Leonardo DiCaprio's favourite car is now eligible for a significant tax break. The Toyota Prius is the first hybrid electric-gasoline automobile to be certified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as eligible for a $2,000 clean-burning fuel tax deduction.

In a July 26, 2002 letter to Toyota the IRS said, "We have determined that a purchaser of this hybrid vehicle may rely on the certification concerning the incremental cost of permitting the use of electricity to propel the vehicle."

"This documentation confirms Toyota's stance that the Toyota Prius, Model Years 2001, 2002 and 2003, qualifies for the full $2,000 tax deduction available to individual consumer purchasers," said Jim Press, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. "Toyota Prius purchasers can use or take this certification to their individual tax advisors to determine how they can take advantage of this important federal tax benefit."

The IRS has requested that the consumer purchaser, in addition to retaining normal proof of purchase documentation, retain the Toyota and IRS correspondence as further substantiation for the Prius federal tax deduction. Purchasers can get copies of this correspondence from their Toyota dealers.

Since the Prius went on sale in 1997, close to 100,000 units have been sold worldwide. American consumers have purchased nearly 30,000.

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