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Tax Breaks Available for Taxpayers Who Purchase Qualified Plug-In Electric Vehicles

Updated 11/13/09 to add Questions and Answers
Updated 11/01/09 to add links

IR-2009-45, April 24, 2009

WASHINGTON — Plug-in electric vehicles using certain types of batteries may qualify for a new tax credit if purchased this year, the Internal Revenue Service said today.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) created two new tax credits for various types of electric vehicles, which may include what are commonly referred to as neighborhood electric vehicles.

ARRA creates a tax credit for low-speed or two- or three-wheel electric vehicles, such as motor scooters, purchased after Feb. 17, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2012. The amount of the credit is 10 percent of the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum credit of $2,500. To qualify, a vehicle must be either a low-speed vehicle that is propelled to a significant extent by a rechargeable battery with a capacity of at least 4 kilowatt hours or be a two- or three-wheeled vehicle that is propelled to a significant extent by a rechargeable battery with a capacity of at least 2.5 kilowatt hours.

EESA created a tax credit for vehicles that have at least four wheels and draw propulsion using a rechargeable traction battery with at least four kilowatt hours of capacity. For 2009, the minimum credit is $2,500 and the credit tops out at $7,500 to $15,000, depending on the weight of the vehicle and the capacity of the battery.

During 2009, low-speed, four-wheeled vehicles manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads and highways (neighborhood electric vehicles) may qualify both for the EESA credit and, if purchased after February 17, 2009, for the ARRA credit for low-speed electric vehicles. A taxpayer may not claim both credits for the same vehicle. Vehicles manufactured primarily for off-road use, such as for use on a golf course, do not qualify for either credit.

The Internal Revenue Service is working on guidance regarding certification procedures for both of these credits.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 03-Aug-2012