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Man’s Tax Credit For Leasing Hybrid Went To Toyota Instead

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Paul Beck's Toyota Prius (credit: CBS)

Paul Beck’s Toyota Prius (credit: CBS)

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BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – There are questions about tax credits for hybrid vehicles after a man from Boulder County tried to cash in on his new Prius. Toyota got the money instead.

It involves a couple thousand dollars. Colorado has this alternative fuel tax credit for people who buy hybrids. The key word is “buy.”

Paul Beck loved the Prius — his only dilemma was to buy it, or lease it. He knew with a hybrid there was a tax credit. He asked his salesman at Boulder Toyota about it.

“He said that with Toyota it was easy because the tax credit goes wherever the car goes,” Paul Beck said.

So Beck leased. He filed his 2010 tax return and got a $2,300 tax credit.

“Two weeks ago I got a letter from the state of Colorado Department of Revenue stating that my tax credit had been declined because it was already being claimed,” Beck said.

It was claimed by Toyota Financial Services, the legal owner of the car. Immediately Beck went to meet with his salesman.

“Saw my sales person and his jaw dropped,” Beck said.

The general manager at Boulder Toyota he is “aware of the situation” and is “investigating.” He said he encourages customers to “do their own due diligence regarding tax credits.” He then referred CBS4 to Toyota Financial Service.

“We, as the owner, apply for the tax credit,” a Toyota official said. “Our dealers are regularly updated on our policies.”

None of it settles well with Beck. He now owes the state $2,389. He said Boulder Toyota has lost a customer.

According to the state department of revenue there was $11.3 million in alternative fuel tax credits in 2010. A majority of the money was paid to consumers, not lease companies.

“I believe that the intent was that the consumer get the credit,” said Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-House District 37

“If you’re going to be promised any kind of money back, rebate, whatever it is, make sure you get it in writing,” Beck said.

There are some lease companies that do pass on that tax credit to the customer.

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