Electric Bike Tax Credit Returns

Electric Bike Tax Credit Returns

Posted by Ben Baker on Jan 11th 2016

The tax credit for buying an electric motorcycle is back. Congress added the credit to the tax code as part of the recent federal spending bill.

It’s officially the “E-motorcycle Federal Tax Credit.”

Zero Motorcycles is the nation's biggest e-bike maker. Zero reports the tax credit is applied to the purchase price of the ride. The link provides a chart showing how the credit changes the cost of buying a Zero bike.

The same discounts should apply when buying a new bike from other manufacturers.

Anyone buying an electric bike can get a tax break of 10 percent of the cost of the bike up to a maximum of $2,500. The law also adds a tax credit for motorcycle chargers of 30 percent of the purchase price up to $1,000 maximum.

"Tax credits for electric motorcycles are not only an effective way to create jobs, they are also an investment in clean energy technology. We think that America can and should lead the world in electric motorcycle technology," said Richard Walker, CEO of Zero Motorcycles. "The electric motorcycle industry is rapidly responding to our country's need for affordable and environmentally responsible transportation. We're naturally excited to combine our passion for motorcycles with something that benefits everyone."

The credit only applies to street-legal rides that hit speeds of more than 45 miles per hour. So small scooter-type rides aimed mostly at kids are not eligible. The battery must be at least 4-kilowatt hour, which is a measure of how much power the battery has. It does not apply to three-wheeled rides. The credit is aimed at bikes that are a real transportation option in the eyes of Congress.

Zero is getting much of the credit for pushing this tax break through.

The original credit expired in 2013. The renewal expires Dec. 31, 2016. The credit is retroactive throughout 2105.

In order to get the credit on your tax return for this year, you’ll need receipts from the purchase. Depending on how you file your taxes, you may have to include receipt copies with your return.

The credit is not going over well in some circles.

Money Watch at CBS news lists the tax credit as one of the “5 oddest tax breaks in the $620 billion tax bill.”

Editor-in-chief Steve Forbes at Forbes Magazine calls it “bewildering” in his opinion piece about the spending bill.


The bill also included another tax break for 2-wheel community, at least for those who race. “Motorsport entertainment complex” owners can take depreciation tax breaks for construction and renovation for seven years for work done in 2015 and 2016.

The tax code allows other entertainment venues 39 years to claim the depreciation.

“This provision benefits track owners, race promoters, workers and the communities that are home to motorsports facilities,” said Wayne Allard, American Motorcycle Association vice president of government relations. “The shorter time frame for recovering their investment serves as incentive for track owners to move forward with expansion plans and upgrades.”