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A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric Vehicles

A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric VehiclesU.S. President Obama Support of Electric Cars

In 2009, the federal government began offering credits for people who purchased hybrid and electric vehicles.  Sales of the vehicles increased significantly, but the credits, which were offered on a first come, first served basis, ran out rather quickly in most states.  Pushing harder to get consumers to use electric vehicles is certainly a priority, however, and because of this 2010 brought us another wave of tax credits for the purchase of EVs.  These credits are still firmly in place, and the phase-out period has not yet begun, which means that purchasers will still qualify for the entire $7,500 credit.

In order to qualify for this credit, the vehicle must be made as an electric vehicle by the manufacturer, and cannot be one that is converted to use electric drive.  It must also weigh less than 14,000 lbs and be primarily propelled by an electric motor and battery that can be recharged using an external energy source.  The vehicle must be purchased or leased in new condition, placed in service in 2010 or after, and used mostly within the United States.  If a car meets all of these criteria and is certified for the credit by the manufacturer, the purchaser or lessee qualifies to receive the $7,500 credit.

Once the manufacturer of the vehicle has produced 200,000 qualifying EVs, the countdown begins towards phase-out of the credit.  This will start at the beginning of the second quarter.  The IRS intends to make public when these numbers have been reached by each manufacturer and will then make public the phase-out schedule of the credit for that manufacturer’s vehicles.  The credit will decrease again at the mark of the fourth calendar quarter after the production of the 200,000th vehicle, with the credit disappearing completely at the beginning of the sixth quarter.

Because none of the phase outs have begun yet, if you have purchased a qualifying vehicle since 2010, you do qualify for this credit.  In order to claim the credit, you will need to download and print form 8936 from the IRS and file it with your 1040 tax form.  If you have already filed your taxes for the year that you purchased the vehicle, you can file an amended return.  The credit can also be used towards the alternative minimum tax.  Tax incentives are a good way to convince on-the-fence buyers to consider electric vehicles, and with a 7,500 tax credit, early adopters are certainly getting excellent deals on these vehicles.

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