Washington state legislators revived a lapsed sales tax break for buyers of electric cars. The resurrected incentive will be similar in value to a publicly-funded rebate for battery-powered cars that Oregon now offers.
The Washington sales tax break will be revived as of August 1, 2019. It was expanded from the previous version to also apply to sales of used electric cars. As before, electric vehicle leases also get a sales tax break. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles could also qualify for the tax break, but no Pacific Northwest dealers currently stock or sell new hydrogen-powered cars.
To qualify for Washington’s tax abatement, a new vehicle’s sales price has to be less than $45,000 and a used electric passenger vehicle less than $30,000. These thresholds are meant to screen out buyers of high-end Teslas and BMWs. Oregon’s rebate program operates with the same philosophy but uses as its eligibility cutoff a base model MSRP of less than $50,000.
The Washington sales tax break is structured to ramp down and then phase out completely after six years.