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EV tax credit could become ‘refundable,’ putting cash in EV buyers’ pockets

Credit: Tesla

One of the most notable portions, for electric vehicle drivers at least, of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan is the introduction of a massive $12,500 EV tax credit that will be offered to those who choose to drive sustainable cars. Now, new language revisions in the bill could see the EV tax credit turn into a “refundable credit,” which would give those who drive EVs an opportunity to receive a refund check that would put cash in their pockets.

Following Teslarati’s report on the EV Tax Credit portion of the Build Back Better plan over the weekend, the language in the proposal has been revised to reflect a refundable tax credit scenario for those who purchase EVs. Previously, the tax credit was used precisely as a “credit” would work. If a U.S. tax filer owed money on their taxes but bought an EV, the credit would eliminate the balance the filer owes on their taxes but would not put money in the filer’s pocket directly.

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Now, this may change, as the new language in the bill states that the credit would now be able to be obtained by the filer. The excess credit would then be converted into a check and sent to the filer, putting the amount in the EV driver’s pocket. Previously, if someone owed $2,500 in taxes and bought an EV that offered a $7,500 tax credit, it would eliminate the $2,500 balance, but the remaining funds would not be given to the driver. Instead, the additional funds would be returned to the government.

The new language would change the scenario completely. If someone owes $2,500 in taxes and bought an EV that offers a $7,500 tax credit, the $2,500 balance would be eliminated, and the remaining $5,000 would be sent to the driver in a check. CNET first reported the changes.

The advantages of an actual refundable credit could bring more effectiveness to the EV tax credit program altogether. Instead of people losing out on the remaining credit that is returned back to the government following their tax balance being eliminated, they will now be able to put the remaining funds back into their pocket, which could lead to several advantages for the car buyer. They could use the credit to install a home charger or put the entire balance toward their car loan.

Additionally, language would now give disqualified automakers, like Tesla and GM, who have sold 200,000 EVs and cannot offer the credit, the opportunity to provide the refundable tax credit for up to five years. After the first five years, the credit will only be available to use by EVs that are manufactured in the United States. Currently, the language regarding vehicle type price caps, which applies to SUVs, Trucks, and Vans up to $80,000 and “other,” which includes sedans, sits at $55,000 and under, still is present in the bill.

Income limits have been lowered to $500,000 for joint families, $375,000 for the head of household, and $250,000 for individual filers. These are relatively drastic reductions, especially as single filers were eligible with incomes of up to $400,000, and joint filers were not disqualified until the $800,000 yearly income mark.

Finally, used EVs will now qualify if the vehicle is at least two years old, costs under $25,000, and the household has an income of less than $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

EV tax credit could become ‘refundable,’ putting cash in EV buyers’ pockets
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