Colorado residents who have signed up to buy a luxury electric sports car from Tesla Motors in 2009 will get to speed through a giant loop hole in the state’s tax code, and get a $42,083 tax credit over five years on the vehicle. But if you want to get in on the deal now, it’s probably too late — the credit is good for only 2009 tax returns, and Tesla has already sold most of the Roadsters available for this year.
Colorado Department of Revenue spokesperson Mark Couch tells the Colorado Daily that the credit was created back in 2000 — before Tesla was even founded — mainly to encourage residents to buy the hybrid versions of cars like the Toyota (s tm) Camry and Honda Civic (s hmc). Whoops.
For vehicles certified as ultra-low-emitting, like the hybrids, buyers can qualify for a credit worth 75 percent of the difference between the alt-fuel vehicle and the most similar conventional option. For zero-emitting vehicles like the Roadster, that credit jumps up to 85 percent of the difference in cost. So Colorado will step in to make up 85 percent of the difference between the $109,000 Roadster and its closest gas-fueled counterpart, a $47,000 Lotus Elise.
Payments for the Roadster are due at the start of production — about three months prior to delivery, according to Tesla’s web site — and taxes are due upon delivery. So your Roadster would already have to already be in the pipeline now.
The credit ends this year because, as more high-end hybrids and Tesla’s $109,000 Roadster came onto the market, Colorado legislators capped it at $6,000. But that cap doesn’t go into effect until 2010.