Motor Vehicle / Excise Taxes

General Overview


Massachusetts General Law


Under Massachusetts General Law (MGL) 60A, all residents who own a motor vehicle must pay an annual excise tax. The tax is generated by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) who then sends out billing information to the city or town's assessor. Monies are both collected and deposited into its respective municipality's general fund by the tax collector's office.


Amount Due


The amount due on an individual vehicle is contingent on the value set by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) with a minimum of $5. The formula used to calculate said amount is based off the manufacturer's list price and age of the vehicle. View the chart used by the RMV.

Paying Balance


According to MGL, excise bills must be mailed out 30 days before the due date, thus providing 30 days for the principal balance to be paid. The tax will be delivered to the same address that appears on the vehicle's registration. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to contact their local tax collector if they do not receive their bill. Under MGL Chapter 60A Section 2, failure to receive a bill is not a valid reason to waive any fees or interest. Therefore, it is imperative to inform the RMV of any address change.

Failure to Pay


Failure to pay a bill by the due date will result in a demand fee of $30. Further negligence may result in addition fees and interest. In addition, the registered owner will be marked at the RMV, preventing renewal of a license or registration.

How to Make a Payment


  • Payment by credit card or electronic check may be made online through Invoice Cloud.
  • Payment by credit card or electronic check may be made over the phone by calling 877-675-1669.
  • Payment by check or money order may be mailed to the Office of the City Treasurer. Please make sure to clearly indicate the bill number and property address. Please do not mail cash.
  • Payment by cash, check, or money order may be made in person at:
    Office of the City Treasurer in City Hall
    375 Merrimack Street
    1st Floor Room 30
    Lowell, MA 01852

Who to Contact with Questions


Any questions in regards to billing or adjustments should be directed to the Assessor's Office who may be reached at 978-674-4200.