Fiscal cliff bill extends biofuel tax incentives through 2013

By Erin Voegele | January 02, 2013

President Obama is expected to sign the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 into law today. The legislation, also known as the “fiscal cliff bill,” includes language to extend several biofuel-related tax incentives.

The legislation extends the cellulosic biofuel producer credit through 2013, and treats algae as a qualified feedstock for the credit.

The special allowance for cellulosic biofuel plant property has also been extended through the end of 2013. It applies to property placed into service between Dec. 31, 2012, and Jan. 1, 2014. The legislation also specifies that algae is treated as a qualified feedstock for the purposes of bonus depreciation for biofuel plant property.

Furthermore, the bill extends the tax credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property through Dec. 31, 2013.

The Renewable Fuels Association has spoken out in support of the extensions. “The one year extension of the cellulosic producer tax credit and accelerated depreciation provides some measure of certainty to ensure that 2013 will be a year of growth and milestones for the advanced ethanol industry,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA. “In addition, and equally significant, is the extension of the alternative fuel infrastructure tax credit which will accelerate E15’s entry into the marketplace this coming year. The extension of these important provisions demonstrates the Obama Administration’s stalwart support of biofuels and Congress’s belief in the promise of energy independence and job creation through domestic renewable energy resources.”

In addition, the legislation important extensions for the biodiesel industry. According to the text of the bill, tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel have been reinstated for 2012 and 2013. “It's been a long year with a lot of missed opportunity and lost jobs in the biodiesel industry,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board. “But we're pleased that Congress has finally approved an extension so that we can get production back on track. This is not an abstract issue. In the coming months, because of this decision, we'll begin to see real economic impacts with companies expanding production and hiring new employees.”

The text of the legislation posted to the Library of Congress Thomas website also includes language related to several Farm Bill programs. According to the bill, the Biobased Markets Program, Biorefinery Assistance program, Repowering Assistance program, Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels and Biodiesel Fuel Education Program are extended through 2013. The bill also extends the Rural Energy for America Program, the Biomass Research and Development program, the Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative, the Feedstock Flexibility Program for Bioenergy Producers, Biomass Crop Assistance Program, Forest Biomass for Energy and Community Wood Energy Program through the end of the year.

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