$250 Monthly Tax Benefit Bill For EV Drivers/Workers Introduced In Senate

OCT 12 2016 BY MARK KANE 67

 2017 Ford Focus Electric

2017 Ford Focus Electric:  Larger 33.5 kWh battery (~110 mile range) and a monthly tax credit sounds like a nice combo!

There is a chance for a pre-tax transportation benefit for EV drivers as US Senator Sherrod Brown has introduced a new bill allowing employers to give workers such a benefit.

EV charging at work

EV charging at work

S.3450 – A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include electric charging of certain vehicles as a qualified transportation fringe benefit excluded from gross income.

It would work similarly to traditional forms of transportation expenses, such as public transportation allowances, parking fees, and public transit passes.

For a plug-in vehicle to qualify for the benefit it would need to have at least 4 kWh of battery capacity on board (or at least 2.5 kWh in case of two and three-wheelers).

The value of the benefit could be up to $250 a month, or $3,000 a year.

source: S.3450 via Green Car Congress

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67 Comments on "$250 Monthly Tax Benefit Bill For EV Drivers/Workers Introduced In Senate"

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Fossil fuel industry will squash this bill.

Or anti-EV republicans in Congress, which seems odd to me, since I always thought they were about paying less taxes to the big, bad, government. I guess less taxes is OK, as long as it doesn’t involve EVs.

My thoughts completely! I have a Super Republican friend who always jabs at me for my electric cars, yet he has no answer when I mention how much more fiscally conservative I am than he is because I spend so much less per month on my transportation costs. And the same goes for the tax deductions/rebates- I mention to him how he should be singing praises for folks like me and Elon because we take advantage of the tax incentives available to us, which should be right in the Republican wheelhouse. Yet somehow it’s not.. because all things alternative energy = evil..

Don’t confuse the GOP with fiscal conservatism.

If you believe in lower taxes / lower government spending there isn’t a major party for you.

The two major parties are basically nascar drivers now, standing for nothing but winning, fueled by corporate sponsors.

I totally agree. I just enjoy pointing out that hypocrisy to those Republicans who selectively belief they are fiscal conservatives.

And I also agree that both parties are almost identical in their core ideologies, they simply have different platforms with the same end result.

I would call myself a Libertarian, which means there are portions of both parties platforms I like. So going into every presidency/congress change I try to look at the bright side. When Bush came into office, “Well at least we’ll get a balanced budget and focus on states rights”… LOL… nope. When Obama was elected, “Well at least we’ll get out of these foreign entanglements”… if anything we’re in deeper.
Like you said, they have different platforms, but the results are the same.

Sublime said “If you believe in lower taxes / lower government spending there isn’t a major party for you.” Yes and no. I’m glad you went on to talk about the Libertarians a bit, because that is the major party that believes in lower government spending and lower taxes. They don’t get a lot of press, but Gary Johnson (the Libertarian Presidential candidate this year) is polling around 8 – 10% which is AFAIK the highest the Libs have ever polled. It’s really too bad the press is conspiring with the commission on presidential debates (run by Ds and Rs) to keep all third party candidates out of the debates. Gary Johnson is around 10% without access to the debates, imagine what numbers he might pull if he got hours of free publicity to debate the other candidates in front of 80 million people. It’s also really ashame the people on both sides of this year’s election, those who typically vote either Democrat or Republican, don’t consider Gary Johnson more. I’m willing to bet there is a large percentage on both sides who will hold their noses in November and vote for the candidate of their party. If those folks… Read more »

You’ve convinced me. I’m in California which will definitely go Hillary. I will vote for Gary Johnson.

Excellent point you bring up. Most people don’t seem to know how the US presidential elections work, and they think their vote matters. No matter how you vote in CA, it will go to She-llery. One might as well throw it away on any candidate. It’s too bad Donald Duck isn’t on the ballot.

But I think EV folks are far more educated and remember stuff from school than the general population, though from some comments here, I have to wonder if some of them failed econ class. I suspect Tesla drivers to be among the top (ie, they have the money to buy expensive cars), with Leaf drivers to be the low end (ie, wasting 30 full minutes to get “free charging” while the car is charging at 2 kW out of 50 kW charger).

And of course, SparkEV drivers who got the car after researching would be the very top; it’s the best bang for the money! It’s so much value that PuPu thinks GM loses tons of money on each car. But those who stumbled on it by accident like me are probably only about average.

