State denies fuel credit to 3,000 taxpayers

BATON ROUGE (AP) — About 3,000 Louisiana taxpayers have been notified that they won’t receive a tax credit on their flex fuel vehicles.

An emergency ruling allowing the vehicles to participate in the alternative fuel credit was rescinded last year.

According to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, denial letters for alternative fuel credits were sent between February and March for tax returns that were in limbo after Gov. Bobby Jindal rescinded an April 30 ruling by former revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges to include the flex fuel vehicles.

A 2009 alternative fuel law created the credit to encourage people to convert vehicles to be able to burn alternative fuel and was spurred by Louisiana’s abundant natural gas supplies. Bridges ruling expanded eligible vehicles to include flex fuel automobiles.

Flex fuel vehicles can burn either traditional gasoline or ethanol in the same fuel tank.

Bridges’ ruling went largely unnoticed until a story about its potential impact was reported in The News-Star on June 14.

By the end of that day, Jindal rescinded Bridges’ ruling on a technicality. Bridges resigned on June 15.

The Department of Revenue granted $7.6 million in credits involving flex fuel vehicles from April 30 to June 14. According to earlier reports, about $9 million in claims were pending when the ruling denying flex fuel vehicles became effective on Dec. 20.

“We continue to receive claims for alternative fuel credits for flex fuel vehicles on current tax returns,” department spokesman Doug Baker said. “These credits are being denied as we work through the returns.”

Under the new rule, the alternative fuel credit continues to be available for fueling stations, vehicle conversions and vehicles that operate on an alternative fuel from a separate tank that does not burn petroleum gasoline or petroleum diesel.

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