A person required to register a vehicle in this State who instead registers the vehicle in another state or province or who fails to register a vehicle in this State is guilty of evasion of registration fees and excise taxes. Violation of this section is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
The Secretary of State shall notify the State Tax Assessor upon receipt of the court abstract so that the State Tax Assessor may determine whether further investigation is necessary.
For purposes of this section, a person is presumed to be a resident of the State if that person has:
1. Enrolled child in public school. Enrolled a minor child of whom that person has sole or primary custody in a public school within the State; or
2. Declared or indicated primary residence in State. Declared, indicated or stated that that person's primary residence is in the State on any form, document or application used by public and private entities or persons.
An oral statement by a person stating a Maine address as that person's primary residence is prima facie evidence of primary residence under this section.
The Town of Kittery is losing thousands of dollars every year in excise tax revenue on vehicles which are registered out of State, typically New Hampshire but whose owners actually live in Maine.
While some vehicle owners may be truly unaware of their obligation to register their vehicles in Maine, especially if they are recent transplants, there are those who intentionally ignore the law in order to save a few dollars. While New Hampshire does have state and local registration fees, vehicle insurance is not required in New Hampshire as it is in Maine.
Maine law states that, “An owner of a vehicle who becomes a resident of this State shall register that vehicle in this State within 30 days of establishing residency.” Title 29-A Sec. 351
If a new resident misses that deadline, he or she could be cited for a traffic infraction and subject to a $70 fine. If the vehicle goes unregistered in Maine for more than 150 days, the infraction becomes a Class E crime with stiffer penalties and a higher fine. In addition, under Maine law, violators may be charged with evasion of registration fees and excise taxes, which means an additional fine of $500 to $1,000. Violators could be looking at as much as $2,000 in fines. The law regarding evasion of registration fees and excise taxes is shown below.
If you know or suspect someone is not complying with the law and their duty to register their vehicles in this State, we urge you to contact us. We will assign an officer to look into the claim and investigate whether or not a violation of the law is present.
Title 29-A Sec. 514
Evasion of Registration Fees and Excise Taxes