Tax Situationer for the Electric Car Revolution


There are two different scenarios that are currently playing all across America. With the second term of President Obama, the thrust on the further development of electric cars is further pushed to the forefront, to which the United States receives in different manners.

At the behest of Governor Bob McDonnell, a new proposal is being discussed at the State Legislature, proposing the state’s ‘stagnant’ gasoline tax to be replaced by a new sales tax (0.8 cents on the dollar), a new registration fee for every new car (US$15 per new vehicle), and a new annual fee for plug-in and hybrid cars (US$100 per vehicle).

His rationale is that the sales low gas tax, which has been pegged at 17.5 cents to a gallon since 1986, is not enough. The sales tax would benefit the transportation sector for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately, this shortsighted program fails to realize that the gas guzzlers would pay less to operate their vehicles, while at the same time penalizing those that opt to utilize more efficient modes of transport. This is also an indirect attack on the burgeoning electric car market yet at the same time protecting the interests of oil merchants and perpetuates oil dependency.

On another front, the recent fiscal cliff negotiations have produced positive results in the realm of green energy programs. Amongst them is the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit, or in layman’s terms, the US1,000 tax credit allotment for the installation of home electric vehicle charging stations. While this can be claimed still even for those installed in 2012, other improvements include extension of this credit to business and investment users to a maximum of thirty percent credit, or roughly US$30,000 per site.

The home charger, in order to be eligible, is dependent on the electric vehicle owned. Plug in hybrids and range extended EVs have smaller battery arrays in them and would require shorter charging times. On the other hand, full battery electric vehicles would have larger battery arrays so there is a need for quicker higher volume chargers.

Those that have availed of this credit and its incidents are advised to contact their tax advisors on how to best utilize the maximum benefit of this tax credit.

Clearly, there is a dichotomy in the landscape of the electric car revolution.