The Town of Washburn residents may register their vehicle or trailer at the Town Office during regular business hours of 7 AM – 4 PM on Monday-Thursday, and 7 AM to Noon on Friday. The Office is CLOSED from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm for Lunch. First time Vehicle and Trailer Registration cannot be done online.

The Town Office does not send out registration reminder cards due to postage costs and administrative expenses. Please contact the Town Office at (207) 455-8485 for more information.

What do I need to register a motor vehicle?

  • Proof of Maine insurance for the vehicle being registered. At the time of registration, proof of Maine insurance must be shown as required by state law. An insurance company may fax insurance cards to the Town Office at (207) 455-8485. Proof of insurance may also be provided from a mobile device.
  • The current mileage of the vehicle to be registered.
  • For a new vehicle, the window sticker must be shown to determine the suggested retail price for excise tax purposes (see Motor Vehicle Excise Tax).
  • For vehicles purchased from a dealership, the salesperson will provide a blue title application and an invoice indicating whether or not sales tax has been paid to the dealer. The registration agent will need information from the title application to process your registration.
  • For vehicles purchased from a private party, a vehicle title is required for all vehicles model years 1998 and newer. The seller should sign the back of the title in the appropriate place. Please do not cross out, white-out, or erase any mistakes on the title. Doing so will void the title. If mistakes are made, come to the Town Office’s front counter and ask for a Transfer of Ownership (MVT-16) form. Titles are $33 each, and the fees are collected at the time of registration.
  • Also, a Release of Lien form may be required. The title form has an area on the front showing if a lien was on the vehicle. The lien may have to be released on a separate form. If so, that form must also accompany the title for registration.
  • A bill of sale is also required for a vehicle purchased from a private party. The bill of sale should include the sale price, make, model, mileage, and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) for the vehicle being sold and the name and address of the seller. The bill of sale is required so that state sales tax (5.5% of the purchase price) can be collected at the registration time.

Registrations for vehicles purchased and previously registered in another state require proof of registration from the previous state.

Registrations for vehicles purchased from Canada will require the most recent registration document. Canada does not have titles. An inspection of the vehicle ID # will be mandatory at the time of registration. The following import documents are required: Department of Transportation’s HS-Form 7 Declaration; U.S. Customs Entry Form #7501 or CJ-3299 or CJ-368.

If you are required to file an SR-22 with Maine’s State, you must pay excise tax in Washburn first and then complete your vehicle registration at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Branch Office in Caribou.

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

The current method of calculating motor vehicle excise tax has been in place since 1929, and the rates used then are still in use. In Maine, the excise tax is based on the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of the vehicle when it was sold new. That is why by Maine law, each new automobile, SUV, van, or light truck registered for the first time must be accompanied by the window sticker.

This provides an equal assessment for everyone regardless of the purchase price. Heavy trucks, registered over 26,000 pounds, are excised based on the purchase price. The municipality is reimbursed for the full amount using other calculations.

The law provides that excise tax is calculated using the following method:

Year Mil Rate Cost
1 .024 $24.00 on $1000.00
2 .0175 $17.50 on $1000.00
3 .0135 $13.50 on $1000.00
4 .01 $10.00 on $1000.00
5 .0065 $6.50 on $1000.00
6+ .004 $4.00 on $1000.00

If you know the “sticker price” of a new car, you can calculate the tax by subtracting the destination charges and multiplying the remainder by .024.

New Vehicle Example

Sticker price: $26,000.00
Destination charges: $550.00
$26,000.00 – $550.00 = $25,450.00
$25,450.00 x .024 = $610.80
The excise tax due will be $610.80

A registration fee of $35 and an agent fee of $6 for new vehicles will also be charged to register your new vehicle. The same method will be used to calculate the fees to re-register the same vehicle. Your old registration will show the MSRP as the base and the mil rate used.

Second Year Example

The example below is shown for a vehicle registered in the second year:

MSRP: $25,450.00
$25,450.00 x .0175 = $445.38
Registration fee = $35.00
Agent fee = $5.00
Total amount due = $475.38