The Volkswagen scandal might have tricked the IRS out of $50 million

October 7, 2015, 7:39 PM UTC
VW Automobile Assembly
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 25: The VW logo shines as the hood ornament on a new Volkswagen Golf 6 car at the Volkswagen factory on February 25, 2011 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen and other German carmakers have recovered from the financial crisis of 2008 and production levels are reaching record levels. The automobile industry is an integral part of Germany's export-driven economy. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Sean Gallup—Getty Images

Before the emissions crisis was discovered, some Volkswagen vehicle owners were considered eligible for a $1,300 tax credit under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 if they drove a 2009 or 2010 model, Huffington Post reports.

The tax credit is given out to car owners whose cars meet specific standards regarding emissions and fuel economy, and 60,000 of these VW vehicles have been sold in the U.S. If each of those drivers was in fact eligible for the tax credit, and took advantage of it, the IRS could have paid out upwards of $50 million in undeserved tax credits.

The Senate Finance Committee is currently looking into whether that car manufacturer misrepresented itself when seeking certification for federal tax subsidies. The committee is requesting information from VW in the form of communications and documents that are dated between January 2007 and December 2011.

This is just one of many investigations into the company, both in the U.S. and abroad, after it admitted to installing deceptive software in its vehicles. French prosecutors are investigating the possibility of “aggravated deception,” Italy’s antitrust body has begun a probe based on suspicions of fraud, and German prosecutors are conducting two criminal probes in the company’s home country.