simplifying debt collection for the public and private sector

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are provided to give you general information only and should not be regarded as legal advice. You should consult your city/town and/or an attorney regarding your particular situation.

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    Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

    Q. What is a motor vehicle excise tax?
    A. The motor vehicle excise tax is a tax on the privilege of registration and is based on the number of days the vehicle or trailer was registered.

    Q. How is the tax assessed?A. Motor vehicle taxes are assessed for the previous full calendar year – January through December. That is, if a tax bill was issued to you in 2008, the assessment is for the registration covering year 2007.

    Q. What if I did not own the vehicle for the entire year?A. The motor vehicle tax will be pro-rated for the actual number of days the vehicle is registered.

    Q. I never received a tax bill. Am I still responsible for paying the tax?A. Rhode Island General Laws 44-34-3(e) states “ Failure of the tax collector to send or by taxpayer to receive a bill shall not excuse the non-payment of tax or affect its validity of any proceeding for collection thereof”. Failure to pay your excise tax bill will prevent you from renewing your registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Q. What if my car was sold, disposed of or stolen?A. If your vehicle was sold, disposed of or stolen, taxes and penalties will apply until the registration is cancelled or expires.

    Q. I did not live in the city/town I received a bill from. Why am I being taxed?A. The tax is based on the registration address and not your current address. The tax will be assessed and you will continue to receive a bill until you notify the Registry of Motor Vehicle of your change of address.

    Q. Why does my City of Providence payment go to a Boston P.O. Box?A. City of Providence utilizes a “lockbox” service offered by their banking institution – Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank’s nearest processing center for lockbox services is in Boston.

    I. Instructions for dispute

    Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes are created in July of the current year but represent the previous calendar year. For example, a bill created and sent in July 2017 represents the time a vehicle was registered in 2016.

    A taxpayer is taxed on the registration until the license plates either expire or are returned to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

    If you feel you do not owe the bill(s),for assessment issues, you must contact the Assessors office of the municipality your being taxed for. For billing or payment issues, you must contact the Collectors office.

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    Rhode Island Tangible Property Tax

    Q. What is a Tangible Property tax?A. A tangible personal property tax is an assessment on property including furniture, fixtures, tools, machinery, signs, equipment, supplies, leased equipment and any other property used in business or industry.

    Q. How is the Tangible Property assessed?A. RI law 44-5-15 as amended requires that all tangible personal property be reported each year to the Assessor’s office prior to March 15 for assets possessed as of December 31st of the prior year. The “annual return” is signed and forwarded to the city/town assessor who will assess the tax based on the value of the assets reported.

    Q. What if my company went out of business, was renamed or was sold?A. The assessor’s office in your city/town must be notified to ensure that the tax bill will be accurate. In your correspondence you should include the date of the transaction and the circumstance.

    Q. I never received a tax bill. Am I still responsible for paying the tax?A. Rhode Island General Laws 44-34-3(e) states “ Failure of the tax collector to send or by taxpayer to receive a bill shall not excuse the non-payment of tax or affect its validity of any proceeding for collection thereof”.

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    Justice Assistance

    Q. Why did I receive a bill from Justice Assistance?A. As of June 4, 1994, all individuals who are being supervised by Justice Assistance on filing orders are required to pay $420.00 per year. Individuals being supervised by Justice Assistance are obligated to pay these fees, which have been instituted under the authority of Rhode Island General Law 42-56-38, Assessment of Costs. All fees received will be used to help support program operations.

    You will be responsible for payment of the full $420.00 for every year of supervision until you demonstrate to your case manager that you are temporarily or permanently unable to pay. You must apply for any waiver of the fee through your case manager.

    Your case manager can be contacted at (401) 781-7000.

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    Helpful Links

    RI General Law Chapter 44 - Taxationhttp://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE44/44-3/INDEX.HTM

    City of Providence – Tax Collectorhttp://www.providenceri.com/sb/tax_collector.php

    Justice Assistancehttp://www.justiceassistance.org/

    City of Warwick Code of Ordinances
    http://www.warwickri.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=786&Itemid=136