Nissan Hybrid Tax Credits still good

Federal tax breaks for hybrid car buyers in the United States have dwindled since the fall. However, according to the Internal Revenue Service, Nissan vehicles can still qualify for the alternative automotive loan.

The IRS quarterly review found that the Japanese automaker sold 2,094 qualifying vehicles to retailers in the quarter ended March 31, 2007. The eligible loan amount for the 2007 Altima Hybrid, Nissan’s only certified hybrid vehicle, is $2,350. By the end of the first calendar quarter following the quarter in which the manufacturer books the sale of the 60,000th vehicle, the taxpayer can claim the full amount of the credit. The announcement comes after the IRS completed its quarterly review of the number of hybrid vehicles sold.

Taxpayers applying for the tax credit could buy in early as the full credit is only available for a limited time. You can also claim the qualifying credit through the end of the first calendar quarter following the quarter in which the manufacturer records the 60,000th vehicle sale.

For the second and third calendar quarters following the quarter in which the 60,000th vehicle is sold, taxpayers can claim 50 percent of the credit. You can claim 25 percent of the credit for the fourth and fifth calendar quarter. However, credit is no longer possible after the fifth quarter.

The Nissan Altima Hybrid Electric, equipped with Nissan cornering lights, is the automaker’s first hybrid car. The hybrid is equipped with a 2.5L QR25DE engine, CVT and electric motor or generator. Nissan has reached an agreement with Toyota Motor Corp. met to use some of its hybrid technology to create the all-new Altima. The third largest Japanese automaker has also assured that subsequent hybrid models will be based on in-house hybrid technology.

Up to 40,000 Altima hybrids are built annually at the Nissan plant in Smyrna. For the 2007 model year, hybrid model sales are limited to California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Other federal states will follow in the years to come.

The IRS is stirring up the hybrid car market, doling out some dismal tax credit news for the Toyota Prius along with some good news for General Motors and Nissan. The dying scale of tax credits prompted by the production cut will halve credit for Toyota and Lexus hybrids by the end of September, and to a quarter of the current rate next April. Still, full tax credits are available on Toyota’s market-leading hybrids through the end of the current quarter. Additionally, sales are expected to surge as buyers rush to claim the maximum tax break.

After reviewing Toyota’s sales in the first quarter of 2007, the IRS ruled that Prius buyers could continue to claim only a small tax credit. The total amount of credit now available to a Prius buyer is only $787.50.

The IRS also announced that buyers of qualifying GM hybrid vehicles can claim a tax credit ranging from $250 to $1,300. The GMC Sierra hybrid trucks and Chevrolet Silverado hybrids carry a tax credit of $250 for two-wheel drive models and $650 for four-wheel drive models. The Saturn Vue Green Line has a $650 credit and the Aura Hybrid has a $1,300 credit.

Also for this year are tax credits for the Ford Escape Hybrid 2WD ($2,600), Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD ($1,950), Honda Accord Hybrid AT ($1,300), Honda Accord Hybrid Navi AT ($1,300) and the Honda Civic GX ($4,000 available), Honda Civic Hybrid CVT ($2,100), Lexus GS 450h ($775), Lexus RX 400h 2WD and 4WD ($1,100), Mercury Mariner 4WD Hybrid ($1,950), Toyota Camry Hybrid ( $1,300) and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 2WD and 4WD ($1,300).