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Section 5 Registrations

The RMV's Section 5 Division gets its name from the statutory section number in chapter 90 of the Massachusetts General Laws that deals with "General Registrations," (Dealers, Repairers, Owner-Contractors, Farmers and Transporters). The actual law is Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 5 but is often cited in print as MGL c.90, §5.
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Table of Contents

Section 5 registration renewal

In order to complete your renewal, please provide all of the following in the same envelope:

  • The signed registration application, stamped by your insurance agent
  • The completed compliance letter (if applicable)
  • Copy of current dealer license (if applicable)
  • The appropriate fee

See the RMV's forms and applications.

Additional Resources

Section 5 plates

A "Dealer" is defined as any person who is engaged principally and substantially in the business of buying, selling, or exchanging motor vehicles, trailers, or motor vehicle bodies and maintains a facility dedicated to carrying out said business and except for a person who exchanges such vehicles on a wholesale basis, is open to the public.

Dealer plates

A Dealer plate may be issued by the Registrar to a person who is a licensed motor vehicle dealer and who qualifies under Chapter 90, Section 5 and under the RMV's regulations. Licensed motor vehicle dealers who do not maintain the required facility dedicated to carrying out said business will not qualify. Recreational Vehicle Dealers, Recreational Trailer Dealers, Boat Dealers and Boat Trailer Dealers may qualify for a Dealer plate under separate standards.

Timeline

The complete process should take no more than 10-16 weeks from submitting the application to receiving plates. A site visit by the State Police Compliance Unit is required to help determine an applicants qualifications.

  • Once your application is received, all supporting documents are reviewed for accuracy.
  • Within 1 week from the date of review, your paperwork is forwarded to the State Police Compliance Unit.
  • You will receive a letter from the RMV Section 5 Division informing you that the application has been received and accepted. This letter includes an investigation number. Use this specific number for all correspondence/inquiries throughout this process.
  • If your application is not accepted, you will be notified, via mail indicating the reason for rejection.
  • The State Police will make no more than 3 attempts to conduct an investigation. If you receive a message from the State Police, call them back immediately. If the investigation has not been conducted after 3 attempts, your application will be rejected and you will need to reapply.
  • Ensure you have reviewed the list of General Requirements and have met all the guidelines. The list of General Requirements is provided with the application, and also sent with your application acceptance letter.
  • Within 2-3 weeks of the inspection date, you will receive a Registration Application Card at your business address if the site inspection has been acceptable and your application approved by the Registrar. This card requires an Insurance stamp.
  • Once you return the stamped card, and pay the appropriate fees, you will be issued a General Registration and plate(s). This process can be completed either in person at 25 Newport Avenue Extension, Quincy Headquarters, or by mail.

Owner-contractor, any person who is not a manufacturer, dealer or repairman who owns a fleet of ten or more vehicles, trailers, special mobile equipment, mobile construction cranes or combination thereof, which is used or leased exclusively by him in his principal business and who maintains an establishment with facilities for the repair, alteration or equipment of such vehicles or trailers.

Owner-Contractor plates

An Owner-Contractor plate is issued to allow construction contractors to move self-propelled construction equipment on the roads.

Timeline

The complete process should take no more than 10-16 weeks from submitting the application to receiving plates. A site visit by the State Police Compliance Unit is required to help determine an applicants qualifications.

  • Once your application is received, all supporting documents are reviewed for accuracy.
  • Within 1 week from the date of review, your paperwork is forwarded to the State Police Compliance Unit.
  • You will receive a letter from the RMV Section 5 Division informing you that the application has been received and accepted. This letter includes an investigation number. Use this specific number for all correspondence/inquiries throughout this process.
  • If your application is not accepted, you will be notified, via mail indicating the reason for rejection.
  • The State Police will make no more than 3 attempts to conduct an investigation. If you receive a message from the State Police, call them back immediately. If the investigation has not been conducted after 3 attempts, your application will be rejected and you will need to reapply.
  • Ensure you have reviewed the list of General Requirements and have met all the guidelines. The list of General Requirements is provided with the application, and also sent with your application acceptance letter.
  • Within 2-3 weeks of the inspection date, you will receive a Registration Application Card at your business address if the site inspection has been acceptable and your application approved by the Registrar. This card requires an Insurance stamp.
  • Once you return the stamped card, and pay the appropriate fees, you will be issued a General Registration and plate(s). This process can be completed either in person at 25 Newport Avenue Extension, Quincy Headquarters, or by mail.

