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Fuel Tax Credit Extensions Frequently Asked Questions

American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-240)

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-240) retroactively extends certain fuel tax credits that expired on Dec. 31, 2011. The retroactively extended fuel tax credits are the biodiesel mixture credit, biodiesel credit, alternative fuel credit and alternative fuel mixture credit. These credits are now scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2013.

These Q&As tell taxpayers how to claim the credits for qualifying sales or uses during 2012. They also describe changes to the cellulosic biofuel credit for 2013. 

More information on qualification for the credits is on Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return; Form 720X, Amended Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return; Form 4136, Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels; Form 6478, Alcohol and Cellulosic Biofuel Fuels Credit; Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes; and Form 8864, Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit.

Q1. How do I claim the biodiesel mixture (including renewable diesel mixture) credit for qualifying sales and uses during 2012? What is the deadline for filing a claim?

A1. Choose one of the following options to claim the credit:

OPTION 1: Follow the procedures in Notice 2013-26. These procedures allow all claims to be made on Form 8849 for all qualifying sales and uses in 2012. These claims must be made by July 1, 2013.

OPTION 2: If you do not make the claim by July 1, 2013, for sales and uses in 2012, follow the procedures below.

If you reported excise tax liability for gasoline, diesel fuel, or kerosene on Form 720 during any quarter of 2012, you must amend that Form 720 to claim a credit against those liabilities. The amount of this credit may not exceed the total amount of those liabilities.

    • To amend your Form 720, file Form 720X in accordance with the instructions to that form.
    • You may use a single Form 720X to amend multiple quarters, but state each quarter separately.
    • If your biodiesel mixture (including renewable diesel mixture) credit exceeds the amount that you claim on Form 720X, you may claim that excess as an income tax credit on your 2012 federal income tax return by attaching to the return Form 4136 in accordance with the instructions for that form.
    • Generally, you have three years from the due date of each Form 720 you filed during 2012 to claim the credit against your excise tax liability for a particular quarter. Generally, you have three years from the due date of your income tax return to claim the credit by attaching Form 4136 to an amended income tax return.

Q2. Do I need to submit Certificates for Biodiesel with my biodiesel mixture claims?

A2. Yes. See the instructions to Form 720, Form 8849, or Form 4136, as appropriate. If you did not receive certificates during 2012, the biodiesel producer may issue them to you now. However, the IRS cannot require biodiesel producers to issue a certificate.

Q3. How do I claim the biodiesel (including renewable diesel) credit for qualifying sales or uses during 2012? What is the deadline for filing a claim?

A3. You may claim the biodiesel (including renewable diesel) credit for qualifying sales or uses during 2012 as an income tax credit on your 2012 federal income tax return by attaching to the return Form 8864, in accordance with the instructions for that form. Generally, you have three years from the due date of your income tax return to claim the credit by attaching Form 8864 to an amended income tax return.

Q4. How do I claim the alternative fuel credit for qualifying sales or uses during 2012? What is the deadline for filing a claim?

A4. The term “alternative fuel” generally includes:

  • Liquefied petroleum gas.
  • P Series Fuels.
  • Compressed or liquefied natural gas.
  • Liquefied hydrogen.
  • Any liquid fuel which meets certain carbon recapture requirements and that is derived from coal (including peat) through the Fischer-Tropsch process.
  • Compressed or liquefied gas derived from biomass (as defined in section 45K(c)(3)).
  • Liquid fuel derived from biomass (as defined in section 45K(c)(3)).

Choose one of the following options to claim the credit:

OPTION 1: Follow the procedures in Notice 2013-26. These procedures allow all claims to be made on Form 8849 for all qualifying sales and uses in 2012. These claims must be made by July 1, 2013.

OPTION 2: If you do not make the claim by July 1, 2013, for sales and uses in 2012, follow the procedures below.

    • If you reported excise tax liability for alternative fuel on Form 720 during any quarter of 2012, you must amend that Form 720 to claim a credit against those liabilities. The amount of this credit may not exceed the total amount of those liabilities.
    • To amend your Form 720, file Form 720X in accordance with the instructions to that form.
    • You may use a single Form 720X to amend multiple quarters, but state each quarter separately.
    • If your alternative fuel credit exceeds the amount that you claim on Form 720X, you may claim the excess as an income tax credit on your 2012 federal income tax return by attaching to the return Form 4136 in accordance with the instructions for that form.
    • Generally, you have three years from the due date of each Form 720 you filed during 2012 to claim the credit against your excise tax liability for a particular quarter. Generally, you have three years from the due date of your income tax return to claim the credit by attaching Form 4136 to an amended income tax return.

Q5. How do I claim the alternative fuel mixture credit for qualifying sales or uses during 2012? What is the deadline for filing a claim?

A5. See below.

  • If you reported excise tax liability for gasoline, diesel fuel or kerosene on Form 720, during any quarter of 2012, you must amend that Form 720 to claim a credit against those liabilities. The amount of this credit may not exceed the amount of those liabilities.
  • To amend your Form 720, file Form 720X in accordance with the instructions to the form.
  • You may use a single Form 720X to amend multiple quarters, but state each quarter separately.
  • You may claim the alternative fuel mixture credit only up to the amount of your tax liabilities for gasoline, diesel fuel or kerosene.
  • You may not claim any excess alternative fuel mixture credit on your income tax return or receive a payment for that amount. 

Q6. Do I have to be registered by IRS to claim the biodiesel mixture credit (including renewable diesel mixture credit), biodiesel credit (including renewable diesel credit), alternative fuel credit or alternative fuel mixture credit?

A6. You must be registered by the IRS at the time you file your claims for the alternative fuel credit and the alternative fuel mixture credit.

If you are already registered with an AL (alternative fuel) or AM (alternative fuel mixture) activity letter, as appropriate, do not apply again for registration. 

However, if you are not already registered by the IRS with the appropriate activity letter, apply to the IRS for registration by filing Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities), in accordance with the instructions to Form 637. You are not registered with the IRS until you receive your letter of registration from the IRS.

Q7. How do I claim the cellulosic biofuel credit for qualifying sales or uses during 2012?

A7. You may claim the cellulosic biofuel credit for qualifying sales or uses during 2012 as an income tax credit on your 2012 federal income tax return by attaching Form 6478 to the return in accordance with the instructions for that form.

You must be registered by the IRS at the time you file your claim for the cellulosic biofuel credit.

If you are already registered with a CB (producers of cellulosic biofuel) activity letter, do not apply again for registration. However, if you are not already registered by the IRS with the CB activity letter, you may apply to the IRS for registration by filing Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities), in accordance with the instructions to Form 637. You are not registered with the IRS until you receive your letter of registration from the IRS.

Q8. What changes did the American Taxpayer Relief Act make to the cellulosic biofuel credit?

A8. Effective Jan. 3, 2013, the Act changed the designation of the credit to “second generation biofuel credit.” Also effective on Jan. 3, 2013, biofuels produced from algae, cyanobacteria, and lemna feedstocks are eligible for the credit. The second generation biofuel credit expires for fuel produced after Dec. 31, 2013.

Q9. If I am a second generation biofuel producer, do I need to be registered by the IRS to claim the credit?

A9. Yes, you must be registered by the IRS at the time you file your claims for second generation biofuel credit. Apply for activity letter “CB” using Form 637. If you are already registered by the IRS with a CB activity letter, do not apply again for registration.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 07-Mar-2014