Tax Breaks Back For Electric-Car Charging Stations, Natural-Gas Cars, Through End Of Year

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MetLife electric-car charging station for employee use - Johnstown, Pennsylvania

MetLife electric-car charging station for employee use - Johnstown, Pennsylvania

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It's the end of another Congressional session, which means that a budget extension bill has now been rushed through and is likely to be signed.

Called The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771), it contains special provisions, rule tweaks, and concessions for many, many, many different constituencies.

It extends more than 50 provisions of the tax code that expired at the end of 2013 or this year--and there's good news for green-car advocates buried in the fine print.

DON'T MISS: In Just One Year, Electric Cars Have Gotten Cleaner: How'd They Do That?

Congress has now extended the tax credit for installation of electric-car charging stations through the end of 2014. (A charging station is technically known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, or EVSE.)

Individuals can deduct 30 percent of the cost of purchasing and installing an EVSE up to $1,000, according to Jay Friendland, Plug-In America's senior policy adviser.

Businesses can deduct the same 30 percent, but up to $30,000.

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with charging station visible; photo by George Parrott

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The tax credit applies to any system placed into service by December 31--that's 12 days from now, so shop today--and is retroactive to January 1 of this year.

Language specifying the credit is contained in the Alternative Refueling Tax Credit section of IRS Section 30(C).

Advocacy groups had also sought the restoration of a tax credit applying to the purchase of an electric motorcycle; that provision did not survive into the final bill.

ALSO SEE: Will Georgia's $5,000 Electric-Car Tax Credit Be Axed In 2015?

Plug-In America, it said, worked alongside many other advocacy groups, automakers, electric-motorcycle companies, EVSE vendors, and a host of other constituencies to lobby for the tax-credit extensions.

There's also good news for advocates of natural-gas vehicles.

The Fuel-Tax Credit for natural gas has been extended, a credit or payment of $0.50 cents per gallon-equivalent on natural gas when used as a transportation fuel.

Clean Energy Fuels natural gas refueling station Long Beach, California.

Clean Energy Fuels natural gas refueling station Long Beach, California.

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And installation of natural-gas refueling equipment gets support too, with provisions identical to those for EVSEs: a $1,000 credit for home refueling appliances, and a 30-percent investment tax credit up to $30,000 for businesses.

Extension of these provisions shows "continued support in the Congress for natural gas as a transportation fuel," according to Matthew Godlewski, president of advocacy group NGVAmerica.

"We look forward to working with the new Congress on long-term measures that accelerate the industry.”

MORE: Why Aren't Natural Gas-Powered Long-Haul Semi Trucks Selling Better?

NGVAmerica noted, however, that Congress had not addressed the current disparity between tax rates on diesel fuel and liquified natural gas (LNG).

Today, LNG is taxed at a higher rate than diesel fuel, working against its adoption as a cleaner fuel for the heavy-truck market.

NGVAmerica is encouraged, it said, that a measure to fix that disparity is "in the mix" for any future broader tax-revision bill.

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