Gary Johnson smokes too much weed to remember what’s happening in Aleppo or any foreign leaders he admires. The Libertarian belief that the “free” market will solve everything utterly fails in the real world. Would the “free” market have prevented the Love Canal, or lake Erie catching on fire several times from the pollution in it, or the Ozone Hole, or leaded gasoline, Vioxx, etc.? Corporations by definition exist to maximize profits for their shareholders. There is no moral or even fiduciary requirement to look out of society as a whole or prevent external damages from happening. Government regulates their activity on behalf of the people in order to protect the people. If the government did not have the power to do something like ban CFCs and work with other governments to do the same for example, we would have blown way past the danger zone for ozone depletion before the market could react and the whole planet would have suffered the consequences for decades to centuries. And this suffering would have been orders of magnitude larger than the small difficulty of finding CFC replacements and stopping CFC production. Multiply this scenario by dozens of other maladies and it is… Read more »

If you saw him floundering in the one-on-one reporter interviews, think about how much he would suck in a debate, especially facing Trump. Trump is convinced of his lies, why so many Americans follow him. Hillary actually has answers, mostly which are correct (see Politifact). Gary Johnson unfortunately admits when he doesn’t know anything, and people see that as weakness, he would lose every debate, especially if he was asked questions first (which I would do as a moderator, if not for any other reason than to show him “See, you wanted to play with the big boys”).

It’s pretty silly to pick a President based on whether or not he knows the name of an obscure foreign city, or how well he would do in a pretend “debate” in which candidates spend most of their time parroting sound bites, punctuated by criticizing each other, instead of actually debating the issues.

I don’t plan to vote for the Libertarian candidate this year, because Hillary is the only one who can prevent an orangutan from becoming President. But in any year in which Republicans actually had a responsible and reasonable candidate for President, I’d be glad to vote for a man like Gary Johnson and the values he represents.

I agree with most of the Libertarian platform. It’s too bad that most of the people in the party are such intolerant and often even xenophobic extremists. I agree with the person who said “I thought I was a Libertarian, until I met a few.”

Sorry you feel that way. But if tolerance is your yardstick for a candidate, how on earth can you vote for a person who recently referred to tens of millions of americans as “a basket of deplorables” and “irredeemable?”

I would rather vote for the right person, the best person, even if that person has very little chance of winning, than cast my vote for “the lessor of two evils” especially when those two are both pretty darn evil. Men and women have fought and died to protect my right to cast that vote, and I believe casting it for either of those two clowns would be insulting to that sacrifice.

Rightofthepeople asked:

“…how on earth can you vote for a person who recently referred to tens of millions of americans as ‘a basket of deplorables’ and ‘irredeemable?’ ”

Very easily, given the alternatives.

Refusing to vote for Hilary because she once said something that’s politically regrettable would be pretty stupid. It would be a rather extreme case of “the perfect driving out the good”.

Both parties have become corrupt, Bernie was right, we need a revolution and only the juvenile narcissist Trump can give us that. So hold your nose and vote for Trump. Maybe the parties will get the message and give us good candidates. Unfortunately, the corrupt Democratic machine will probably win.

We’re veering way off the topic of the EV charging tax credit, but I need to address this. The whole “both parties are the same” schtick is nonsense. It’s these kinds of beliefs that could have allowed Trump to waltz into the Oval Office much like how Brexit is tearing apart the U.K. because of voter apathy (plus a lot of lies and a media that was ill-equipped to counter them). Both parties don’t cater to white supremacists, know-nothings and bigots. Both parties don’t deny climate change and do nothing to stop it. Both parties aren’t completely satisfied with what Citizens United did to our political system and are doing nothing to stop it. This false balance everybody tries to flatter their intellect with is just detached from reality. The balanced budgets and vanishing national debt Clinton handed to GWB was nothing like the sea of red ink and collapsing economy GWB handed to Obama. And there’s just no friggin way a President McCain or President Romney’s policies would have produced the job growth and deficit reduction we’ve seen over the past 8 years. One party has been taken over by right-wing extremists churned into a frenzy by Faux “News”… Read more »

Wow. And I thought my rant was overtly political! You definitely get that award. I very strongly disagree with basically everything you said, but good for you for having passion about your beliefs.

This heavily biased political comment brought to you via your typical media fed proponent. 🙂

Really??? You present nothing but an ad hominem attack without even trying to present your side? So the Party of Trump hasn’t attracted the racists and bigots into its coalition? The GOP doesn’t deny climate change? They have actually done something to stem the corruption caused by Citizens United?

On what point(s) do you think I’m wrong?

Everything he said is factual. Please refute any of it. I’m genuinely interested.

