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Does anyone know much about the tax credit for buying a hybrid car? Is it only possible to get the tax credit if you buy the car as the first owner, directly off the dealer's lot? I have a friend getting a dealer's license in a month or so and he's promised he could get me one at a wholesale auction, and he would only charge me California sales tax, no mark-up. So I need to know if I'm going to be eligible for the tax credit if the car doesn't come directly from Nissan.

Also, I believe these types of tax credits go down the more cars are sold. Is that correct? Is there any way to know what the tax credit on Altima hybrids will be if I wait until January to buy one? When does that information come out in the course of a year?

TIA
Kasha
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I have a friend getting a dealer's license in a month or so and he's promised he could get me one at a wholesale auction, and he would only charge me California sales tax, no mark-up. So I need to know if I'm going to be eligible for the tax credit if the car doesn't come directly from Nissan.

Hardly any car comes "directly" from the manufacturer. The credit is available to the original owner. Speaking only from hunch, I assume that's the first non-dealer to buy the car.

Also, I believe these types of tax credits go down the more cars are sold. Is that correct?

Yes.

Is there any way to know what the tax credit on Altima hybrids will be if I wait until January to buy one? When does that information come out in the course of a year?

It comes out quarterly. This should tell you what you need to know:

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=175641,00.html

Phil
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Thank you Phil! That is very helpful info.
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Does anyone know much about the tax credit for buying a hybrid car?

Some - it's a pretty simple credit.

Is it only possible to get the tax credit if you buy the car as the first owner, directly off the dealer's lot?

Yes.

I have a friend getting a dealer's license in a month or so and he's promised he could get me one at a wholesale auction, and he would only charge me California sales tax, no mark-up. So I need to know if I'm going to be eligible for the tax credit if the car doesn't come directly from Nissan.

I don't think so. I suppose there is a slim possibility that the car would be sold into the auction without ever having been sold to a retail buyer. That would make you the first owner. But I really doubt that.

Also, I believe these types of tax credits go down the more cars are sold. Is that correct?

Correct. Once a manufacturer gets to 60,000 cars sold, the credit starts to decrease.

Is there any way to know what the tax credit on Altima hybrids will be if I wait until January to buy one?

Nissan is still at the full credit. Toyota (including Lexus) blew through the 60k cars in just a few months. Honda (including Acura) just recently hit the limit and will see their credits reduced starting 1/1/08. The rest of the makers still have a ways to go before getting to 60k.

When does that information come out in the course of a year?

The manufacturers report sales every quarter to the IRS. And the IRS generally passes the info along each quarter, about 6 weeks after the quarter end.

--Peter
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