed and levied on such motor vehicle or trailer the excise imposed by this chapter, and a penalty of one hundred dollars, which excise and penalty shall be assessed by the assessors and collected by the collectors of taxes, nor shall such excise be abated by reason of any subsequent transfer of such motor vehicle or trailer. If no application for exemption is filed with the assessors as aforesaid, any motor vehicle or trailer owned or controlled by a manufacturer and operated or propelled under a general distinguishing number or mark issued to such manufacturer shall be subject to the excise imposed by this chapter, which excise shall be assessed by the assessors and collected by the collectors of taxes.

The excise imposed by this section shall not apply to motor vehicles leased for a full calendar year to a charitable organization when such vehicle is owned and registered by a lessor engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles. In any city or town which accepts the provisions of this sentence, by a vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in a town, by a vote of the town meeting, and in a municipality having a town council form of government, by a vote of the town council. The excise tax imposed by this section shall not apply to a motor vehicle owned and registered by a former prisoner of war defined as any regularly appointed, enrolled, enlisted, or inducted member of the military forces of the United States who was captured, separated and incarcerated by an enemy of the United States during an armed conflict; provided, however, that the excise tax shall not apply to a motor vehicle owned and registered by the surviving spouse of a deceased former prisoner of war, until such time as the surviving spouse remarries or fails to renew such registration. As used herein, the term “charitable organization” means an organization, other than a degree granting or diploma awarding educational institution, whose personal property is exempt from taxation under clause Third of section five of chapter fifty-nine.

The excise imposed by this section shall not apply to a motor vehicle owned and registered by a veteran, as defined in section 7 of chapter 4, who according to the records of the United States Veterans Administration, by reason of service in the armed forces of the United States, has suffered loss, or permanent loss of use of, one or both feet, or loss, or permanent loss of use of, one or both hands, or has been determined by the medical advisory board established under section 8C of chapter 90 to be permanently disabled; nor to a motor vehicle owned and registered by a veteran, as defined in section 7 of chapter 4, who is receiving a statutory award from the Veterans Administration for the loss of sight of one eye or who according to the records of the United States Veterans Administration, by reason of service in the armed forces of the United States, has suffered permanent impairment of vision of both eyes of the following status: central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, with corrective glasses, or central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than twenty degrees in the better eye; nor to a motor vehicle owned and registered to any person who has suffered loss, or permanent loss of use of, both legs or both arms; nor to a motor vehicle owned and registered to any person who has suffered permanent impairment of vision of both eyes of the following status: central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, with corrective glasses, or central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than twenty degrees in the better eye. This exemption shall apply to not more than one motor vehicle owned and registered for the personal, noncommercial use of such veteran or person. After the assessors have allowed an exemption under this paragraph no further evidence of the existence of the facts required by this paragraph shall be required in any subsequent year in the city or town in which the exemption has been so allowed; provided, however, that the assessors may refuse to allow an exemption in any subsequent year if they become aware that the veteran or person did not satisfy all of the requisites of this section at the time the exemption was first granted.

In any city or town accepting the provisions of this paragraph, the excise imposed by this chapter shall not apply to a motor vehicle owned and registered by a resident who is in active and full-time military service as a member in the armed forces of the United States or the national guard, army or air, of any state, and has been deployed or stationed outside the territorial boundaries of the continental United States for a period of at least 45 days in the calendar year of the exemption. If the military member is wounded or killed in an armed conflict, he shall not be subject to the foregoing period of service qualification for the calendar year in which he is wounded or killed. This exemption shall apply only to a motor vehicle owned and registered by a military member in his own name or jointly with a spouse for a non-commercial purpose and a military member may qualify for this exemption for only 1 motor vehicle for each calendar year. A municipality which accepts the provisions of this paragraph shall, in connection with the issuance of warrant to collect unpaid motor vehicle or trailer excise tax from a delinquent taxpayer, add $3 to the fee prescribed in clause 9 of section 15 of chapter 60. The acceptance by a municipality of this paragraph shall take effect on the first day of January next occurring after the approval by the municipality to accept this paragraph.

A person who qualifies for any calendar year for exemption from the excise imposed by this section on a motor vehicle owned and registered by him shall be entitled to the exemption upon application to the assessors for that year as provided in section 2 for the procedure of an owner aggrieved by the excise assessed. An application for exemption may be made by such person; his spouse, if the motor vehicle is jointly owned and registered in the names of the person and spouse; or, if the person is deceased, a surviving spouse, administrator, executor or trustee of the estate, will or trust, as the case may be.