Thank you for taking the time to make my point… at least half of it. Just a matter of time before a Fox News watcher comes in to finish the job.

It’s really a shame there isn’t a major party for fiscal conservatives that aren’t also white nationalists. Unlike racism, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being fiscally conservative.

Maybe a new sane party will arise from the ashes of the current Republican party.

Let’s create one.. The Fiscally Conservative party. In all seriousness, I would like to see this happen too.

I’m go along with fiscal conservatism if it means we cut the defense budget by 25%. That alone would pay for all the social programs and EV programs, with money to spare.

Kdawg, I’m all for cutting defense by 25% as long as that is part of an overall reduction in federal spending that helps us balance our budget and eventually pay down the debt. HOWEVER, your statement that “that would pay for all social programs” is simply not true. I would consider Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to be social programs, would hope you agree. According to downsizinggovernment.org our defense spending makes up only 15% of the 2016 federal budget. While the democrats and media spread the lie that it is a majority of the budget, the fact remains it is a relatively small part. OTOH, Social Security (24%), Medicare (15%), and Medicaid (9%) combined make up almost half (48%) of the federal budget. Those numbers will continue to grow as our population ages, squeezing out everything else and/or forcing us to borrow more and more until the system finally collapses (and yes I am wearing my tin foil hat, thank you). So if you are going to support a cut in defense spending of 25%, I hope you would also support money saving reforms to all entitlement and welfare programs which combined account for the majority of our federal spending… Read more »

Social security is paid by yourself. And I’m talking about discretionary spending, not mandatory spending. 54% of which is for the Military at $600 billion.

Yes SS and Medicare are paid by individuals, just like every other tax. That means nothing. We are talking about federal spending, all federal spending. The term discretionary has been used by democrats and republicans alike to manipulate the mindset of the american people when it comes to our federal budget. It sounds as if you have bought into the lie that all “non-discretionary” spending is somehow mandatory and untouchable. This of course includes SS, Medicare, and Medicaid. That is simply hogwash. Those programs were created by men, and they can legally be changed or even eliminated by our elected officials who should serve the best interests of the people. Since those programs eat away at nearly half our total federal budget and continue to grow, it seems logical they should be changed and their growth controlled as quickly as possible. The other reason I dislike the term discretionary spending is that it lumps defense spending into discretionary. So based on that view, we aren’t allowed to touch SS, Medicare, and Medicaid (b/c they are non-discretionary) but we are free to cut defense. Even though “provide for the common defense” is one of the few constitutionally mandated roles our federal… Read more »
“Yes SS and Medicare are paid by individuals, just like every other tax. That means nothing.” ———– I pay for social security & medicare, with the notion I will get it (some) back, when I retire. Think of it like a 401k. When income taxes are collected to be spent on discretionary items (military being one of them), I don’t ever expect to see that money again. It’s like giving money to your neighbor, so he can buy a computer for college, or giving it to the government so they can buy a fighter jet. It’s gone forever from your hands. I also put social programs above military programs regarding spending, because I think we need to focus on our domestic issues more. Taking care of our citizens directly, helping them with things that are actually happening, makes more sense to me, than spending money to “protect” them from something that may happen. Basically return the money back to the people. That’s why I also am for most types of infrastructure spending. It creates jobs locally and benefits us locally. In a nutshell, I don’t think we need more aircraft carriers, when we have large amounts of people going hungry… Read more »

Interesting. Well whether you consider spending discretionary or not, our federal government now spends a total of $4 Trillion dollars a year, almost half of which goes to those programs you like (SS, Medicare, Medicaid). So considering how much money our government is taxing its citizens and spending on those programs, and considering we still have people going hungry etc, what is the solution?

We are still borrowing a large chunk of what we spend each year, and surely you agree we can’t borrow unlimited amounts of money forever. So should we just raise taxes even more to cover what we are already spending, which clearly isn’t enough if the goal is to end all hunger, pay for all school, fund medical coverage for everyone, and whatever else we decide “the government” should now provide for its citizens? I’m seriously asking you, should we raise taxes another trillion or so dollars to eliminate the current deficit? I would favor a dramatic reduction in spending across the board, on all programs including defense, but what are your thoughts?

Cut the military budget by 25%

“I pay for social security & medicare, with the notion I will get it (some) back, when I retire. Think of it like a 401k.”

This is a fallacy. SS was never meant to be like 401K where the money is reserved for you. Whatever you pay into it is spent right away and IOU is left. When you retire, hope is that IOU will mean something.

