Important Update: According to the Massaschusetts RMV website, the RMV-1 and RMV-3 form will no longer be accepted as of Monday, December 16, 2019. The replacement form for the RMV-1 and RMV-3 is the Registration and Title Application also known as the RTA. Click below to download a computer fillable version.
Note: We have removed the download link to the RMV-1 Form as it is being fazed out and replaced with the new Massachusetts RMV RTA Form
An RMV-1 is a form that the Massachusetts RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) uses for registry transactions, including:
New plates for a new vehicle
A new title for a new vehicle
Transfer of existing plates from one car to another
Calculating and collecting Massachusetts Sales tax.
How to fill out the RMV-1
The form begins with the buyer’s name and address. Your ‘registration’ ties your name to the plates you have on the new vehicle, whether you’re transferring plates (such as on a trade-in), or getting new plates.
The RMV-1 also populates the name(s) and address that goes on the title. The title is a separate document that specifies ownership of the vehicle. It will be the document that you use in the future to complete a sale when you’re ready to sell the car.
The RMV-1 also includes any bank or lienholder, which also shows on the title. This alerts the Massachusetts RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) that the new title (to the new owners) should be mailed to the bank or lienholder, who physically holds it until the loan is paid off. If you’re buying a car with no loan, the title should go to your address directly; expect it usually within about a month.
On a purchase where the plates transfer (from the old car to the new one), ownership should agree with the previous vehicle’s ownership. This distinguishes for example, whether one person owns the vehicle or if it’s owned jointly by husband and wife. If the previous car was owned jointly, the new car will use the same joint ownership. (This can be amended, in a separate transaction at the Registry, or you can just get new plates).
Massachusetts Sales Tax
Sales tax is also calculated. When a dealer takes a trade-in from you, they will show the value of the new car, less the value of the old car (the trade-in), and the sate only charges you 6.25% of the net. For example, if you trade in a $5,000 car to buy a $20,000 car, you’ll pay sales tax on $15,000. However, when you buy from other than a dealer, such as all private transactions, you’ll pay either the sales tax on the full sales price, or a sales tax that the Registry calculates based on their estimate of its value. This is because some sellers take payment for one amount but show a lesser amount to try to lower your tax burden. The RMV is savvy to that, so they might charge you more than you expect when you get to the window.
Speaking of the window, when you go to the Registry yourself, they’ll check that the new car has insurance. That’s where we come in. The RMV-1 has an insurance verification area. If you’re not transferring plates (and therefore insurance), you might need a new insurance policy. This is different from other states; Massachusetts wants that new car to have insurance when you get plates. They won’t issue plates if you don’t have insurance. If you’re buying a new car, call us for a broad variety of carrier options. If you have insurance, we typically apply an ‘e-stamp’ on an electronic version (in a pdf). On occasion we still use an old fashioned rubber stamp for some auto dealers that fax us RMV-1s or bring them physically to our office.
In summary, The RMV-1 is the same form that the Registry has used for decades, as the information is the same: name and address of new owners, description of the car, including year, make, model, and VIN (vehicle identification number), insurance company validation, seller information and bank or lienholder.