A highly-touted tax credit in the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act is meant to incentivize Americans to purchase clean and electric vehicles. The bottom line, however, is that practically speaking YOU CAN’T GET IT.
Why few credits will be seen
As the new legislation is currently written, nearly all the electric vehicles sold today do not qualify for the new credit that begins in 2023. This is because:
- The vehicle must be manufactured in North America AND
- Powered by batteries with materials sourced in either the U.S. or from free trade partners AND
- If by some stroke of luck you find a new vehicle that qualifies, the price must be below $55,000 for a sedan and $80,000 for a van, truck or SUV.
Tax code as behavior modification
The new electric vehicle tax credit is a classic example of the continued shift from using income taxes to pay for federal spending to using the tax code to get us to do what the government wants. In this case:
- The government is trying to get manufactures to shift sourcing away from countries like China.
- The government wants to motivate the creation of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
- The government wants to incentivize the manufacturing of lower-priced electric vehicles.
What this means for you
What this means for the average consumer is little to anything…right now. If you have your sights set on getting a clean or electric vehicle, make the decision without the influence of the credit. If maximizing the credit is important for you, you now need to pay attention to income limits and will need to wait for some time to see if the credit influences manufacturers to change their sourcing and assembly plans.