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Loophole: How Ineligible Electric Cars Can Still Qualify for $7,500 Tax Credit

Recent changes to federal regulations deemed certain electric vehicles no longer eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit. However, a loophole has been spotted that restores eligibility to nearly any EV, whether from Tesla or other automakers.

After the list of EVs qualifying for the full credit was cut significantly last month, some have discovered a simple loophole that renders almost every EV eligible. As CNET reports, those who purchase the vehicles through a lease agreement gain access to the full $7,500 tax credit as the vehicles are instead recategorized as “commercial vehicles.”

Currently, only about a dozen EVs qualify for credit eligibility when purchased outright, due to regulations requiring at least half of the battery components be made in North America. EVs with at least 40 percent critical minerals sourced in the U.S. are eligible for a reduced $3,750 credit.

However, cars purchased through a lease agreement are technically owned by the entity leasing them, making them commercial vehicles in the eyes of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Kelley Blue Book Executive Editor Brian Moody detailed how this could result in lower monthly payments from certain OEMs, instead of getting credits back at tax time. “Because the car is still owned by the lessor, they’re the one who can claim the credit,” Moody said. “If you’re leasing an EV because you want a lower payment, be sure to ask about it up front.”

While Tesla doesn’t offer a discount on leased vehicles, the loophole can still be used to purchase those previously made ineligible by the updated IRS regulations. These include the base-level and Long Range Model 3 trim options. The Tesla Model Y is available for the full tax credit, no matter which trim you select.

Below is a list of the other EVs which are eligible for the full and reduced tax credits, even without purchasing through a lease (via CNET).

EVs Eligible for $7,500 Tax Credit

  • 2022-2023 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid
  • 2022-2023 Ford F-150 Lightning (standard and extended range)
  • 2022-2023 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring
  • 2022-2023 Tesla Model 3 (performance)
  • 2022-2023 Tesla Model Y (all variants)
  • 2023 VW ID 4 (all variants)
  • 2023-2024 Cadillac Lyriq
  • 2022-2023 Chevrolet Bolt (EV and EUV)
  • 2024 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2024 Chevrolet Blazer
  • 2024 Chevrolet Equinox

EVs Eligible for $3,750 Tax Credit

  • 2022 Ford e-Transit
  • 2022 Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid
  • 2022-2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E (standard and extended range)
  • 2022-2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee PHEV 4xe
  • 2022-2023 Jeep Wrangler PHEV 4xe
  • 2022 Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring
  • 2022-2023 Tesla Model 3 (base model and long range)
  • 2022-2023 Rivian R1S
  • 2022-2023 Rivian R1T

Originally posted on EVANNEXWritten by Peter McGuthrie.

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