Virginia proposes state-tax rebate up to $3,500 for electric-car purchase

Virginia State Capitol, Skip Plitt/C'ville Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Virginia State Capitol, Skip Plitt/C'ville Photography [CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Virginia is for lovers—and it may soon be for lovers of electric cars and plug-in hybrids, too.

Virginia House Delegate David A. Reid [D-32nd] has proposed a bill, expected to hit the House floor Wednesday, that would see buyers of electric vehicles receive a state-tax rebate of up to $3,500.

Currently, Virginia's green-car incentives are limited to HOV-lane access privileges, emissions exemptions (for obvious reasons), and fuel-tax exemptions for certain groups in the state.

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The bill—House Bill No. 469—stipulates 10 percent of the purchase price or the whole cost of the lease term of an electric vehicle to be given to buyers as a tax credit, but it caps the amount of the credit at $3,500.

Qualifying vehicles include any "propelled to a significant extent by an electric motor" that can recharge a battery exceeding 4 kilowatt-hours from an external source.

The bill also maps out a continuation of the tax credit until January 1, 2023, or until 20 percent or more vehicles registered in the state are electric vehicles.

Driving a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV from Virginia to Missouri, June 2017 [photo: Bill Massmann]

Driving a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV from Virginia to Missouri, June 2017 [photo: Bill Massmann]

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While certain vehicles may qualify, owners may not depending on their individual state-tax circumstances. Prospective buyers should consult a tax professional.

However, if you do qualify for the credit, you have three years from the time you register the vehicle in Virginia to claim it on your state tax return.

Also, residents may be able to buy a qualifying vehicle in another state and still qualify, as long as they register the new vehicle in Virginia within 30 days.

State incentives for purchase and operation of plug-in electric cars vary enormously, from none at all to the valuable carpool-lane access and $1,500 or $2,500 purchase rebates offered in California.

CHECK OUT: In an ideal world, this is how electric-car tax credits should work

Some states provide income-tax credits, including the proposed Virginia incentive, while others use the more effective purchase rebate (or "check in the mail").

Recent experiments have allowed some states' rebates to be deducted directly from the purchase price of the car, reducing the amount a buyer must finance.

The advocacy group Plug In America has a useful map of plug-in electric car incentives in all 50 states.

[hat tip: Lanny Hartmann]


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