BMV Registrations

As a certified "truck town," the Palermo Town Office can register just about every kind of automobile or truck out there!  You can also re-register most vehicles online, at the BMV Rapid Renewal portal. Check out the array of specialty plates Maine offers here and here - all proceeds go to charitable organizations!

Below, you will find out about what information you need to register or re-register a vehicle, a blank Bill of Sale template for private transactions of cars, trailers, or other vehicles, and a Short Guide to Maine's Excise Tax.

Dealer Sale?

Bill of Sale from dealership showing ME sales tax has been paid

Application of title "blue sheet" 

Proof of insurance

Current mileage

Private sale?

Bill of Sale from previous owner, signed by both parties & dated

Current title (1995 and newer)

Proof of insurance

Current mileage


Proof of insurance

Current mileage

A Short Guide to Maine's Excise Tax

What is an “Excise Tax”? An excise tax is a duty levied on specific goods or activities, but in Maine the term “excise tax” specifically refers to the fee charged to vehicle owners for the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on public roadways. All motor vehicles in Maine are subject to the excise tax and must be registered in the town where the owner resides. All excise tax revenue remains in the town where it is collected and is typically used for road maintenance and repair (this is true for Palermo as well). By the same token, if a town did not collect excise tax, other taxes would have to be increased to make up the difference.

The Maine Legislature approved the excise tax formula in 1925 to ensure that everyone who drives the same vehicle pays the same amount of tax. They determined the fairest tax assessment would be based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, now abbreviated as the MSRP. New vehicles are sold with a window sticker advertising the MSRP, and many resources are available online to determine the MSRP of used vehicles, among them: Kelley Blue Book, MSN Autos, NADA Guides, or J.D. Power. Excise tax is computed by multiplying the MSRP by a mil rate (or amount per thousand) based on the age of a vehicle, one reason why older vehicles are cheaper to register than newer ones. The mil rate formula is below:

Current or first year: $24 per thousand (or 0.0240)

Second year: $17.50 per thousand (or 0.01750)

Third year: $13.50 per thousand (or 0.01350)

Fourth year $10.00 per thousand (or 0.010)

Fifth year: $6.50 per thousand (or 0.0065)

Sixth & following years: $4.00 per thousand (or 0.0040)

Drivers can compute their estimated excise tax by multiplying their vehicle’s MSRP by the yearly mil rate; for example, a 2018 Toyota Tundra that retailed for $32,500 would be charged an excise tax of $211.25 ($32,500 x 0.0065) in 2022. The Town of Saco has a helpful excise tax calculator that any Mainer can use, here. Remember that excise tax is just one component of a motor vehicle registration and other fees will apply.

 Maine State Statutes concerning excise tax can be found in Title 36, Section 1482. Portions of this guide were taken from the Maine Revenue Service Excise Tax website.

For new Town residents and renters: Proof of Residency in Palermo is required to process car registrations. Proof may be a utility bill or official document addressed to your dwelling in Palermo. Off-grid residents can use their tax bill or have the property owner sign an affidavit in the presence of the Town's Notary Public affirming residency.

Antique Auto registrations are for vehicles that are 25 years and older. It cannot be used as your primary vehicle.

This robust Bill of Sale template will ensure both buyer and seller are protected in case of any dispute, and when it is filled out completely will expedite your registration process!