Alexander: New IRS Guidelines for Wind Subsidy Waste More Taxpayer Dollars

Says IRS has rewritten guidelines making it easier to be eligible for “Washington’s most conspicuous, wasteful taxpayer subsidy,” even though credit has expired for future projects

Posted on August 21, 2014

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“The Obama administration is yet again going around Congress and allowing Big Wind to waste even more taxpayer dollars, instead of forcing wind to stand on its own in the marketplace and respecting the fact that Congress has allowed this wasteful Washington subsidy to expire.” Lamar Alexander 

WASHINGTON, August 19, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the Internal Revenue Service’s new guidelines for eligibility for the production tax credit (PTC) now make it easier for more projects to qualify for the wind PTC, “Washington’s most conspicuous, wasteful taxpayer subsidy,” which expired at the end of 2013 and “unfairly burdens Tennesseans.” These new guidelines will increase the total cost of this subsidy to taxpayers, which is already over tens of billions of dollars.

“The IRS has announced it will now be easier to qualify for the wind production tax credit, Washington’s most conspicuous and wasteful taxpayer subsidy and one that unfairly burdens Tennesseans. Congress allowed this wasteful wind subsidy to expire at the end of last year. Now the Obama administration is yet again going around Congress and allowing Big Wind to waste even more taxpayer dollars, instead of forcing wind to stand on its own in the marketplace and respecting the fact that Congress has allowed this wasteful Washington subsidy to expire.”

In August, the IRS released new guidelines making it easier for projects to qualify for the wind PTC. This is the third notice that the IRS has released rewriting how it will evaluate whether facilities qualify for the tax credit, which expired on Dec. 31, 2013. Wind producers are eligible for the tax credit as long as they have started construction or have sufficiently invested in the project prior to the 2013 deadline. A facility has to be placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016, to qualify for the tax credit, making more projects eligible for the expired credit.

Alexander cited a study by the Institute for Energy Research, which showed that 30 states paid more to the federal government for wind subsidies than wind producers in their states received. Tennessee’s net loss was $52 million, which Alexander said shows “Tennessee gets very little of the benefit of this wasteful wind subsidy, because the wind doesn’t blow enough in the southeastern United States.”