SS is a giant Pyramid scheme where younger workers pay for older retirees, and when the bottom cannot sustain it, the whole thing will collapse. That’s a problem, because people are living longer and baby boomers are taking significant chunk of younger earner’s SS payments. Then the reserve will dwindle to nothing (cannot cash that trillons in IOU) when younger earners are ready to retire.

401K OTOH is money you control. Expectation is that the money will grow. If it doesn’t, you put it to investments that will. In most cases money grows; even putting in simple savings would preserve the principle, unlike SS that’s practically guaranteed to lose money for most of today’s workers.

Key word… “like”.

I was using it as a metaphor.

I believe Social Security WAS meant to pay for itself – not never. Unfortunately our larcenous politicians began spending the SS funds on their their own boondoggles in order to buy votes.

Kdawg, I don’t see SS anything remotely like 401K. SS is you giving up money to be lost and can’t see it until “retirement age”. 401K is savings you control to gain value, and you can borrow / take distributions at any time (though with 10% penalty before retirement age). I don’t see the metaphor between the two.

Kdawg said:

“I’m go along with fiscal conservatism if it means we cut the defense budget by 25%.”

I’d advocate cutting that by between 33% and 50%, but certainly a 25% cut would be a very big step in the right direction!

When our military is so strong that it encourages Presidents to engage in wars of choice, rather than necessity; and furthermore, when those wars of choice get us caught in endless tribal warfare with no solution in sight; then our military is much too strong for our own good. It’s making us less safe, not more safe, to have a military this strong!

Stimpy said:

“It’s really a shame there isn’t a major party for fiscal conservatives that aren’t also white nationalists. Unlike racism, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being fiscally conservative.”

Oh, plus infinity!

My last girlfriend described herself as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal”. I think there are a great many people like her, and in fact I fit into that category better than either traditional Democrat or Republican.

Is it too much to hope that the current collapse of the Republican party will be followed by the rise of a new party that actually appeals to moderates?

Well, we can always dream, can’t we? I may be a cynic, but…

“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” — George Carlin

Fiscally conservative and socially liberal is basically Libertarian. You PP, like many people who likely don’t know it, probably identify much more as a Libertarian than either a democrat or republican.

Which brings me to your previous comment about the perfect driving out the good. That would imply that you think Hillary is, in fact, good. She’s not. She’s not anything remotely resembling good. Neither is the Donald.

BTW I wanted to reply to that comment of yours directly, but there was no reply button. I believe the forum may be giving me a not so subtle hint here. :-0

I absolutely agree. It’s a money game. Yet it doesn’t change the fact that one party has a progressive platform and legislative agenda I can live with, and the other doesn’t come remotely close.

This sounds like a tax deduction, not a tax credit. In that case the net value of it would be worth far less than $250/month, more like $50/month. Needs clarification, obviously.

Chris, you’re thinking is right, from the individual income tax point of view, but not exactly precise. Better than a deduction, it would be an exclusion, such that the company providing the fringe benefit won’t pay tax on the value of the benefit.

Actually, it’s like a bus/transit pass. If your company pays/reimburses you for it, it not considered taxable income.
If they pay for your charging at/near work, it will not be taxable income. It has no tax benefit to the employer.

I’m with you. I don’t know what everyone else is talking about 🙂

Presently, if your employer provides you with free electric charging, it is technically a fringe benefit that would show up as taxable income.

It appears that this would allow the company to provide charging and it would be a non-taxable fringe benefit. It would not show up as income.

So it is the equivalent to a tax deduction.

Equivalent to a tax deduction for which you don’t need to itemize.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/3450

The title defines it. It’s really an attempt to simplify the provision of workplace charging.

So is charging your phone at work considered a taxable fringe benefit?

Although bill S.3450 may be well intended all it does is further complicate an already complicated tax code. Most workplaces that have EV chargers made available to its employees provide those chargers free of charge on a first-come-first-serve basis without complicated metering & reporting; basically just an outlet to plug into. This bill if passed will deter businesses to provide employees with workplace EV chargers because the employer would be compelled to meter/tabulate/tax-report all employee charging use. The bill would be more useful is it simply stated that all employer provider EV charging is a a non-taxable event requiring no reporting.

Totally agree. Why shouldn’t charging employees cars be billed/taxed any different than the electricity used to provide air conditioning or run elevators?
Hey, but then what would companies like SemaConnect do with the politicians they paid for?

Because your commuting miles to your main workplace are not considered miles driven for work. Workplace charging of commuter miles is like being given a gas card by your employer and using it to pay for the fuel you use on the commute.

Workplace charging for miles driven _for_ work wouldn’t be taxable.

