IRS Plug-In Vehicle Credit Cap Data Lacking Accuracy, Detail

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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irs plug in vehicle credit cap data lacking accuracy detail

In 2008, Congress passed a tax bill that would provide a credit of up to $7,500 for customers who purchase plug-in vehicles as a way to encourage adoption of cleaner vehicles. The credit would last in full for the first 200,000 units an automaker sold, then phased out over the course of 12 months.

The problem? The agency responsible for handling the credit, the Internal Revenue Service, has no clue as to where things stand as far as that cap is concerned, despite every automaker that sells a plug-in model reporting the figures every quarter, as required by law.

AutoblogGreen reports that despite the fact that no automaker has yet to hit the cap, the IRS website meant to help consumers in their decision as to whether or not to purchase a plug-in vehicle is as dysfunctional as the legislative branch that passed the tax credit in the first place.

From the vehicles listed on the site — only six out of 24 vehicles from various manufacturers are listed — to the reported number of vehicles sold not matching up with what the automakers send to the agency per quarter, the IRS is dropping the ball on consumers who might want a plug-in in part because of the credit. This lack of attention to detail could knock new owners upside the head when the credit they thought they were going to receive ends up being less than desired.

When asked why the current situation exists, along with how the IRS receives and interprets its data regarding the credit cap, a representative stated that for a model to be listed on the site, a waiver must be submitted to the agency by the automaker in question. Both Chevrolet and Tesla, however, would beg to differ, as best explained by Tesla representative Liz Jarvis-Shean:

We’re compliant with reporting our quarterly US sales to the IRS and submit this information to the IRS shortly after each quarter’s close. One would assume that if Model S owners were having issues with this, you’d have heard about it.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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3 of 7 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Sep 19, 2014

    It's gotta be in someone's email or Blackberry. Someone should check. Worst case scenario is that it's backed up on a server somewhere.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 19, 2014

    I think there are some interesting things being tied together, which may not be true here. Just because a website doesn't list this or that car, or have accurate figures, does not mean the IRS is not aware of the figures. It's not as though their website would be tied directly to their databases, as that would be a security risk. And sending in a waiver to be listed on the site is not the same thing as sending in numbers to the IRS, you see?

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