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E-motorcycle and e-bicycle tax credits boosted in Build Back Better Act

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On November 19, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, sending the bill to the Senate to for discussions over the $1.1 trillion infrastructure omnibus. In the version that cleared the House hurdle, the Washington Post reported there are provisions to increase the federal tax credits for electric motorcycles and electric bicycles to 30% of the purchase price, with some qualifications and exclusions, of course. Since the 2017 tax year, there’s been a 10% credit for electric motorcycles that can go at least 45 miles per hour, capped at $2,500. That credit expires at the end of 2021 unless Congress extends it again. In the new bill, the credit for e-motorcycles is capped at $7,500, the credit for e-bikes capped at $900.

That means a buyer would need to spend at least $25,000 on an electric motorcycle and $3,000 on an electric bicycle to gain the maximum benefit. Electric three-wheelers are classified with electric motorcycles at the higher limit with regard to the eligible credit. Among the qualifications, E-motos must have a battery capacity of at least 2.5-kWh, be able to go at least 45 mph, and be designed for use on “public streets, roads, and highways.” Electric dirt bikes are locked out. As for e-bikes, those that cost more than $3,000 don’t qualify for any credit; nor do those with motors more powerful than 750 watts; also excluded are e-bicycles that can go more than 20 miles per hour without the rider pedaling, and e-bicycles that can go more than 28 miles per hour with the rider pedaling. The final major exclusion is income, a primary caveat placed in several versions of bills so far that aims to ensure credits go to buyers who need them most. Once a tax filer makes more than $75,000 per year, every $1,000 of modified gross income above that number drops the eligible credit by $200.

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The Biden administration wants to get the bill passed before the end of of the year, but it has a long way to go before potential passage. Having passed the House, it’s with the Senate now for consideration. However, numerous Republicans and at least two Democrats are opposed to provisions in the 2,135-page bill, and it has no chance of passing without getting Democrat on-side or getting a few Republicans to cross the aisle. If you have nothing to do until Christmas and want to know what’s potentially in store, you can read the latest version of the Build Back Better Act here.

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