One way that governments incentivize people to make environmentally sound decisions is to create incentives. Tax credits are one of the most popular ways to do that. In recent years, the federal government has had great success in offering tax credits to Americans with electric vehicles.


The tax credits have been an ongoing program for several years, now. Originally, they were scheduled to expire at the end of 2015. At first, an extension was announced for 2016. The problem with the extension was that it came very late in the year, in December. In more recent years, the extensions that are announced have typically been retroactive. That means they bridge the gap between the expiration of the credit and the date of the extension.


The most recent extension was announced in December 2019, and it, too, is retroactive. This is great news for anyone who’s invested in electric vehicle technology recently. Prior to this measure, no one who bought an EV in 2018 or 2019 was eligible for a tax credit. The current credit extension is good through 2020. This is great news for budget-conscious and eco-conscious consumers.


At different times, these extensions have covered different things. One goal of the Trump Administration was to increase sales for American-made vehicles. That meant Tesla and Toyota were the only cars to get an electric vehicle credit. Since then, changes have been made so that foreign-made and used vehicles are also eligible for credits. Anyone who has purchased an electric vehicle during 2018 or 2019 is encouraged to consider filing an amended tax return. In addition to passenger cars, many of the accessories needed for electric vehicles are covered.


For example, anyone who installs a charger for their electric vehicle is also eligible for a credit. Credits for motorcycles, recreational vehicles and other fuel cell technology have also been announced. The amounts for these credits varies from $1,000 to $4,000. While these incentives are a great measure for consumers, industry experts have been frustrated by the way they’ve been implemented. It’s been criticized as a patchwork style system. The feeling is that a tax on carbon emissions would be a great push factor in getting more people to adopt electric vehicle technology.