Sales and Use tax on boats, recreational off-highway vehicles, and snowmobiles

Learn if Sales or Use tax is due on your boat, recreational off-highway vehicle, or snowmobile. Learn how to file and pay Form ST-6 online with MassTaxConnect. Exempt Form ST-6E, abatement, and trailer information is also included.

Table of Contents

Overview

If a Massachusetts resident or a non-resident needs to register a boat, snowmobile, or any other recreational off-highway vehicle, they are required to show proof of payment of the Massachusetts Sales or Use tax as part of the application process.

Chapter 64H and Chapter 64I of Massachusetts General Laws state that Sales and Use tax is due on the following:

  • Motor Vehicles
  • Trailers
  • Boats (including documented boats)
  • Recreational off-highway vehicles and
  • Snowmobiles.

According to Chapter 64H and Chapter 64I, the Sales and Use tax is due by the 20th day of the month following the purchase, use, storage, or other consumption within Massachusetts.

If you make your purchase outside of Massachusetts and bring it into Massachusetts within 6 months for use, storage or other consumption, a Use tax is due by the 20th day of the following month when your purchase entered Massachusetts.

For example, if you purchased a boat in New Hampshire on January 1st and brought it into Massachusetts on June 30th of that same year, a Use tax would be due by July 20th.

The 6 months rule is rebuttable depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular purchase, and a Use tax may be owed if the boat is brought to Massachusetts more than 6 months after its out-of-state purchase. Please see Directive 87-3.


Please note:

General Laws: Chapter 64H and Chapter 64I also apply to:

  • Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard 
  • Boats purchased/registered in another state which have been brought into Massachusetts within 6 months for use.


Keep in mind:

  • Property does not need to be used exclusively or even primarily in Massachusetts to be considered purchased for use within the Commonwealth. Visit Directive 87-3 for more information. 
  • Generally, if you paid a Sales tax of 6.25% or more to another state, you would not have to pay a Use tax to Massachusetts. See TIR 03-1 for more information.
  • If you paid less than a 6.25% Sales tax to another state and registered your purchase with that state, you would owe the difference to Massachusetts, if your purchase was brought into Massachusetts for use within 6 months.

Pay Sales or Use tax with the Form ST-6 via MassTaxConnect

If not collected by a registered boat, recreational off-highway vehicle or snowmobile dealer, a purchaser must file and pay a Sales or Use tax with Form ST-6: Certificate of Payment of Sales or Use Tax for Boat, Recreation or Snow Vehicle.

MassTaxConnect is the recommended ST-6 filing and paying method. It's fast, easy and secure. 

MassTaxConnect ST-6 filers immediately receive a receipt once you have paid your Sales or Use tax. This receipt is required when you register with the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and Snowmobile Registration Bureau.


If filing the ST-6 with MassTaxConnect, you will need:

  • Seller name and address: if the address is unknown, please type in "Unknown."
  • Bank routing number (first series of numbers in the bottom left-hand corner of a check) and Account number (second series of numbers at the bottom of a check).
    — You cannot pay Sales or Use tax with a credit card with MTC.
    — The funds will automatically be withdrawn from your bank account
  • Vehicle information:
    — Description of vehicle 
    — Date of sale
    — Gross sale price, serial number (also known as a VIN) and
    — Engine size
    — Boat length and mooring location (boats only).


Keep in mind with MassTaxConnect:

  • If you purchased a recreational off-highway vehicle from a dealer and paid the tax, you can't use MassTaxConnect to get a copy of your receipt.
    — Please contact the dealer for a copy if one wasn't provided to you at the time of your purchase or you misplaced your original copy.
  • MassTaxConnect doesn't accept punctuation marks (commas, periods, quotation marks, etc.) in most of the fields.
    — If you receive an error message, please remove the invalid character(s), identified in the message, from the field:
  • For your records first, print a copy of the confirmation page — then print two copies of the Form ST-6 receipt of payment
    — If you accidentally press the "Continue" button before printing your receipt, you can get copies of your receipt by selecting Find a submission on the MassTaxConnect home page under Quick Links
    — This option is available to you, only if you paid your Sales or Use tax using MassTaxConnect. You cannot obtain a reprint of your ST-6 receipt using MassTaxConnect if you filed a paper return.


Registered Dealers using MassTaxConnect:

  • Please be sure to select the "Is this application being prepared by a registered dealer?" option at the beginning.
  • Please don't complete an exempt form unless you are not collecting tax on the vehicle.


Please note:

If you do not have access to MassTaxConnect, you may print and fill out a Form ST-6, and present it with payment to one of DOR's District Counter Offices

If you can not get to a District Counter, you may mail your completed ST-6 with payment to:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Trustee Tax Bureau – Contact Center
200 Arlington St. 4th Floor
Chelsea, MA 02150

Remember: There is up to a 4-6 week wait to receive a receipt from DOR for a mailed-in Form ST-6 or Form ST-6E. As previously mentioned, this receipt is required when you register with the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and Snowmobile Registration Bureau.

