All water craft vessels, including documented boats and ships, used or capable of being used for transportation on water (includes all equipment, furnishings, mod of power, etc.) shall be assessed an excise tax for the privilege of using the waterways. A tax rate of $10.00 per thousand dollars of value shall be assessed on July 1st annually by the community where the boat is habitually moored, docked or principally situated for the summer season. In the case of more than one municipality having a share of a harbor, the excise shall be paid to the community that maintains the portion of the harbor in which the boat is moored or docked. Bills are payable within 60 days from the bill date. The Deputy Collector issues and collects the Boat Excise for the City of Salem; however, current boat excise bills can be paid at the Collector’s Office during regular business hours, but must be paid by closing time on the due date.
Excise tax bills should not be ignored. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60, Section 3 states than failure to receive a tax bill does not relieve the customer from the obligation of paying the tax, plus any interest and/or penalties which may accrue on the unpaid bill. The liability for the tax remains unless the bill is either paid or abated. If there is a question about an abatement, contact the Assessor’s Office immediately to have the problem resolved. Should there be a delay in the granting of an abatement, it is wiser to pay the bill and receive a refund than to let the bill remain unpaid. Delinquent excise bills can accrue considerable charges and fees. For more information on Boat Excise Tax, or to inquire about tax abatements, please contact the Assessor’s Office.