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Excise Tax is an annual tax that must be paid prior to registering your vehicle. Except for a few statutory exemptions, all vehicles registered in the State of Maine are subject to the Excise Tax.
Excise Tax is defined by State Statute as a tax levied annually for the privilege of operating a motor vehicle or camper trailer on the public ways.
WHERE DO I PAY THE EXCISE TAX?
Excise Tax is paid at the local town office where the owner of the vehicle resides. When a vehicle needs to be registered, an excise tax is collected prior to the registration.
HOW MUCH IS THE EXCISE TAX?
The amount of tax is determined by two things:
- The age of the vehicle
- MSRP (manufactured suggested retail price)
HOW IS THE EXCISE TAX CALCULATED?
Excise Tax is calculated by multiplying the MSRP by the mil rate as shown below. The rates drop back on January 1 st of each year.
YEAR 1 .0240 mil rate
YEAR 2 .0175 mil rate
YEAR 3 .0135 mil rate
YEAR 4 .0100 mil rate
YEAR 5 .0065 mil rate
YEAR 6 .0040 mil rate
For example, a 3 year old car with an MSRP of $19,500 would pay $263.25.
WHERE DOES THE EXCISE TAX GO?
The town that collects the excise tax can use it as revenue towards the annual town budget. Typically, the revenue is spent on local road maintenance, construction and repair.
WHY IS THE TAX BASED ON MSRP?
Excise Tax was designed with equity in mind. In 1925, this tax was enacted as a Maine Law. At that time, the Legislature decided that the fairest tax assessment would be based on what the manufacturer suggests it sell for.
This law remained in effect for over 75 years to ensure that everyone who drives the same vehicle pay the same amount of tax.
WHERE CAN A TOWN GET THE MSRP?
There are several resources for the MSRP that will provide the information on the retail price of a vehicle. New vehicles are required to have a window sticker that must be must be presented on first time registrations.
For used cars, one can use the NADA Guide , the New Car Cost Guide , the Automobile Red Book and the Automobile Blue Book .
Many towns have adopted the software based on the Red Book and can actually use the VIN number in order to get the MSRP of that vehicle.
PLEASE NOTE: The State of Maine Property Tax Division only provides quotes to the Municipal Tax Collector, not to individuals.
For more information see Title 36 Section 1482 or Bulletin Number 13