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YOUR MONEY: THE TAX ISSUE

Your hybrid may give you a tax break, or not

February 17, 2008|Kathy M. Kristof

If you bought a hybrid automobile in 2007, you may be due a tax break. How much you can claim -- and even whether you can claim a break at all -- depends on which model you purchased and when you purchased it.

That's because the law that authorizes the breaks says that once a manufacturer sells 60,000 hybrids, the break for its cars starts to diminish and, after a year, ends completely.

That was bad news for Toyota and Lexus hybrid buyers in 2007 because the best-selling Prius pushed Toyota over the 60,000 mark in 2006. That meant that someone who bought a Camry Hybrid in September 2006 got a $2,600 credit, but a person who got one six months later will get just $1,300.

If you purchased your Toyota-made hybrid between April 1 and Sept. 30 of last year, you get $650. And if you acquired it in October or later, you get nothing at all.

The chart above shows how much of a tax credit you can get for a hybrid purchased in 2007.

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