This is an attempt to make a _very_ generous exception to help encourage electrification by further encouraging workplace charging.

The potential negative side-effects would be to encourage people to choose PHEVs that can’t cover their whole commute in EV mode even where there are other reasonable options that would; to charge at work instead of charging at home; to live farther from work instead of closer to work.

I think they could have framed the rules differently.

https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/federal-state-local-governments/de-minimis-fringe-benefits

No, charging a cell phone is not a taxable benefit.

This amendment, in effect, _increases_ the charging benefit allowed so if an employer isn’t already treating it as a taxable benefit, they still won’t have to.

$175 is a lot of electricity. However, the introduction of long-range BEVs means that employers in areas with very high electricity costs might need to do some basic accounting of charging. PHEVs and short-range BEVs shouldn’t have a problem.

You make it sound like tracking charging would be a big deal, it’s not. All the existing commercial EVSEs have RFID tracking and billing, and all they would need to do is provide a yearly report to users in addition to their monthly bill.

I wonder where the $250 number comes from? It seems kind of generous. Where I work, you get a reserved space with a dedicated L1 outlet for $20/mo, and to get your full $20 worth of electricity (not counting the value of the dedicated space) you would have to use it 8 hrs/day 20 days/mo.

Maybe some of it is meant to pay for installation and O&M.

This could explain why Toyota is considering making the Prius PHEV only…

That’s a very cynical view. 😉 It’s more likely because of the trajectory of cost and capability.

Think the opposite. It could explain why the politician wants to make charging the PHEV eligible for tax-free income treatment. In my experience, Toyota and GM are the “one, two” who show up first at the lobby table. This time, it could be Chargepoint?

$250? Even at .$50/kwh you’d have a hard time spending that, unless you’re using your car >~60 miles per day, 21 days/month, etc.

Be nice if Congress would simply pass a budget when it’s required.

To the topic of this article, it will not pass, and should not.

I wish congress would just stop giving tax breaks and money to big OIL. Then an Electric would not need any incentives or tax breaks.

I agree, this would be the best incentive possible for quicker EV/PHEV adoption.

I’d just be happy if Georgia would stop taxing me for NOT using oil.

And Washington State too.

Sublime, in Polk county Florida it costs $19 million per mile to build a 2 lane road without sidewalks and traffic lights. Find out how much it costs per mile in your community.

Jim, this legislation is actually an attempt to give EV’s the same business tax benefits that gas cars currently enjoy under existing tax code.

That is a goal that should make sense to everybody.

While I would benefit from this I don’t think it’s appropriate. Taking the train or bus is usually much less than $250/mo not to mention in a lot of cases more environmentally and traffic friendly than driving by yourself in your own EV.

Let’s be clear about what this bill is attempting to resolve. Currently with ICE cars, companies can give their employees a gas card to pay for gas. Because the company gets a receipt of each gas purchase, the company can subtract the gas purchases directly off of their profits, and reduce their taxable income. If you make a company $1000 in profits a week, and burn $100 in gas, you actually reduce their profits to $900 and reduce their federal taxes by $35 dollars, and reduce any state and/or local taxes. With gas, it is not considered an employee benefit under the tax law, and it never shows up in payroll for the employee. Under current law, charging an electric car at an employee’s home cannot be handled the same way, because there is no direct receipt for just the electricity a person uses to charge their car. The electricity bill is all billed together. The IRS won’t allow businesses to submit guestimates, or unmeasured splits on electric bills. That means companies who want to pay for electricity for an electric car that is charged at home, they must make it an employee benefit, and taxes have to be paid… Read more »

This Bill does nothing for home charging.
“(E) Charging of a qualified electric vehicle provided on or near the business premises of the employer.”

Nix said:

“This bill appears to be an attempt to resolve this inequity between how the current tax laws discriminate against fueling work vehicles with electricity instead of gas.”

Right.

I hope that any opposition to this bill expressed in comments here is caused by a lack of understanding the issue, because otherwise, opposition shows a pretty strong anti-EV bias.

I really think they shouldn’t give out a Tax break like this. But should take the $250 dollars per driver and divert it into the Federal Highway Trust Fund to balance it out.

This would avoid the Republicans crying bloody murder that only the gas tax supports the highway trust fund.

Sorry, but that’s just too small of a battery. Maybe the minimum should be a 12kWh battery to qualify because that size is miniscule.

So I like the concept, but the numbers are all wacked out.

4kWh is too low.

It needs to be raised to at least 10kWh for light duty passenger vehicles.