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Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Abatement



An abatement is a reduction of your excise taxes. You can file a motor vehicle excise abatement for the following reasons:

(1) If your vehicle was traded, stolen, or sold during the year it was taxed and you canceled your registration

(2) If you moved to another state, registered your vehicle in the new state and canceled your Massachusetts registration

(3) If you canceled your registration in the year you were taxed

You must provide documentation for each of these reasons. Typically, the documentation must respond to: what happened to the vehicle (for example: bill of sale, insurance settlement letter) and what happened to the plate (plate return receipt or new registration form).

If you think that you are entitled to an adjustment of your excise bill, it is strongly recommended that you pay the bill in full, then file 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. Abatements can be handled through this online portal, however, the bill should be paid as assessed and a refund will follow if the abatement is granted.

Please follow this link https://taxpayer.justappraised.com/cambridgema to find your excise tax bill, using our service provider Just Appraised. Follow the instructions on the entry forms.  You are required to use license plate number, license number from your driver’s license and your last name for the automatic look-up feature.

Abatement deadline

Abatement applications must be received by the assessors within three years after the excise tax was due, or one year after it was paid, whichever is later. To preserve your right to appeal, you must file an abatement on time. By law, assessors may only act on late applications in limited circumstances where the excise is still unpaid and their decision in those cases is final.

Note: You are not entitled to an abatement if you (1) cancel your registration and retain ownership of the vehicle, or (2) move to another Massachusetts city or town, during the calendar year. Abatements are pro-rated monthly. The minimum tax is $5.00. An abatement of less than $5.00 cannot be granted.


Phone: 617-349-4343

Email: carexcisetaxabatement@cambridgema.gov


When do I file for Motor Vehicle abatement?

Abatement applications must be received by the Assessors within three years after the excise bill was due, or one year after it was paid, whichever was later.

What is the criteria for Motor vehicle abatement and what support material is needed?

  • Vehicle was Sold, Traded, or Junked: Bill of sale AND either a plate return receipt or new registration if plates were transferred.
  • Vehicle Stolen, or Total Loss: Insurance Company Settlement letter and C-19 form (Affidavit of Lost/Stolen plate from Registry of Motor Vehicles).
  • Moved to another city or town in MA prior to January 1 of the taxing year: Proof of residence as of Jan. 1. i.e. Coverage Selection Page from insurance company
  • Moved to another state or country: Dated copy of original registration from the new state or country and either a plate return receipt or a C-19 form from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

How is the Motor Excise Tax Abatement figured?

Abatement are pro-rated monthly. The minimum tax is $5. Therefore, an abatement amount of less than $5 cannot be granted.

Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 8:09 PM
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