Kelley Blue Book Helps Car Shoppers Navigate Electric Car Tax Credits

Robert F smith

While it’s easy to understand the environmental benefits of driving an EV, sometimes the financial benefits aren’t clear Tweet this Understanding the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit Most shoppers considering an EV likely have heard of the most significant government incentive, a federal tax credit worth $7,500 for certain alternative-energy cars. […]

Understanding the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit

Most shoppers considering an EV likely have heard of the most significant government incentive, a federal tax credit worth $7,500 for certain alternative-energy cars. While that can help drive down the overall cost of a more expensive EV, shoppers should understand the details and that it doesn’t necessarily apply in all circumstances.

  • You Don’t Get the Tax Credit Right Away – While manufacturers may advertise it as a discount on the car’s price, it isn’t. It is a government policy that allows you to claim up to $7,500 in credit against federal income taxes you owe in the year in which you buy the car. In other words, it reduces your tax liability. If you’re eligible for a refund, you’ll get whatever credit you’re entitled to on top of that. Buyers still must pay the full price they negotiate for the car, and then they can claim the credit the next time they file their taxes.
  • It Applies Only to New-Car Sales, and It Doesn’t Apply to Leased Vehicles – If you’re leasing a new EV, the tax credit will go to the manufacturer offering you the lease. However, they may choose to apply that credit to help lower your monthly payments, which is a good point for you to bring up in negotiations.
  • It Applies to EV, Plug-in Hybrid, and Fuel Cell Vehicles – The law states that the credit applies to road-going vehicles that are charged from an external source and have battery packs with 4 kilowatt-hours or greater. The U.S. Department of Energy maintains a list of vehicles that qualify for the tax credit and the amount buyers could deduct for them.
  • Some Electric Cars are No Longer Eligible – The full credit is available on the first 200,000 vehicles a manufacturer builds; beyond that, the credit begins to sunset. Currently, two manufacturers have completely exhausted their available credit: Tesla and General Motors.
  • It May Change This Year – The federal government’s EV tax credit program may change dramatically in 2021, and currently there are a few different proposals working their way through Congress. If you’re able to wait and don’t need to buy an EV soon, it could be worth letting these bills get settled before you buy. With more EVs coming to market and manufacturers lobbying for assistance to ensure their EV bets pay off, chances are that something may happen to make EV tax incentives dramatically better for new-car buyers this year.

State and Local Incentives Could Be Available; Your Electric Utility Company May Help

While the federal government’s effort toward EV discounts is largest, some states and local governments have incentive programs to help new-car buyers afford a more efficient vehicle. These can be things like tax credits, rebates, reduced vehicle taxes, single-occupant carpool-lane access stickers, and exemptions from registration or inspection fees. The U.S. Department of Energy maintains an interactive list of state-level incentives. In addition, some local electric utilities have incentive programs to help buyers get into electric vehicles, like rebates or discounted electric rates for charging an EV outside peak hours. It’s worth checking with your electric utility to see what incentives they may offer if you’re considering buying an EV.

Additional EV Information and Consumer Advice
The editors at Kelley Blue Book also have created several articles with consumer advice and information about EVs to help shoppers navigate the evolving electric car landscape:

For more information from Kelley Blue Book about electric cars, EV tax credits and more, visit https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/how-do-electric-car-tax-credits-work/.

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About Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) 
Founded in 1926, Kelley Blue Book, The Trusted Resource®, is the vehicle valuation and information source trusted and relied upon by both consumers and the automotive industry. Each week the company provides market-reflective values on its top-rated website KBB.com, including its famous Blue Book® Trade-In Values and Kelley Blue Book® Price Advisor tool, which provides a range for what consumers can reasonably expect to pay for a vehicle in their area. Car owners looking to sell immediately can also get a redeemable, transaction-ready offer with Kelley Blue BookSM Instant Cash Offer. The company also provides vehicle pricing and values through various products and services available to car dealers, auto manufacturers, finance and insurance companies, and governmental agencies. Kelley Blue Book is a Cox Automotive brand. 

About Cox Automotive 
Cox Automotive Inc. makes buying, selling, owning and using vehicles easier for everyone. The global company’s more than 27,000 team members and family of brands, including Autotrader®, Clutch Technologies, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, VinSolutions®, vAuto® and Xtime®, are passionate about helping millions of car shoppers, 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents and many others throughout the automotive industry thrive for generations to come. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based company with annual revenues nearly $20 billion. www.coxautoinc.com

SOURCE Kelley Blue Book

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