Tax Commission Changes Credit For Electric Cars

Friday, September 18th 2009, 6:10 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6

UNDATED -- A lot of Oklahomans scrambled to buy electronic cars after they learned they could get some for practically free thanks to state and federal tax credits.  Now, they're wondering if they're going to get their money back next spring on their newly purchased car.  That's because the Oklahoma Tax Commission passed an emergency rule on Thursday.

Oklahoma has been giving a 50% tax credit on clean-burning vehicles since 1995, but combining that with a recent federal tax credit has some buyers paying practically nothing for an electric car.  That has the tax commission taking a second look at what's eligible.

It's a small car causing a big uproar.  The street-legal electric vehicles have become quite popular in Oklahoma thanks to federal and state tax credits.

"We can't keep them in stock," said Roger Gaddis with Ada Electric Cars.

But, it's the state tax credit of up to 50% of the purchase price that had the tax commission take a second look at the law.  On Thursday it clarified what kind of electric vehicle is eligible.

"If the car that the person is purchasing or the vehicle is more like a golf cart or is more of a sport utility vehicle, those will not be applicable for the credit," said Paula Ross with the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

So golf carts are not eligible for the credit.  But, the tax commission has approved at least three cars that are eligible:  the Wheego electric car, the Club Car Carryall 2, and the Club Car Carryall 6.

"We will try to work with the merchants and the consumers so they do know what will meet the criteria for the tax credit," said Paula Ross with the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

The quick change has some businesses upset.

GKU Electric Vehicles in Oklahoma City has this message on its website for its customers, calling it an unfortunate situation, but adding they are prepared for legal action and hope to get their customers on their side.

"It's been great for business," said Brian Jeffs with Justice Golf Car.

Brian Jeffs with Justice Golf Car says the tax credit has been wonderful for his business.  He has ordered more than 100 eligible cars just in the last few weeks.

"We have been overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed, that's pretty much all we're doing right now," said Brian Jeffs with Justice Golf Car.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission has a list of eligible vehicles on its website.