 

Transporter, any person principally and substantially engaged in the business of transporting or delivering motor vehicles under their own power not owned by him and who possesses a valid license for said business issued by the Department of Public Utilities, or any person or agent thereof, licensed to engage in the business of financing the purchase of or insuring motor vehicles who is required to take into possession such motor vehicles by foreclosure or subrogation of title.

Transporter plates

A Transporter plate is issued to allow a transporter the ability to transport self propelling vehicles on the road.

Timeline

The complete process should take no more than 10-16 weeks from submitting the application to receiving plates. A site visit by the State Police Compliance Unit is required to help determine an applicants qualifications.

  • Once your application is received, all supporting documents are reviewed for accuracy.
  • Within 1 week from the date of review, your paperwork is forwarded to the State Police Compliance Unit.
  • You will receive a letter from the RMV Section 5 Division informing you that the application has been received and accepted. This letter includes an investigation number. Use this specific number for all correspondence/inquiries throughout this process.
  • If your application is not accepted, you will be notified, via mail indicating the reason for rejection.
  • The State Police will make no more than 3 attempts to conduct an investigation. If you receive a message from the State Police, call them back immediately. If the investigation has not been conducted after 3 attempts, your application will be rejected and you will need to reapply.
  • Ensure you have reviewed the list of General Requirements and have met all the guidelines. The list of General Requirements is provided with the application, and also sent with your application acceptance letter.
  • Within 2-3 weeks of the inspection date, you will receive a Registration Application Card at your business address if the site inspection has been acceptable and your application approved by the Registrar. This card requires an Insurance stamp.
  • Once you return the stamped card, and pay the appropriate fees, you will be issued a General Registration and plate(s). This process can be completed either in person at 25 Newport Avenue Extension, Quincy Headquarters, or by mail.

 

Farmer, a person substantially engaged in the occupation of farming which shall include, but not be limited to, farming in all its branches, the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural, aquacultural, floricultural or horticultural commodities, the growing and harvesting of forest products upon forest land, the raising of livestock including horses, the keeping of horses as a commercial enterprise, the keeping and raising of poultry, swine, cattle and other domesticated animals used for food purposes, bees, fur-bearing animals, and any forestry or lumbering operations, performed by a farmer engaged in agriculture or farming as herein defined, or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations including, but not limited to, preparations for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market.

Farm plates

Farm plates are issued to allow the farmer to operate farm equipment on the roads, while moving the equipment from one part of the farm to another.

Timeline

The complete process should take no more than 10-16 weeks from submitting the application to receiving plates. A site visit by the State Police Compliance Unit is required to help determine an applicants qualifications.

  • Once your application is received, all supporting documents are reviewed for accuracy.
  • Within 1 week from the date of review, your paperwork is forwarded to the State Police Compliance Unit.
  • You will receive a letter from the RMV Section 5 Division informing you that the application has been received and accepted. This letter includes an investigation number. Use this specific number for all correspondence/inquiries throughout this process.
  • If your application is not accepted, you will be notified, via mail indicating the reason for rejection.
  • The State Police will make no more than 3 attempts to conduct an investigation. If you receive a message from the State Police, call them back immediately. If the investigation has not been conducted after 3 attempts, your application will be rejected and you will need to reapply.
  • Ensure you have reviewed the list of General Requirements and have met all the guidelines. The list of General Requirements is provided with the application, and also sent with your application acceptance letter.
  • Within 2-3 weeks of the inspection date, you will receive a Registration Application Card at your business address if the site inspection has been acceptable and your application approved by the Registrar. This card requires an Insurance stamp.
  • Once you return the stamped card, and pay the appropriate fees, you will be issued a General Registration and plate(s). This process can be completed either in person at 25 Newport Avenue Extension, Quincy Headquarters, or by mail.

Repairman, any person who is principally and substantially engaged in the business of repairing, altering, reconditioning, equipping or towing motor vehicles or trailers for the public and who maintains an established place of business, as defined in this section.

Repair plates

A Repair plate is issued to a repair shop to allow the repairer to drive unregistered vehicles on the road for testing.

Timeline

The complete process should take no more than 10-16 weeks from submitting the application to receiving plates. A site visit by the State Police Compliance Unit is required to help determine an applicants qualifications.

