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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Menendez presses IRS on fossil fuel tax credits after inspector general report

Probe requested by N.J. senator shows fossil fuel companies improperly claimed more than $1 billion in tax credits

By David Wildstein, April 30 2020 11:47 am

Fossil fuel companies improperly claimed almost $1.1 billion in clean air tax credits, according to a U.S. Treasury Department Inspector General investigation initiated by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.

The probe showed the Treasury Department’ s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGA) that some companies violated Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Service Code, which permits tax credits to companies that “successfully trap, sequester and store carbon emissions, preventing them from entering the atmosphere.”

Now Menendez wants an audit every fossil fuel company that claimed more than $10,000 in tax credits and retroactively take back dollars if they were not in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The New Jersey senator also wants the names of all companies that have claimed fossil fuel credits.

“TIGTA confirms that fossil fuel companies have for years, improperly claimed nearly $900 million worth of the 45Q tax credit,” Menendez wrote in a letter to the IRS.  “Of the ten companies claiming 99.9 percent of the 45Q credits, TIGTA found that only three had the required [monitoring, reporting, and verification] plans in place with the EPA.”

Menendez said that while the inspector general “acknowledged that the IRS had conducted audits and denied 45Q credits for a portion of these claims, hundreds of millions of improperly claimed taxpayer dollars remain unchallenged by the IRS.”

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