How to claim a clean vehicle tax credit

Use these steps for claiming clean vehicle tax credits, including how to make sure you get a time-of-sale report that documents your purchase.

Step 1: Check eligibility

Make sure you meet the necessary criteria as a buyer and the make and model you plan to buy is eligible for a credit.

Vehicles purchased for commercial use follow a different process and don't require the seller to provide a time-of-sale report.

Step 2: Purchase vehicle

When you buy the vehicle:

  1. Confirm with the seller the car you have selected is eligible for the credit.
  2. Choose when to take the credit:

For more information on how to transfer a credit see the Frequently asked questions about transfer of New Clean Vehicle Credit and Previously Owned Clean Vehicles Credit.

Step 3: Get a time-of-sale report

When you take possession of the vehicle, the seller must give you a time-of-sale report and a copy of the confirmation the IRS provides when it accepts the time-of-sale report. This gives you:

  • Proof of your purchase's eligibility for the credit, the amount of the credit available for the specific VIN you are purchasing, and whether the credit was transferred to the dealer.
  • Confirmation that the dealer reported the sale to the IRS within the required 3-day period.

If you have a paper copy of your time-of-sale report, skip to Step 5.

If you didn't receive a time-of-sale report, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: If you didn't get a time-of-sale report: Contact your seller

If you didn't get a time-of-sale report at the time of purchase or you lost it, contact the seller to get a copy of the report.

If you can't get a copy from the seller and more than 3 days have passed since the purchase date, proceed to Step 5.

Step 5: File Form 8936 with your tax return

You don't need a printed copy of the time-of-sale report to qualify for the credit.

However, you will need to file Form 8936, Clean Vehicle Credits when you file your tax return for the year in which you took delivery of the vehicle. You must file the form whether you transferred the credit at the time of sale or you're claiming the credit on your return.

If the return is rejected due to Form 8936, ensure the VIN was input correctly. Note there are no letters “O”, “Q” or “I” in a VIN. If the VIN was input correctly and you believe the vehicle is eligible, attach a file or explanation to substantiate the purchase before resubmitting the return.