Proposed regulations spell out the critical mineral and battery component requirements of the new clean vehicle credit, while also clarifying several other components of the credit. The proposed regs, along with modified Frequently Asked Questions on the IRS website, largely adopt previous IRS guidance, including Rev. Proc. 2022-42, Notice 2023-1, and Notice 2023-16. Similarly, the critical minerals and battery component regs largely adopt the White Paper the Treasury Department released last December.
However, the proposed regs also:
- detail the income and price limits on the credit,
- prohibit multiple taxpayers from dividing the credit for a single vehicle, and
- coordinate the credit with other credits.
The regs are generally proposed to apply to vehicles placed in service after April 17, 2023, but taxpayers may rely on them for vehicles placed in service before that date. Comments are requested.
Critical Minerals Requirement
For purposes of the $3,750 credit for a qualified vehicle that satisfies the critical minerals requirement, the proposed regs provide a three-step process for determining the percentage of the value of the applicable critical minerals in a battery:
- 1. Determine the procurement chain for each critical mineral.
- 2. Identify qualifying critical minerals.
- 3. Calculate qualifying critical mineral content.
The proposed regs define relevant terms, including “procurement chain,” “criticalminerals,” “criticalmineral content,” “extraction,” “processing,” “constituent materials,” “recycling,” and “value added.”
For vehicles placed in service in 2023 and 2024, the proposed regs consider a critical mineral to meet the test if at least 50 percent of the value added by extracting, processing or recycling the mineral is due to extraction, processing or recycling in the U.S. or a country with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement in effect. The proposed regs identify the following countries as ones with a free trade agreement in effect with the U.S.: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, and Singapore. The regs also propose criteria for identifying additional countries, such as the factors that are part of the Critical Minerals Agreement (CMA) the U.S. recently entered into with Japan.
Battery Component Requirement
For purposes of the $3,750 credit for a qualified vehicle that satisfies the battery components requirement, the proposed regs provide a four-step process for determining the percentage of the value of the battery components in a battery:
- 1. Identify components that are manufactured or assembled in North America.
- 2. Determine the incremental value of each battery component and North American battery component.
- 3. Determine the total incremental value of battery components.
- 4. Calculate the qualifying battery component.
The credit does not apply if the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for the credit year or, if less, the previous year exceeds a limit based on filing status. The proposed regs clarify that if the taxpayer’s filing status changes during this two-year period, this test applies the MAGI limit for each year based on the taxpayer’s filing status for that year.
The proposed regs also clarify that the MAGI limit does not apply to a corporation or any other taxpayer that is not an individual for which AGI is computed under Code Sec. 62.
A vehicle does not qualify for the credit if the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) exceeds $80,000 for a van, sport utility vehicle (SUV), or pickup truck; or $55,000 for any other vehicle. The proposed regs adopt the vehicle classification system the IRS announced in Notice 2023-16. This is the vehicle classification that appears on the vehicle label and on the website FuelEconomy.gov. The regs also provide a more detailed definition of “MSRP” using information reported on the label affixed to the vehicle’s windshield or side window.
Vehicle with Multiple Owners
The proposed regs generally prohibit any allocation or proration of the credit if multiple taxpayers place a vehicle in service. However, a partnership or S corporation that places a vehicle in service may allocate the credit among its partners or shareholders. The MAGI limits on the credit apply separately to each individual partner or shareholder. The seller’s report for the vehicle lists the entity’s name and TIN.
Final Assembly in North America
To qualify for the credit, the final assembly of a new clean vehicle must occur in North America. The proposed regs reiterate earlier guidance on this requirement, but they also provide more detailed definitions of “final assembly” and “North America.” Taxpayers may rely on the vehicle’s plant of manufacture as reported in the vehicle identification number (VIN), or the final assembly point reported on the label affixed to the vehicle. Taxpayers may also continue to rely on the information in the “VIN decoder sites” at https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/electric-vehicles-for-tax-credit and https://www.nhtsa.gov/vin-decoder.
Coordination with Other Credits
While the new vehicle credit is generally a nonrefundable personal credit, the credit for a depreciable vehicle is treated as part of the general business credit. If the taxpayer’s business use of a qualified vehicle is less than 50 percent of its total use, the proposed regs require the taxpayer to apportion the credit. Only the portion of the credit that corresponds to the percentage of the taxpayer’s business use of the vehicle is part of the general business credit; the rest of the credit remains a nonrefundable personal credit.
The proposed regs clarify that when the new clean vehicle credit is allowed for a particular vehicle, a subsequent buyer in a later tax year may still claim the used clean vehicle credit. However, a subsequent buyer cannot claim the commercial clean vehicle credit.
Taxpayers may rely on the proposed regulations before they are published as final regs, provided the taxpayer follows them in their entirety and in a consistent manner. The regs are generally proposed to apply to new clean vehicles placed in service after April 17, the date the regs are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register.
The IRS requests comments on the proposed regs. Comments may be mailed to the IRS, or submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov (indicate IRS and REG-120080-22). Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by June 16, 2023.
In particular, the IRS seeks comments on the following issues:
- 1. the critical mineral and battery component requirements, including the distinction between processing of applicable critical minerals and manufacturing and assembly of battery components, and related definitions;
- 2. the 50-percent value added test for critical minerals, and the best approach for adopting a more stringent test after 2024;
- 3. the list of countries with which the United States has free trade agreements in effect, proposed criteria for identifying other such countries, and other potential approaches; and
- 4. whether rules similar to those provided for partnerships and S corporation should apply to trusts and similar entities that place a qualified clean vehicle in service.