It is a widely held belief that there are only two sure things in life, “Death and taxes.” This post is about the latter. Like everyone on the planet, I am not a fan of taxes, but Tesla has given me a present this April 15th. A refund!
Let’s step back a bit. Business incentive rules passed after the 9/11 attacks allowed a $38,000 Federal tax deduction to be taken if you bought a Hummer H2 and used it for business purposes. This was a very difficult time for the nation and especially car companies. On a very personal note, I lost a friend on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the World Trade Center. For weeks I was in a fog. Consumer confidence eroded after 9/11, and car sales were especially hit hard. This program was put in place to stimulate the economy.
In as late as 2010, Japan labeled the Hummer H3 as “fuel efficient” and offered a 250,000 yen ($2,779) subsidy as part of their imported car rules. They buckled under pressure from General Motors who complained they were not being treated fairly as an importer to Japan.
The manner in which the Hummer vehicle was classified did not require GM to display MPG ratings on the sticker. Guess what Hummer owner’s number one complaint was after their purchase. It was that the vehicle really uses a lot of gas. Insert your own reaction here.
Back to the present day. My tax preparer shot me an email today and let me know that because of the $7,500 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit established by the Internal Revenue Service (Form 8910) I will receive a refund for 2013. Couple that with the $4,000 check the State of Illinois sent me last week and I am happy to report that the $11,750 subsidy is real.
The Hummer story aside, I’m thankful we have not had to live through another horrible 9/11 since then and our government is supporting the future of electric vehicle innovation. This subsidy is only available until Tesla sells 200,000 electric vehicles.
After many years in a row of having to write a check to the U.S. Treasury, I am getting a refund. It’s small, but every dollar counts.