Veterans' Laws and Benefits

Motor Vehicle Benefits

Registration exemption for disabled veterans

M.G.L. ch. 90, s.2

Disabled veterans who by reason of service in the U.S. armed forces have suffered the loss of, or permanent loss of use of, one or both hands or feet, or who have permanent impairment of vision in both eyes, or any other disability or handicap of such veterans that may be determined by the Medical Affairs Branch of the Registry of Motor Vehicles (M.G.L. ch. 90, s.8c), are eligible to receive, free of charge, disabled veterans’ motor vehicle registration plates and are exempt from the biannual registration renewal fee.

Where to apply

NOTE: Registry of Motor Vehicle information is subject to change without notice.

Registry of Motor Vehicles, Medical Affairs Branch
630 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
617-351-9222, TTY: 617-536-7534
www.massdot.state.ma.us/rmv

Registration exemption for ex-prisoners of war

M.G.L. ch. 90, s.2

All veterans of any war or military action who, in the course of duty, have been captured and incarcerated by an enemy of the U.S. during an armed conflict are eligible to receive, free of charge, Ex-POW motor vehicle registration plates and are exempt from the biannual registration renewal fee, and their surviving spouse may elect to retain the plates until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancel such registration.

Where to apply

NOTE: Registry of Motor Vehicle information is subject to change without notice.

Registry of Motor Vehicles, Special Plates (Vanity) Section
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205
617-351-9322

Veterans’ series license plates

M.G.L. ch. 90, s.2

Veteran plate: Any veteran, as defined by M.G.L. ch. 4, s.7, clause 43 (see Definition chart), is eligible for this plate for an automobile or motorcycle. The Registry of Motor Vehicles charges a fee for all veterans’ plates (in addition to the standard registration fee), unless the veteran qualifies for one of the following exemptions. Proceeds from the veteran plate fee benefit the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke.

EX-POW plate: One EX-POW license plate may be issued (without charge) to former prisoners of war, defined as any regularly appointed, enrolled, enlisted, or inducted member of the military forces of the United States who was captured and incarcerated by an enemy of the United States during an armed conflict. Presentation of satisfactory evidence of such prisoner of war status is required. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration, but an annual fee would then be required.

Medal of Honor plate: One Congressional Medal of Honor plate, bearing the recipient’s initials followed by the letters “CMH” may be issued for an automobile or motorcycle free of charge to those veterans who have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration. The surviving spouse will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.

Legion of Valor plate: One Legion of Valor license plate may be issued for an automobile or motorcycle free of charge to those veterans who provide satisfactory evidence of membership in the Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Inc. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration. The surviving spouse will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.

Purple Heart plate: One Purple Heart license plate may be issued for an automobile or motorcycle free of charge to those veterans who have been awarded the “Purple Heart” medal. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration. The surviving spouse will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.

Pearl Harbor Survivor plate: All military personnel on active duty at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, as verified by the Department of Defense, are eligible for this automobile or motorcycle plate free of charge. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration. The surviving spouse will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.

Silver Star, Bronze Star, or Distinguished Flying Cross plate: One “Silver Star”, “Bronze Star”, or “Distinguished Flying Cross” license plate may be issued (without charge) to those veterans who have been awarded the “Silver Star” medal, “Bronze Star” medal, or “Distinguished Flying Cross.” In addition, a surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate until s/he remarries, or fails to renew or cancels such registration, but an annual fee would then be required.

Gold Star Family plate: One Gold Star Family license plate may be issued free of charge to the parents, children, or spouse of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces killed in action.

Where to apply

Registry of Motor Vehicles, Special Plates (Vanity) Section
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205
617-351-9322

Distinctive military emblems

A veteran who has been issued a “Veteran” (Flag) plate will be furnished (upon request) a distinctive emblem which identifies the branch of the armed services in which the owner served or the wartime service in which such owner served. There is no preferential treatment implied in the issuance of the veterans’ series plates as there is for the disabled veterans’ plates. There is an additional cost for the veterans’ series plates, and they cannot be used for a vehicle requiring a commercial registration under Massachusetts law. See above for information on obtaining a Veteran series plate.

Motor vehicle excise exemption for disabled veterans
and ex-prisoners of war

M.G.L. ch. 60A, s.1

Veterans as defined in section 7 of chapter 4 of the Massachusetts General Laws who by reason of service in the armed forces of the United States have suffered the loss, or permanent loss of the use of one or both feet or one of both arms or has permanent visual impairments as determined by the VA or has been determined by the medical advisory board within the Registry of Motor Vehicles to be permanently disabled is eligible for motor vehicle excise exemption (applicable for only one motor vehicle owned and registered for personal, non-commercial use).

*For former prisoners of war, and their surviving spouse, the law allowing the exemption for the motor vehicle excise must be accepted by the city or town to be applicable.

Where to apply

For applications of excise tax exemptions for disabled veterans and former prisoners of war contact your local board of assessor’s office.

For information on excise tax exemptions for disabled veterans and former prisoners of war, contact

Department of Revenue, Division of Local Services
100 Cambridge Street (no walk-in service)
Boston, MA 02210
617-626-2300
www.mass.gov/dor

Sales tax exemption for disabled veterans

M.G.L. ch. 64H, s.6(u)

Disabled veterans who by reason of service in the U.S. armed forces have suffered the loss of, or permanent loss of the use of, both legs or both arms or one leg and one arm are eligible for a motor vehicle sales tax exemption (applicable only to one motor vehicle owned and registered for personal, non-commercial use).

Department of Revenue
19 Staniford Street, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
617-887-6367
www.mass.gov/dor
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 9655, Boston, MA 02114-9655