If a motor vehicle or trailer is originally registered after January thirty-first in any year, the excise under this section shall be that proportion of the excise for the full year which the number of months in said year following the month preceding that in which the motor vehicle or trailer is registered bears to twelve; but no excise shall be assessed on the same motor vehicle or trailer more than once in any calendar year by reason of the renewal of the registration of such vehicle within the calendar year, unless its ownership is transferred by sale or otherwise and its registration surrendered or it is registered after a surrender or expiration of registration upon removal of its owner to another state and registration in such other state. If during any calendar year ownership of a motor vehicle or trailer subject to an excise under this section is transferred by sale or otherwise and the registration of such motor vehicle or trailer is surrendered, or if during any calendar year the owner of a motor vehicle or trailer subject to such an excise removes to another state and registers such motor vehicle or trailer in such other state and surrenders or does not renew his registration in this state, the excise under this section shall be reduced upon application by an abatement equal to that proportion of an excise under this section on such motor vehicle or trailer for the full calendar year which the number of months in said year remaining after the month in which such transfer by sale or otherwise or such surrender or expiration of registration occurs bears to twelve; provided, however, that if in the month in which such transfer by sale or otherwise occurs, the person making such transfer registers another motor vehicle or trailer under chapter ninety and thereby becomes subject to an excise under this section on such other motor vehicle or trailer for such month, the excise under this section on the motor vehicle or trailer transferred shall be further reduced upon application as aforesaid by an abatement equal to one twelfth of a full calendar year’s excise under this section on the motor vehicle or trailer transferred. If before an excise imposed under this section is assessed, notice of transfer by sale or otherwise and surrender of registration or of surrender or expiration of registration as aforesaid is received by the official or officials authorized to make the assessment, the excise shall be assessed in the amount to which it would be reduced by abatement as aforesaid. The excise imposed by this section shall in no event be less than five dollars; no abatement under this section shall reduce any such excise to less than five dollars; no abatement shall be granted in an amount less than five dollars; and no refund shall be paid in an amount less than five dollars.

The excise imposed by this section shall not apply to the registration by an inhabitant of any state other than this commonwealth or by a partnership, voluntary association or corporation which does not have a principal place of business in this commonwealth, of any motor vehicle or trailer to be customarily kept in another state; provided, such motor vehicle or trailer is also registered in such other state during the period when registered in this commonwealth, and if such other state does not impose an excise, privilege or property tax or fee in lieu of or in addition to a registration fee, or does not impose a registration fee at a rate greater than that required for registration in this commonwealth, upon motor vehicles or trailers, as the case may be, customarily kept in this commonwealth and registered by an inhabitant of this commonwealth, or by a partnership, voluntary association or corporation having its principal place of business in this commonwealth. The commissioner shall determine what states do not impose such additional excise, privilege or property tax or fee, or registration fee or fee in lieu of such levies and his determination shall be final.

If a motor vehicle or trailer is stolen, the owner of such motor vehicle or trailer may apply for an abatement of excise, provided:

(1) The owner of the stolen vehicle or trailer has notified the local police authorities of the theft within forty-eight hours of discovery of the theft.

(2) The owner of the stolen motor vehicle or trailer has surrendered the certificate of registration of the stolen motor vehicle or trailer and has obtained a certificate, setting forth the facts, and signed by the registrar of motor vehicles or his authorized agent. Such surrender shall not be made sooner than thirty days subsequent to the date of the theft.

The excise may then be reduced by an abatement equal to that proportion of an excise under this section on such motor vehicle or trailer for the full calendar year which the number of months in said year remaining after the month in which such surrender of the certificate of registration occurs bears to twelve; provided, however, that should the motor vehicle or trailer be subsequently recovered and registered in the same calendar year by the same owner an additional excise which shall be that proportion of the excise for the full year which the number of months in said year following the month preceding that in which the motor vehicle or trailer is registered bears to twelve, shall be paid, notwithstanding any provisions of this section to the contrary. The commissioner or the assessors, as the case may be, may require that the owner of the stolen motor vehicle or trailer exhibit the certificate of surrender of registration and provide them with a written statement from the local police authorities certifying that such authorities were notified of the theft and that the stolen motor vehicle or trailer has not been recovered.

Whoever falsely reports the theft of a motor vehicle or trailer for the purposes of securing an abatement of excise shall forfeit a sum not larger than three times the excise due on the vehicle for the entire year, such sum to be recovered in a civil action brought by the city or town to which the excise was payable.