The federal government offers a tax rebate of up to $7,500 to buyers of certain electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). But the rules that govern the credits are changing quickly thanks to a new law and an evolving set of regulations that carry the law out. The IRS, however, has brought some clarity to the process. The agency has released a list of new cars that may qualify for the tax credit.
Yes, “may.” Unfortunately, the question still isn’t simple. Income limits apply — rebates are limited to individuals reporting adjusted gross incomes of $150,000 or less on taxes, $225,000 for those filing as head of household, and $300,000 for joint filers. So do price caps, which can mean some examples of a particular make and model qualify while others don’t. The new incentives restrict qualifying vehicles to low-emissions trucks, SUVs, and vans with manufacturer’s suggested retail prices of up to $80,000 and cars up to $55,000. So, a Ford
F-150 Lightning Pro, with its $55,974 sticker price, may qualify for the rebate. An F-150 Lightning Platinum, with its $96,874 sticker, will not. And a mid-level Lightning Lariat (starting price $74,474) may, depending on whether you select options that keep the price under that $80,000 line. The law also requires that cars be assembled in North America, which rules out some popular vehicles. Hyundai and Kia, for instance, currently build their electric cars only in Asia. The companies, however, have joined a list of automakers moving some production to the U.S. to ensure their customers can qualify for the rebate. Also see: Leased electric vehicles are added to select $7,500 tax incentives that kick in Jan. 1Technocratic rules produce some weird cases The list, for the most part, looks like industry analysts expected it to look. But applying a law requires government …