  • Once your application is received, all supporting documents are reviewed for accuracy.
  • Within 1 week from the date of review, your paperwork is forwarded to the State Police Compliance Unit.
  • You will receive a letter from the RMV Section 5 Division informing you that the application has been received and accepted. This letter includes an investigation number. Use this specific number for all correspondence/inquiries throughout this process.
  • If your application is not accepted, you will be notified, via mail indicating the reason for rejection.
  • The State Police will make no more than 3 attempts to conduct an investigation. If you receive a message from the State Police, call them back immediately. If the investigation has not been conducted after 3 attempts, your application will be rejected and you will need to reapply.
  • Ensure you have reviewed the list of General Requirements and have met all the guidelines. The list of General Requirements is provided with the application, and also sent with your application acceptance letter.
  • Within 2-3 weeks of the inspection date, you will receive a Registration Application Card at your business address if the site inspection has been acceptable and your application approved by the Registrar. This card requires an Insurance stamp.
  • Once you return the stamped card, and pay the appropriate fees, you will be issued a General Registration and plate(s). This process can be completed either in person at 25 Newport Avenue Extension, Quincy Headquarters, or by mail.

 

Lost plates

If you lose a Section 5 plate, please complete the Application for Replacement Section 5 Plates.

If you need a temporary plate:

  • Complete the application
  • Bring it to the RMV Quincy Headquarters located at 25 Newport Ave Ext (4th floor)
  • Submit the application with the Master Registration and a $10.00 fee (payable in check or money order only)
  • You will receive a temporary plate in hand that day
  • The actual replacement plate will be mailed to you in 10-12 days

Once you receive the replacement plate, you need to return the temporary plate either in person or by mail to:

RMV - Section 5
25 Newport Ave. Ext.
4th Floor
Quincy, MA 02171

If you do not require a temporary plate, please submit your application, Master Registration, and $10.00 fee to any local RMV Service Center.

 

Additional Resources

Excise tax bills for Section 5 registrations

Every Section 5 registrant receives an excise tax bill. The formula used for the assessment is based upon the provisions of Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 60A, Section 1.

Repair, Owner-Contractor, and Farmers Excise Information

A Repair, Owner-Contractor or Farmer has the ability to attach its Section 5 plate to a vehicle that has been identified from a list of Compliance decals. As stated earlier, the Compliance decal is issued to a specific vehicle only when the RMV is satisfied that the sale tax and vehicle title requirements are met. The compliance decal information is used to generate the excise tax bill information. The RMV sends an excise report to the town in mid April for these Section 5 registrants. The bills are payable directly to the city or town.

Dealer Excise Tax Information

A separate excise tax law applies to "dealers." A motor vehicle dealer to whom a Section 5 registration has been issued shall, for the privilege of such registration, pay to the collector of taxes for the city or town in which such dealership is licensed, a special excise in the amount of $100.00 for each registration plate. The RMV sends a report to the town in late May for these Section 5 registrants. The bills are payable directly to the city or town.

Section 5 Registration Non-Renew Status

To ensure that all registrants comply with the non-renew law, the Section 5 Division can administratively place Section 5 registrations in non-renew status when this division is notified by a tax collector that a Section 5 registrant has overdue unpaid excise taxes.

The following events place a Section 5 registration in non-renew status:

  • The tax collector in the city/town where the registration holder's business is located, completes a Tax Collector's Notice of Excise Tax Delinquency by General Registration Holder form.
  • The tax collector mails the completed form, with a letter on official stationary of the municipality or the tax collector, to the RMV's Section 5 Division.
  • The Section 5 Division places the registration in an administrative non-renew status and forwards a copy of the form to the registration holder notifying him / her of the non-renew status.
  • The registration holder also is sent a letter notifying him/her of:
    • The amount owed to the tax collector
    • The amount owed to the Registry
    • How and where the registration holder can make this payment

Note: A Section 5 registrant who fails to pay a required excise tax may be placed in non-renewal status by the Registrar. For additional information regarding Excise Tax, including possible exemptions, please see: www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/60a-1.htm

Mass General Laws and CMRs

Massachusetts General Laws Annotated (MGLA) Chapter 90 §5 states:

General registrations; general registration number plates; eligibility

(a) The registrar may issue general registrations and general registration number plates in such form as he determines to any person engaged in the following occupations who meet the eligibility requirements stated in this chapter and the rules and regulations of the registry of motor vehicles:

  • manufacturer
  • dealer
  • repairman
  • recreational vehicle and recreational trailer dealer
  • boat and boat trailer dealer
  • farmer
  • owner-contractor
  • transporter
  • person involved in the harvesting of forest products as defined by the regulations of the registry of motor vehicles

(b) No person shall be eligible for a general registration and general registration number plates unless said person holds the necessary license or permit required by any federal, state or local law for engaging in said occupation, and provides truthful and complete information in the application for general registrations and number plates in the form prescribed by the registrar.

