Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. One prime example is the government's newly minted "Cash for Clunkers" program, or CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) that launched yesterday.

As the rebate program kicks into gear, dealers that are hoping to cash in are facing a new worry. But according to Automotive News, they may end up having to pay federal and/or state taxes on the rebate money they receive from the federal government. It seems that the lobbyists and congressional aides who actually wrote the bill neglected to address the issue of whether the rebates count as income for dealers.

In the end, the bill passed by Congress explicitly states that the rebates don't count as income for consumers. As for the dealers, oops! Nothing in the rules published by the National Traffic Safety Administration or the law says anything one way or the other, which means that the Internal Revenue Service and individual states will have to make the call. Some dealers are already setting aside cash just in case they end up having to pay.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]