Audit Reveals Plug-In Tax Credit Fraud

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
audit reveals plug in tax credit fraud

The DetNews points us to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report [full document in PDF format here] that reveals

Approximately $33 million in credits for plug-in electric and alternative-fueled vehicles credits were erroneously claimed by at least 12,920 taxpayers through July 24, 2010, according to a report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

That means about 20 percent of the $163.9 million in credits claimed by taxpayers from January 1, 2010 to July 24, 2010 for plug-in electric and alternative motor vehicle credits were claimed in error.

The erroneous claims TIGTA identified resulted from inadequate IRS processes to ensure information reported by individuals claiming the credits met qualifying requirements for vehicle year, placed in-service date, and make and model. TIGTA’s review of electronically filed tax returns identified individuals who erroneously claimed the same vehicle for multiple plug-in electric and alternative motor vehicle credits or claimed an excessive number of vehicles for personal use credits.


More highlights: “at least” 88 prisoners filed for the credit, while other taxpayers sought the credit for vehicles like Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Camaro, Harley Classic, Hyundai Sonata, Cadillac Escalade, Dodge Durango and yes, HUMMER H3. Also,

TIGTA found that the IRS is unable to track and account for plug-in electric and alternative motor vehicle credits claimed by individuals on paper-filed tax returns. Processes were not established to capture this information from paper-filed tax returns.


we identified IRS employees who erroneously claimed plug-in electric and alternative motor vehicle credits

The good news: with $13m in fraudulent claims filed, we can take some solace in the fact that only $7m in funds have been lost…

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  • FleetofWheel FleetofWheel on Feb 03, 2011

    All the bureaucracy lovers see nothing wrong with layers of tax incentives, hold backs and endless self-contradicting carrots/sticks. They actually think that without such govt enacted behavior engineering, no products would be made and no services delivered. In moment of clarity, they might realize that with a simpler tax code, taxes could be more swiftly and accurately taken from taxpayers and business but it's just too irresistible to not boss and goad people with their progressive urges, guilt and social experimentation.

  • Shaker Shaker on Feb 04, 2011

    The Republicans: Run up huge deficits by supporting the military industrial complex, fight illegal and unjust wars, allow deregulation so that "free market" proponents can avoid taxes, outsource jobs and destroy the middle class. The Democrats: Get labeled as "socialists" by trying to right all the wrongs of the previous Republican policy. Rinse and repeat. I'd rather see policies that try to move us forward as a country, into the future, than policies that support entrenched, money-centric dinosaurs that fear the future (there's more risk than profit in the short term) A benign government trying to mitigate some risk is somehow twisted into some sort of 'conspiracy' to alter people's behavior, while the previous administration merely had to wave the flag to spend billions on a war that no one truly wanted (except defense contractors and Halliburton). And that's why I like cars. (even though I'm starting to hate oil.)

    • See 1 previous
    • CamaroKid CamaroKid on Feb 05, 2011

      Iraq sheltered the people who attacked us on 9/11 WOW... even dick cheney has dropped that BS.

  • Tassos those 90s pathetic orange pixels are inexcusably lame in a 2010.The interior is filled with Grey Rubbermaid plastic and the tiny sliver of real or fake wood is an utterly pathetic attempt to pretend it's upscale (don't even THINK of "Luxury")Merc SLs with similar metal retractable roofs look so much better inside and out.Regardless of what you paid for this way undepowered near-luxury pretend-sports car, you would have done so much better with a PORSCHE BOXSTER...
  • Dukeisduke That's a cool picture (the one under the bridge) - where was it taken? Google Image Search doesn't turn up any matches.
  • Dukeisduke Okay, yeah, they should fix this, but, "URGENT: DO NOT DRIVE THIS VEHICLE"? I think we're reaching Peak Idiocracy.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is a great review, and very accurate from my perspective as the owner of a closely related, but longer and taller, E93 335i convertible. So much in this review is familiar. Here are the things that are a bit different about the 335i:[list][*]My car is a manual. Shifter action is good, with positive engagement, although a bit more play and rubbery feeling in the shifter than you would get with, say, a six-speed Honda. The clutch is a bit disappointing. It has a "clutch dampening valve" intended to protect against the most abusive clutch dumps. The valve throws my timing off a bit and I have had a hard time learning to drive this car with perfect smoothness, especially in the 1-2 shift. I may remove the valve at some point.[/*][*]My car has the turbo (in single-turbo N55 form). On the plus side, you get what feels like significantly more power than the rated 300 hp once on the boost, and even in fully stock form you get entertaining whooshing noises from the blowoff valve. On the minus side, there is some turbo lag, more than you get in many modern turbo cars, and fuel economy is, well, not close to what Corey is getting. The turbo car also comes with an active exhaust system that is extremely quiet when puttering while making some nice inline-six noise at wide-open throttle.[/*][*]There are back seats! I have a nine-year-old and a six-year-old. The six-year-old fits perfectly. The nine-year-old still fits, but that will likely change within the next three years. These seats are not usable for adults unless the front-seat occupants squeeze forward more than normal. E92 coupes are slightly roomier in back, and E90 sedans are substantially roomier.[/*][*]My car has the M Sport suspension, which does not have variable dampers. It's firm enough that I have to be careful to avoid even small holes on city streets if I don't want to get jarred. But if you can avoid the holes it feels good, navigating expansion joints and such without uncomfortable impact, while maintaining impressive body control for a porky 3900-pound convertible.[/*][*]My car has iDrive and a screen, as well as parking sensors. But it does not have a backup camera. Graphics on the screen are pretty good by 2011 standards, which is to say not acceptable by modern standards, but the system is easy enough to navigate and works pretty well. I prefer the rotary controller to a touch screen for fingerprint reasons.[/*][*]The parking sensors are by far the best of any car I've ever owned, and they are so accurate I really don't need a camera. The sensors go to a solid beep when the appropriate end is about 4" from an object, and I can comfortably cover about half that distance with no fear of bumping. They also project legimately useful graphics on the iDrive screen showing where the object is. I park in tight city settings enough that I really appreciate the accuracy. Also in the city parking mold, my car has power folding mirrors, which I wish every car would.[/*][*]Like you, I have the mid-level "Hi-Fi Professional" stereo setup, but in the four-seat convertible there is not a dedicated subwoofer. Bass is a bit on the weak side. Sound quality is about comparable with the JBL system in my Toyota Highlander, which is to say it's good enough for listening in the car but is not going to impress anyone.[/*][*]There are small leaks from the joints between the top and the A-pillars in my car. They won't soak the interior, but they will result in a few drops of water on the front seats after a hard rain. I'm still experimenting to see if regular applications of rubber protectant can restore the seals enough to eliminate the leaks. There are no leaks from any other part of the top mechanism.[/*][*]I've only owned the car for about eight months and 1500 miles, but so far nothing has broken and every feature on the car works correctly. A purchase-time inspection found only an incorrectly secured fan shroud and no other problems, and there is a mostly complete service history, so this was a well-maintained car to start with.[/*][/list]
  • Lou_BC This offer reminds me of those plans where you get something free but if you fail to cancel prior to the expiry of the "Free" plan you end up on the hook for a lengthy contract. Tesla wants to attract people to their electrical company. It's smart. Make money selling the car, make money with subscription services on the car, and make money selling the fuel to power the car at home and at charging stations.