Baystate Basics: Helpful Information
Voter RegistrationIf you are a U.S. citizen, a Massachusetts resident and you will be 18 years old on or before election day, you may register to vote at any city or town hall in person, or by mail, by contacting any city or town clerk’s office. Social service, welfare, Registry of Motor Vehicle offices, and offices providing services for the disabled also have walk-in registration services available. Colleges, universities, high schools and vocational schools will have registration availability for enrolled students. Registration in Massachusetts is permanent, but you must register again if you move or change your name.
Motor Vehicle RegistrationMassachusetts residents are required to register their cars. You may do so at any branch office of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Proof of ownership must be presented, in the form of the title to your car. If you come from a state which does not require titles, a bill of sale or a past registration will be accepted. Prior to registering your car, you will also need insurance certification issued by a licensed Massachusetts insurance company, indicating that your car is insured in accordance with Massachusetts laws. Registration cost is $36.00 for two years.
Within seven days after registering your car in Massachusetts, you must have it inspected at any gas station or automobile repair shop which has been certified by the Registry of Motor Vehicles as an official inspection station. An inspection maintenance program requires both a yearly safety and emissions level inspection of motor vehicles. The fee for a combined safety and emissions inspection or a safety only inspection is $29.00.
Tax StructurePersonal Income Tax 5.2%
Capital Gains Income Tax 12%
Sales and Use Tax 6.25%
Meals Tax (varies by community) 6.25-7%
Automobile Excise Tax $25/$1,000
Massachusetts Department of Revenue51 Sleeper Street
Boston, MA 02205
Consumer ProtectionIf you have a complaint involving the purchase and/or sale of goods and services in a private transaction, you can contact the local consumer council in your city or town. Call Citizen Information Service for locations at (800) 392-6090 (in Massachusetts only, TTY also). If your city or town does not have a consumer council, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of Attorney General.
Consumer Protection Division
1350 Main Street
Springfield, MA 01103
Tel: (413) 784-1240
Staff receives, processes, and mediates citizen complaints, working closely with consumer complaint groups throughout the state; the staff also serves as a resource for consumer information. To file a complaint, obtain a form directly from the office or from Citizen Information Service. The division is the principal agency which enforces consumer law in the Commonwealth. It takes legal action where patterns of fraud or unfair or deceptive practices are found.
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business RegulationThis office serves as an informational resource to consumers throughout the Commonwealth by publishing brochures on consumer rights in many areas. Titles include such topics as Consumer’s Guide to Auto Repair, Consumer’s Guide to Home Improvement Planning, Consumer’s Guide to Smoke Detectors, Consumer’s Guide to Small Claims Court, Consumer’s Guide to the Lemon Law, and many more. The office will be pleased to send you a publication in your area of concern. For more information, contact:
Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
One Ashburton Place, 14th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Toll Free: 1-888-283-3757
Fax: (617) 227 6094
Boards of RegistrationLicenses are required for certain professions and trades in Massachusetts.
Boards of Registration
Division of Registration
239 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02114