What you should know about EV credits before buying a car in 2024



(Our Auto Expert) – As of January 1st, 2024, the Rules about Tax Credits for Electrified Vehicles changed.  So for consumers, what should you know when shopping?

The U.S. government has revamped its electric vehicle (EV) incentive program, introducing a paradigm shift in how buyers interact with the future of transportation. Starting January 1, 2024, those eyeing a new EV or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will be able to directly apply a federal tax credit to their purchase price at the dealership.

This change eliminates the traditional wait to claim it during tax filing, marking a significant stride towards a more electrified future. But it’s not just about ease of access. The credit amounts have also seen a substantial overhaul.

New EVs and PHEVs can now enjoy up to a $7,500 reduction, while used vehicles aren’t left behind, with a possible $4,000 off – a maximum of 30% of the sale price. However, this isn’t a free-for-all. The IRS has set specific modified adjusted gross income (AGI) limits for buyers, and those exceeding the cap might need to repay the incentive.

In a notable shift from previous policies, the full credit claim is no longer tied to the buyer’s total tax liability. This change opens doors for a broader demographic to embrace EVs, significantly boosting the potential for widespread adoption. However, the path to these incentives is now laced with stricter qualification criteria.

New vehicles must have at least 60% of their battery components manufactured or assembled in North America, a 10% increase from the previous requirement. Additionally, at least half of the battery pack’s critical minerals must meet specific sourcing standards.

These stringent requirements underscore a commitment to domestic production and ethical sourcing, aligning with broader economic and environmental goals. But not every EV or PHEV will make the cut. Vehicles assembled outside North America, those with less than 7.0 kilowatt-hours of battery capacity, and higher-end models like vans, SUVs, and pickups priced over $80,000, and cars above $55,000 are now out of the incentive loop.

The story for used vehicles is a bit different. The credit applies only at the first title transfer for vehicles at least two years older than the current model year. They must also have a battery capacity of at least 7.0 kilowatt-hours, weigh under 14,000 pounds, and be priced below $25,000. In a twist that adds complexity, vehicles that meet either the battery component or the critical mineral requirement, but not both, will see their credit halved.

This nuanced approach reinforces the importance of both domestic production and ethical mineral sourcing, but also raises the bar for manufacturers. As this sweeping policy takes effect, it’s clear that the U.S. is not just incentivizing EV adoption, but also shaping the very nature of vehicle manufacturing and supply chains.

For consumers, it’s a golden opportunity to leap into the future of motoring. But the road ahead is laden with new considerations – a challenge for both manufacturers and buyers alike. This isn’t just a policy shift; it’s a signpost of a rapidly evolving automotive landscape where sustainability, economics, and technology intersect in previously unimagined ways.  Only a Tax accountant can tell you what your tax liability is.



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