Many of our clients call us to let us know that they are getting a new car. At some point we’ll ask if they are trading in a car &/or transferring plates from that car to the new one. Some clients mention that they plan to transfer their plates from the old car to the new car but that they will try to sell their old car on their own. We always tell clients that if they are still in possession of the old car and trying to sell it, to get new plates for the new car. This allows the old car to remain registered and insured so that prospective buyers can take it for a test drive. And wouldn’t you rather have new, shiny plates on your new car anyhow!
Once you sell the old car, the plates will need to be cancelled with the Registry. You can do this one of three ways. On-line with the RMV: https://secure.rmv.state.ma.us/platereturn/intro.aspx; turn them in at a local Registry office or bring them to our office and we can cancel them for you. If you cancel them on your own, be sure to let us know when you do this so that we can then remove the car from your policy the day after the plates are cancelled. The Registry will give you a Plate Return Receipt when you cancel your plates and you can use that to file for a rebate on your excise tax (if you no longer have the car) and a rebate on your registration fee (if you qualify).
It is important to remember that you must have at least one of the old plates in your possession to go through the process online. Otherwise, if your plates have been lost, or even stolen, during the vehicle transfer, you must fill out an Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration for Lost Plate(s).
There are also more than a dozen different options for vanity plates in Massachusetts; these cover themes ranging from New England sports team to cancer research funds to the state's rich ecology. Additionally, specialized plates are available for veterans, ex-POWs, and recipients of various military honors. Visit http://www.dmv.org/ma-massachusetts/license-plates.php to find out more!