On November 24, 2010, the Oregon Department of Energy (“ODOE”) issued final permanent administrative rules (the “Permanent Rules”) relating to the Business Energy Tax Credit (“BETC”). For a description of the BETC generally, see our previous alerts on November 5, 2009, February 27, 2008, and July 2, 2007.
The Permanent Rules finalize and make some changes to temporary rules that ODOE issued on May 21, 2010 (the “May Temporary Rules”). ODOE issued the May Temporary Rules after the Oregon legislature passed HB 3680 (2010), which made significant changes to the BETC and granted ODOE substantial rulemaking authority. For a complete description of HB 3680, see our previous alert on March 24, 2010. Prior to finalizing the Permanent Rules, ODOE held one public hearing as well as interactive public meetings.
Overall, the Permanent Rules are very similar to the May Temporary Rules. ODOE did, however, incorporate many of the changes requested during the public meetings. Notably, the Permanent Rules clarify when a final application is considered complete (which addresses a potential “disappearing BETC” issue of concern to some taxpayers), relax the rules for amending a preliminary certificate, and add a safe harbor deadline to file an application for final certification prior to the June 30, 2012 sunset of the program.