File for an exemption with the Form ST-6E via MassTaxConnect

If you are exempt from paying a Sales or Use tax, you must file Form ST-6E: Claim for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for Boat, Recreation or Snow Vehicle

MassTaxConnect is the recommended ST-6E filing method. It's fast, easy and secure.

MassTaxConnect ST-6E filers immediately receive a receipt. This receipt is required when you register with the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and Snowmobile Registration Bureau.


If filing the ST-6E with MassTaxConnect, you will need:

  • Seller name and address: if the address is unknown, please type in "Unknown."
  • Vehicle information:
    — Description of vehicle 
    — Date of sale
    — Gross sale price, serial number (also known as a VIN) and
    — Engine size
    — Boat length and mooring location (boats only)


Keep in mind with MassTaxConnect:

  • All Form ST-6E filers are routinely subject to DOR audit review.
    — Particularly with respect to an exemption claimed for commercial fishing, you may be required to document that you derive income from commercial fishing and are reporting such income on the appropriate federal and state tax returns.
  • MassTaxConnect doesn't accept punctuation marks (commas, periods, quotation marks, etc.) in most of the fields.
    — If you receive an error message, please remove the invalid character(s), identified in the message, from the field:
  • For your records first, print a copy of the confirmation page, then print two copies of the Form ST-6E exemption receipt 
    — If you accidentally press the "Continue" button before printing your exemption receipt, you can obtain copies of your receipt by selecting Find a submission on the MassTaxConnect home page under Quick Links
    — This option is available to you, only if you filed an ST-6E using MassTaxConnect. You cannot obtain a reprint of your ST-6E receipt using MassTaxConnect if you filed a paper return.


Please note:

If you do not have access to MassTaxConnect you may print and fill out a Form ST-6E, and present it with payment to one of DOR's District Counter Offices

If you can not get to a District Counter you may mail your completed ST-6E to:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Trustee Tax Bureau – Contact Center
200 Arlington St. 4th Floor
Chelsea, MA 02150

When presenting or mailing a Form ST-6E, please be aware that:

  • All Form ST-6E filers (via printable form or MassTaxConnect) are routinely subject to DOR audit review.
    — Particularly with respect to an exemption claimed for commercial fishing, you may be required to document that you derive income from commercial fishing and are reporting such income on the appropriate federal and state tax returns.
  • There is up to a 4-6 week wait to receive a receipt from DOR for a mailed-in Form ST-6 or Form ST-6E. As previously mentioned, this receipt is required when you register with the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and Snowmobile Registration Bureau.

Registration

Before registering you must file and pay your Sales or Use tax on a boat, recreational off-highway vehicle or snowmobile.

Massachusetts General Laws require the registration of any boat, recreational off-highway vehicle or snowmobile in accordance with the provisions of the law (G.L. c. 90B) before use. The Massachusetts Environmental Police’s Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) and Snowmobile Registration Bureau is responsible for the registration of both boats and vehicles.

Generally, an owner needs to present the following types of documentation as part of their application to the Boat, OHV and Snowmobile Registration Bureau:

  • Copy of bill of sale
  • Copy of Form ST-6 (certificate of payment of Sales or Use tax) or
  • Copy of Form ST-6E (claim for exemption from Sales or Use tax)
  • Copy of the Massachusetts certificate of registration or title from the Registry of Motor Vehicles if the vehicle is currently or was previously registered; or
  • Copy of a previously issued certificate of registration from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Office of Law Enforcement (Boat, Off-Highway Vehicle, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau).

Filing an abatement

Most taxpayers are able to file an application for abatement online with MassTaxConnect. Be sure to include all supporting documents so your request can be acted on as quickly as possible. 

To submit an application for abatement online, look for “File a Dispute” under “I Want To” in your account for each tax type.

Filing electronically is always the quickest option but if you are not required to file electronically, you can mail a completed Form ABT.

You should consider filing an abatement if:

  • There was a rescission of sale (return) of your purchase
  • Your boat, off-highway recreational vehicle or snowmobile was acquired from a contest, drawing or raffle and the donor already had paid the Sales or Use tax
  • You received your boat, off-highway recreational vehicle or snowmobile as a gift
  • Your boat, off-highway recreational vehicle or snowmobile was transferred to you from a family member (parents, spouse or sibling only)
  • Your boat, off-highway recreational vehicle or snowmobile was transferred to you by intestacy, will or otherwise
  • Your boat, off-highway recreational vehicle or snowmobile was purchased outside of Mass. and you have fulfilled your tax obligation
  • You are requesting a reduction or the complete removal of penalties
  • You are disputing an assessment from an audit.

To learn more about the abatement process visit Amend your tax return or request an abatement of tax.

Trailer Sales and Use tax

Per General Laws, Chapter 64H, the law is the same for paying Sales or Use tax to the Commonwealth on the purchase of a trailer as it is for boats, off-highway recreational vehicles, and snowmobiles.

However, the method for paying is different as the ST-6 is not to be used for paying Sales or Use tax on a trailer.

Kindly visit the Motor Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Guide to learn more.

Contact

Tax Department 
Monday – Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Visit DOR Contact Us for other ways to communicate.

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