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With over 20 years of management experience, David Defrance & Associates located in Midland, TX offers that experience for individual and business services as well as being a leading consulting firm in West Texas.

Vehicle Tax Credits

Vehicle tax credits: Not just for hybrids anymore

Move over hybrids - buyers of Volkswagen and Mercedes diesel vehicles now qualify for the valuable alternative motor vehicle tax credit. Previously, the credit had gone only to hybrid vehicles. Now, the IRS has qualified certain VW and Mercedes diesels as "clean" as a hybrid.

Qualifying vehicles

The IRS has designated the following diesel-powered vehicles as advanced lean-burning technology motor vehicles that qualify for the alternative motor vehicle tax credit.

  • The 2009 VW Jetta TDI sedan and TDI sportwagen models; and
  • The 2009 Mercedes-Benz GL320, R320 and ML320 Bluetec models.

 The credit amounts vary depending on the vehicle's fuel economy. The credit amounts for each vehicle are as follows:

  • 2009 VW Jetta TDI sedan and TDI sportwagen: $1,300 credit;
  • 2009 Mercedes ML320 Bluetec: $900;
  • 2009 Mercedes R320 Bluetec: $1,550; and
  • 2009 GL320 Bluetec: $1,800.

VW's diesels went on sale in August, while the Mercedes Bluetec models are expected to go on sale beginning this October.

The alternative motor vehicle tax credit, generally

The alternative motor vehicle tax credit is a lucrative tax credit for purchasers of qualifying automobiles. But, just as the situation is with hybrids, the full amount of the credit for each vehicle is available only during a limited period. The dollar value of the tax credit will begin to be reduced once the manufacturer sells 60,000 vehicles that qualify for the tax credit. Additionally, the credit is available only to the original purchaser of a new, qualifying vehicle. As such individuals who lease the vehicle are not eligible for the credit - the credit is allowed only to the vehicle's owner, such as the leasing company.

Taxpayers may claim the full amount of the allowable credit up to the end of the first calendar quarter after the quarter in which the manufacturer records its sale of the 60,000th advance lean burn technology motor vehicle or hybrid passenger automobile or light truck. For the second and third calendar quarters after the quarter in which the 60,000th vehicle is sold, taxpayers may claim 50 percent of the credit. For the fourth and fifth calendar quarters, taxpayers may claim 25 percent of the credit. No credit is allowed after the fifth quarter.

The credit - as Congress has allotted so far - may only be taken for qualified vehicles purchased before the end of 2010.


If and only to the extent that this publication contains contributions from tax professionals who are subject to the rules of professional conduct set forth in Circular 230, as promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, the publisher, on behalf of those contributors, hereby states that any U.S. federal tax advice that is contained in such contributions was not intended or written to be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by the Internal Revenue Service, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer for such purpose.