Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

A motor vehicle excise tax is imposed on every motor vehicle and trailer registered in the Commonwealth. This excise is imposed for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle; registering a motor vehicle automatically triggers the assessment of the excise.

The motor vehicle excise tax is assessed at a rate of 2.5% of taxable value ($25 per thousand dollar value). This value is set by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and tax bills are prepared by the Registry for issuance by the City. The City does NOT set the amount of your excise tax.

Your vehicle's value for excise purposes isn't the actual purchase price or "book value" of the vehicle; it's not based on the actual sales price or current market value. Instead, it's a percentage of the manufacturer's list price in the year of manufacture. You can read the Mass General Law regarding motor vehicle excise tax here.

The taxable value is adjusted each year in accordance with 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%

Excise Tax payments can be made online from your checking account or with a credit card (except those bills on warrant with the Deputy Collector, i.e., bills overdue for more than fourteen days).  Certain fees will apply to credit card transactions, while there is no charge to pay from your checking account.

Click here to go to the online payment screen.

Owners of vehicles registered as of January 1 can expect to receive a bill by March or April. A new registration normally produces a bill two to three 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 be followed soon thereafter 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 paying an excise tax. 

Vehicles registered for a portion of a calendar year are eligible for prorating based upon whole months. For new registrations, this occurs automatically. For cancelled or changed registrations, it is up to the owner to notify their local Board of Assessors. Once issued, a bill cannot be abated below $5 unless the registration date as of January 1 was erroneous, e.g., wrong place of garaging or ownership, or plate error.

If you think you are entitled to an adjustment, PLEASE PAY YOUR BILL FIRST then provide the Board of Assessors with the following documentation:

  • Vehicle is sold or traded: Bill of sale/trade in documentation and plate return receipt from the Registry of Motor Vehicles or new registration if plate is transferred to another vehicle.
  • Vehicle is stolen or total loss: Police report or insurance settlement letter and plate return receipt or C-19 Form (Affidavit of Lost or Stolen Plate from RMV).
  • Vehicle is junked or donated: Receipt from junk yard or charity and plate return receipt or C-19 Form or new registration if plate transferred.
  • Vehicle is returned (Lemon Law): Letter from dealer certifying return and plate return receipt or new registration if plate is transferred.
  • Moved from Greenfield but still live in Massachusetts: If you moved prior to January 1 of the bill year, furnish proof of change of address from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you moved after January 1 of the bill year, pay to City of Greenfield and change your address at the registry for future billing.
Please send information to:

City of Greenfield
Board of Assessors
14 Court Square
Greenfield, MA 01301

PLEASE NOTE: An application for abatement does not stay the collection of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax.  Timely payment within thirty days of the date of issue will avoid all interest and other charges and fees.  No abatement shall be granted for less than $5 and no bill can be reduced to less than $5.

For a motor vehicle excise abatement application, please click here.


The most common reason for a tax bill to be issued for a vehicle no longer on the road is the failure of the owner to return the plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles as required. If a vehicle no longer on the road retains the plate registration, the bill may not be abated until it is sold or junked.

The most common reason for a tax bill to be issued to a former place of residence is the failure to notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of the address change or the new place of garaging.

It is important to note that state law authorizes the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to suspend or revoke the license or registration of an operator or owner of a motor vehicle for failure to report within 30 days any change of name or address.


Questions regarding excise tax billing should be directed as follows:

For PAYMENTS, please call the Treasurer-Collector’s Office at 413-772-1567.

For ABATEMENTS, please call the Assessor’s Office at 413-772-1506 or check the abatements page.

For further information, click here to access the RMV's Motor Vehicle Excise Information Manual.