Excise on Motor Vehicles and Trailers

SECTION 44-34-2

§ 44-34-2. Assessment – Valuation – Proration – Abatement and cancellation – Exemptions from tax.

(a) Except as provided in this section, the tax assessors of each city and town shall assess and levy in each calendar year on every vehicle and trailer registered under chapter 3 of title 31, for the privilege of the registration, an excise measured by its value, as subsequently defined and determined. For the purpose of this excise, the uniform value of each vehicle shall be determined in accordance with the regulations of the vehicle value commission. Any vehicle that is more than fifteen (15) years old, whether or not the vehicle is an antique motor car as defined in § 31-1-3(a), shall be deemed to possess an average retail value of five hundred dollars ($500). The assessor may waive the excise tax on any vehicle where the annual levy would be less than five dollars ($5.00). The state shall not provide reimbursement for any waiver.

(b) Vehicle and trailer excises shall be prorated over the calendar year prior to the year in which the excises are levied and billed, that year being referred to as the calendar year of proration.

(c) The excise levy on every vehicle and trailer registered under chapter 3 of title 31 shall be based on the ratio that the number of days the vehicle or trailer is registered is to the number of days in the calendar year of proration.

(d) If during the calendar year of proration, the owner of a vehicle or trailer subject to the excise moves permanently with his or her vehicle to another state and cancels his or her registration in this state and returns the registration plates, the vehicle shall be exempt from excise for the ensuing year.

(e) "Year of manufacture" as used in this section means the year used by the manufacturer of the vehicle or trailer in connection with the designation by the manufacturer of the model of the vehicle or trailer. Where the presumptive price of a vehicle or trailer is not readily obtainable, or special equipment is installed on the vehicle or trailer, the tax assessor shall prescribe the retail price to be used or the manner in which the retail price shall be determined. In making the determination of the presumptive price, the tax assessor shall determine the retail price of the vehicle and then apply the percentage corresponding with the appropriate fiscal year as specified in § 44-34-11(c)(1)(iii).

(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any city or town council from granting an abatement, in whole or in part, when there is an error in the assessment of a tax, and the tax assessors have certified to the fact, in writing, to the city or town council to cancel taxes stating the nature of the error, the valuation of the vehicle or trailer, the amount of the assessed tax, and the name of the person to whom the vehicle or trailer was taxed.

(g) The city or town council may cancel, in whole or in part, an excise tax assessed to a person who has died leaving no estate, or a person who has moved from the state, and the tax collector or person acting in the capacity of tax collector certifies to the city or town council the facts of the case.

(h) The excise imposed by this section shall not apply to vehicles or trailers owned by the state of Rhode Island or any of its political subdivisions, or to vehicles or trailers owned by a corporation, association, or other organization whose tangible personal property is exempt under §§ 44-3-3(a)(1) – (a)(15), or to vehicles assessed and taxed under § 44-13-13, or those owned by the United States government. Farm vehicles shall be exempt to the extent prescribed in § 44-5-42.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 341, § 3; P.L. 1982, ch. 121, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 255, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 339, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 381, art. I, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 415, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 65, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 654, § 2; P.L. 1998, ch. 31, art. 28, § 2; P.L. 2000, ch. 55, art. 19, § 2; P.L. 2004, ch. 6, § 23; P.L. 2005, ch. 117, art. 17, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 302, art. 11, § 2.)