(c) Unless prohibited by this chapter or any rule or regulation of the registry, any motor vehicle or trailer owned or controlled by any person who has been issued a general distinguishing registration number which properly displays the valid corresponding general registration number plate shall be regarded as registered under this chapter; provided however, that no motor vehicle or trailer so registered shall be loaned or let for hire for more than five consecutive days.

(d) An owner-contractor who has received a general registration and number plate may only operate or tow the following vehicles or trailers with said registration and number plate:

  • Any special mobile equipment as defined in section one;
  • A mobile construction crane as defined in said section one; and
  • Any other motor vehicle or trailer authorized by the rules and regulations of the registry.

A dealer in recreational vehicles and recreational vehicle trailers or a dealer in boats and boat trailers who has received such a registration and plate may only operate with said registration trailers owned by him and held for sale and demonstration.

A farmer who has received such a registration and plate may only operate or tow a vehicle or trailer under said registration and plate principally used for and dedicated to carrying on a farm related activity. Such registration and plate may not be used on a passenger motor vehicle.

A transporter, as defined in section one, who has received such a registration and plate may only operate with said registration a motor vehicle or trailer not owned by him and only in the course of such business.

(e) Except for a dealer, any person who owns a motor vehicle or trailer registered for operation with a general registration issued under this section shall apply to the registrar for a sticker or decal which indicates that said owner has complied with the requirements of chapters sixty-four H, sixty-four I and ninety D, with respect to each motor vehicle or trailer so registered.

(f) The registrar may make rules and regulations relative to the issuance, use and display of general registration numbers, number plates and stickers or decals issued under this section. The registrar shall prescribe the form of a written voucher document which shall be carried on the person of any operator of a motor vehicle. A copy of said voucher shall be retained by said dealer on the licensed premises.

(g) Whoever makes a false statement in an application for a general registration and number plate shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not less than thirty days nor more than two years.

(h) In addition to any penalty provided by law, the registrar may suspend or revoke, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, any general registration or number plate if he has reason to believe that the holder thereof has violated the provisions of this section or the rules and regulations of the registry made pursuant hereto.

540 CMR 18: Minimum standards for the issuance and use of general registrations and general registration number plates issued under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 90, § 5

 

Compliance decals

Compliance decals are issued to Farm, Repair, and Owner Contractor plate holders only. The purpose of the Compliance decal is to provide evidence on the vehicle itself that a vehicle title has been obtained and the sales tax has been paid (if applicable).

Compliance with the decal requirement is a condition of being lawfully registered. A vehicle without the required decal is considered unregistered. There is an application process to apply for these decals. In order to qualify for a compliance decal, you must provide all vehicle title and sales tax information on the application. You should not attempt to apply for a compliance decal until you have completed the title process for all vehicles.

A Compliance Decal is not required for an "Implement of Husbandry" as defined in M.G.L. c.90D s.1 -- "Generally, Implements of Husbandry include vehicles or machines used directly and exclusively for agricultural production, such as tractors, plow, backhoes, baler, harrowers, harvester, manure spreaders, and seeder".

Address or name change

If you would like to request an address or name change, please complete the Name/Address Change Request form and fax or mail it with all supporting documents to the fax number or address below.

  • proof of Federal Tax ID number
  • copy of your new Dealer's License
  • Certificate of Business (if applicable)
  • Corporation Documentation (if applicable)

Mailing address:
Mass DOT - RMV Division
Section 5
P O BOX 55897
Boston, MA 02205

Section 5 phone: 857-368-8030
Section 5 fax: 857-368-0823

For address changes: In order to avoid non-compliance, please notify us in advance of the move, if possible, if not, you must notify us within 30 days after the relocation. Once your application is accepted, the State Police Compliance Unit will conduct an onsite inspection of the new premises. Normal turn around time is 6-8 weeks from application acceptance.

Contact

Online

More info

If your business is incorporated, contact the Secretary of State's Office for an updated copy of your articles of organization. You will also be required to submit an updated certificate of business and proof of your Federal Tax Id number (FID). Please fax a letter you updated copy of your articles of organization, a copy of your new certificate of business and proof of FID number to (857) 368-0824. The letter must include an explanation of your intentions. Please include your registration number and contact information.

If you are a sole proprietor and you are changing your business name, you first need to contact your city or town for an updated certificate of business. Please fax a letter of your intention and a copy of your new certificate of business, and proof of your Federal Tax Id Number (FID) to (857) 368-0824. Please include your registration number and contact information on the letter.

If you have extra plates or are looking to reduce the amount of plates you have, they can be returned to RMV Quincy Headquarters.You will then have to submit a copy of your return plate receipt to the Section Five Division of the RMV to reflect your registration status.

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