Boat Excise

In Massachusetts, all boats that are registered for operation are subject to an excise tax in the community in which the boat is habitually situated, moored or docked for the privilege of using the waterways. You should expect to receive excise tax bills for any boats moored, docked or sitting on a trailer in Orleans as of July 1st some time in September or October. Boat excise bills are not prorated on a monthly basis like motor vehicle excise bills; if you buy a boat and keep, moor or dock it in Orleans after July 1st, your boat will show up on our excise tax rolls the following year.

Our boat excise tax rolls are derived from forms of list, lists of active registrations sent to us by the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection's Boat Registration Bureau and the Town of Orleans' Harbormaster's annual docking and mooring lists. If you're not on one of these lists but you still keep your boat in Orleans, you should fill out State Form 2BE-1 and submit it to the Assessing office no later than August 1st.

Click here to download Form 2BE-1.

Boat excise tax is computed by multiplying your boat's value by a tax rate of $10 per $1,000 of value. Your boat's valuation is determined by the following schedule that is based on length and age.

Length of Vessel> 4 Years Old4 to 6 Years Old< 7 Years Old
Under 16'NO TAXNO TAXNO TAX
16' but less than 17.5'$1,500NO TAXNO TAX

17.5' but less than 20'

$3,000$2,000$1,500
20' but less than 22.5'$5,000$3,300$2,500
22.5' but less than 25'$7,500$5,000$3,800
25' but less than 27.5'$10,500$7,000$5,300
27.5' but less than 30'$14,000$9,300$7,000
30' but less than 35'$18,500$12,300$9,300
35' but less than 40'$24,000$16,000$12,000
40' but less than 50'$31,500$21,000$15,800
50' but less than 60'$41,000$27,300$20,500
Greater than 60'$50,000$33,000$24,800

Abatements

Click here to download a boat excise abatement application.

You may be eligible for an abatement on your bill if you sold your boat or moved your boat to another community. You would need to provide the following documents:

  • If you sold your boat, we need a copy of the boat's bill of sale.
  • If you moved your boat to another community, we need a copy of a paid excise bill from that community or proof that you have paid for a mooring for the boat there.

If you sold or moved the boat prior to July 1st, the bill will be abated in full. If you did so after July 1st, the bill will be prorated on a monthly basis down to a minimum of $5.

Failure to pay or abate an issued boat excise tax bill can prevent you from being able to renew your mooring, dockage or slip in Orleans, as well as prevent you from being able to purchase beach and transfer station stickers. If you get a boat excise bill in the mail that you think you do not owe, PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE IT! Contact the Assessing office immediately.

Exemptions

Boats under $10,000 in value that are used for commercial fishing are exempt from boat excise tax in Massachusetts. If you use your boat for commercial fishing, you should submit a Form 2BE-1 along with a copy of your Massachusetts Commercial Fishing License and the top page of your most recent Massachusetts state income tax return listing your profession as some form of commercial fishing to receive the exemption.