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Thousands wrongly claimed electric car tax credit

Taxpayers got $33 million in credits for vehicles that didn't qualify, including a Hummer.

By Teresa Mears Feb 3, 2011 6:04PM

This article is by Ken Thomas of The Associated Press.


Car companies are slowly rolling out rechargeable electric cars. But that didn't stop thousands of U.S. taxpayers, including prisoners and some IRS employees, from incorrectly claiming lucrative tax credits for the electric vehicles last year.


A Treasury Department inspector general report says nearly 13,000 taxpayers erroneously claimed about $33 million in credits for plug-in electric and alternative vehicles during the first six months of 2010. The inspector general says about 20% of the $163.9 million in credits provided to taxpayers were claimed in error.


President Barack Obama has pushed for 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015 and the tax breaks are part of that strategy. The government has offered numerous incentives to drum up interest in the vehicles, including a $7,500 tax credit for a plug-in electric drive motor vehicle and incentives for converting a car into a plug-in.


Auto companies are just beginning to mass market the vehicles. Since December, GM has sold 647 Chevrolet Volts, an electric car with a backup gasoline-powered engine.

During the same period, Nissan sold 106 versions of the Leaf, which is powered by a rechargeable battery.


But Treasury Department review found problems with thousands of taxpayers claiming the credits for cars that failed to qualify. For example, some car owners tried to claim the $7,500 credit for their Hummer H3, Dodge Durango or Cadillac Escalade. Someone claimed it for a golf cart.


The report said some IRS employees erroneously claimed the credits. They were referred to the department's Office of Investigations for further review.

Even prisoners tried to take advantage. The inspector general found that 29 prisoners received $49,926 in vehicle credits even though they were incarcerated throughout 2009.


The IRS agreed with a series of recommendations made by the inspector general to recover erroneous credits and to make changes to manuals and software systems to ensure that taxpayers don't claim vehicles that fail to qualify. The report said efforts by IRS management to reduce the incorrect claims helped the department protect $3.1 million in revenue.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Feb 3, 2011 7:50PM
So, find out who cheated and get the money back...... Why should anyone be allowed to get a $7,500  credit that they really didn't earn....???   If you know that many taxpayers cheated, then you should know who they are. So go get em'...      Like I believe that will happen....
Feb 3, 2011 10:00PM
So what's wrong with nuclear energy?  How many people have been injured in the US by nuclear power?  How many have died in coal mines?  Way more.....  Fusion is our only ultimate, long term salvation.  Unless, of course, you want to let China build more windmills for us, and make more money from us than we'll ever save from them.   So, yeah, let the environmentalists say that nuclear power will kill us all....  meanwhile, China is stealing our economy from us.  The environment doesn't matter all that much when you have no economy...

"Someone claimed it for a golf cart."


Someone? That was the best part of the scam! Everyone was buying golf carts. The government bought the carts , you'd sell them at half price and pocket  the money.

Golf cart companies were running ads all over Florida.


It's similar to the food card (stamp) program here in Washington. You give the store owner $100 credit from your card, you get $50 cash (but no groceries). (You get your groceries free at the food bank) and of course your marijuana is now paid for with tax payer dollars. Everybody wins. The store owner, the druggie and of course the dealer. (I think they call that a triple double in basketball).

Feb 4, 2011 8:53AM
Imagine that! A government program rife with waste and fraud! I'm shocked!

Lets grow government even bigger! Yay!

Mar 9, 2011 10:32PM
UV  The Volt has a motor....duh.  If the battery shows 22% charge when it gets to the lowest level allowed to prevent full discharge the gas motor kicks in seamlessly.  Whatta deal.  No Gas for the first 40, then 50 to 100MPG in overall range average.  This is a new century, out with the buggy whip gas guzzling SUV's.
Feb 3, 2011 8:43PM

There should not be tax credit for these "electric" vehicles anyway, as most are purchased by well-to-do buyers....


......and they will only place more stress on our outdated and deteriorating power grids, and worst yet, move towards building more Nuclear Plants.


Unless we're wrong, no one has still figured out what to do with the spent Nuclear Rods, which are increasing every year.


This is the environmental problem that has not been solved since the matter came to the public's attention back in the 70's.

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