The Registry of Motor Vehicles has issued a formal statement regarding whether paper or temporary plates are permitted on vehicles purchased by Massachusetts residents from out-of-state dealers. The letter reads in part:
"Massachusetts does not issue temporary registration plates for its own residents but it does recognize temporary registration plates validly registered in other states to non-residents of Massachusetts who are temporarily operating in this state (assuming the plates are not expired or suspended.) Thus, a Connecticut resident operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts on validly issued temporary Connecticut registration plates is OK, but a Massachusetts resident operating a newly purchased motor vehicle in Massachusetts with validly issued temporary Connecticut plates is not.
A Massachusetts resident who purchases a motor vehicle in another state must apply for and attach valid MA registration plates to the vehicle before he/she can drive the vehicle back to Massachusetts. (This can be done by using overnight services such as Fed Ex or UPS). As an alternative, the dealer may deliver the vehicle to the buyer in Massachusetts using the Dealer's out-of-state issued Dealer Plates (but the buyer cannot operate the vehicle on those Dealer Plates in Massachusetts once the vehicle has been delivered.
A Massachusetts resident who is operating a vehicle owned by him/her and registered in another state (even with "temporary plates") is probably violating Chapter 90, Section 9 and is subject to a fine of $100 for a first offense and up to $ 1,000 for a subsequent offense. The citation is issued for an "unregistered motor vehicle" according to the current CMVI Assessment Schedule of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth, District Court Department. Section 3 authorizes operation on MA public ways of vehicles that are properly registered to non-residents of other states. There is an exception in Section 3 for a MA corporation or a resident of Massachusetts who has a business in another state with commercial motor vehicles registered and garaged in that state."
To read more about Chapter 90, Section 9 or Section 3, click here.
Information provided by MAIA.