New Pine Tree Plate Information

New Pine Tree Plate unveiled by BMV


AUGUSTA — Secretary of State Shenna Bellows and Deputy Secretary of State for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Cathie Curtis unveiled the design of the new Pine Tree Plate today.

“The new Pine Tree Plate is a fresh approach to a classic design rooted in Maine history, but the ultimate purpose of license plates is for vehicle identification to ensure public safety on our roads and highways” said Secretary Bellows. “Damaged or worn-out plates on our roadways increase risks to the general public, and worn-out plates reduce law enforcement’s ability to be effective when handling crimes that could be prevented or solved through the identification of license plates.”

The current standard-issue plate, the Chickadee Plate, has been in circulation for almost 25 years.

In accordance with LD 1965, “An Act to Authorize the Secretary of State to Provide a New General Issue of License Plates,” which became law last year, there are two new plate designs: One with the Pine Tree and North Star and one plain plate with blue identification number and letter combinations.

 “Mainers who want to reserve their current plate numbers, including vanity plates and low-digit plates, should know that right now, they don’t need to act – but we’ll be starting a reservation process later this spring.”

Mainers who have a specialty plate will not be impacted by the change to the Pine Tree Plate. Specialty plates include the Agriculture and Conservation plates, among others.

Vehicle & Trailer Registrations

  • Re-Registration – Previous registration, current insurance card & mileage
  • New Registration – Dealership Sale – Sales Receipt for proof of sales tax paid, blue title application form, current insurance card and mileage.  It is MANDATORY to have the Monroney label or window sticker on a brand new never been owned vehicle.  If you have plates we can complete your registration here.  If you need plates, you will pay excise tax at the Town Office, then complete your registration at the Bureau of Motor Vehicle
  • New Registration – Private Sale – Bill of sale and previous title for all vehicles 1995 or newer – Please keep in mind, we do not issue plates, collect sales tax or process title applications – those tasks will need to be completed at the Bureau of Motor Vehicle office in Rockland AFTER you pay your excise tax here at the Town Office
  • New Registration – Transfer – Same as above PLUS registration of the vehicle the plates are being transferred from.  Excise tax credit is available if you wish to use it, keep in mind the trade off for using the credit is that you keep the same expiration date. 
  • Registrations for vehicles purchased and previously registered in another state require proof of registration and title from that previous state.  If you do not have the title because it is held by a lien holder, we will need the documents showing what financial institution holds the title.  

Additional guidance may be found here.

  • The Town of Warren accepts cash, check or credit/debit cards (2.5% surcharge).
  • When registering a vehicle or camper, excise tax must always be paid at the Town Office FIRST, before you go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicle.  The Town of Warren does not issue license plates.  
  • ALL FIRST TIME OR NEW, NON-EXCISE (UTILITY/BOAT) TRAILER REGISTRATIONS must be done at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Re-registrations may be done at the Town Office.  Please bring your previous registration.
  • If you are required to file an SR-22 with the State of Maine, you must pay excise tax in Warren first and then complete your registration at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.  
  • Insurance cards must be effective on the day of the transaction.  
What is Excise Tax?  Excise tax is an annual tax that must be paid prior to registering your vehicle.  Except for a few statutory exemptions, all vehicles registered in the State of Maine are subject to the excise tax.  Excise tax is defined by Maine Law as a tax levied annually for the privilege of operating a motor vehicle or camper trailer on the public ways.
Where do I pay the Excise Tax?  Excise tax is paid at the local town office where the owner of the vehicle resides.  When a vehicle needs to be registered, excise tax is collected prior to the registration.  
How much is the Excise Tax?  
The amount of the tax is determined by two things:
1.   The age of the vehicle
2.   Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price ("MSRP") 
How is the Excise Tax calculated?
Excise tax is calculated by multiplying the MRSP by the mil rate as shown below.  The rates drop back on January 1st of each year.
YEAR 1     .0240 mil rate
YEAR 2     .0175 mil rate
YEAR 3     .0135 mil rate
YEAR 4     .0100 mil rate
YEAR 5     .0065 mil rate
YEAR 6     .0040 mil rate
For example, the owner of a three year old vehicle with an MSRP of $19,500 would pay $263.25.   
Where does the Excise Tax go?   The town that collects the excise tax can use it as revenue towards the annual town budget.  Typically, the revenue is spent on local road maintenance, construction and repair.  
Why is the tax based on MSRP?   Excise tax was designed with equity in mind.  In 1925, this tax was enacted as a Maine Law.  At that time, the Legislature decided that the fairest tax assessment would be based on what the manufacturer suggests it sell for.   This law has remained in effect for more than 85 years to ensure that everyone who drives the same vehicle pays the same amount of tax.  
Where can a town get the MSRP?   There are several resources for MSRP that will provide the information on the retail price of a vehicle.  New vehicles are required to have a window sticker and the window sticker must be must be presented on first time registrations.  For used cars, individuals and municipalities can use the NADA Guide, the New Car Cost Guide, the Automobile Red Book and the Automobile Blue Book to determine, the MSRP of a vehicle.