(1) Beginning June 1, 2000, during such period as funds remain in the Ethanol Production Incentive Cash Fund, any ethanol facility shall receive a credit of seven and one-half cents per gallon of ethanol, before denaturing, for new production for a period not to exceed thirty-six consecutive months. For purposes of this subsection, new production means production which results from the expansion of an existing facility's capacity by at least two million gallons first placed into service after June 1, 1999, as certified by the facility's design engineer to the Department of Revenue. For expansion of an existing facility's capacity, new production means production in excess of the average of the highest three months of ethanol production at an ethanol facility during the twenty-four-month period immediately preceding certification of the facility by the design engineer. No credits shall be allowed under this subsection for expansion of an existing facility's capacity until production is in excess of twelve times the three-month average amount determined under this subsection during any twelve-consecutive-month period beginning no sooner than June 1, 2000. New production shall be approved by the Department of Revenue based on such ethanol production records as may be necessary to reasonably determine new production. This credit must be earned on or before December 31, 2003.
(2)(a) Beginning January 1, 2002, any new ethanol facility which is in production at the minimum rate of one hundred thousand gallons annually for the production of ethanol, before denaturing, and which has provided to the Department of Revenue written evidence substantiating that the ethanol facility has received the requisite authority from the Department of Environment and Energy and from the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, on or before June 30, 2004, shall receive a credit of eighteen cents per gallon of ethanol produced for ninety-six consecutive months beginning with the first calendar month for which it is eligible to receive such credit and ending not later than June 30, 2012, if the facility is defined by subdivision (b)(i) of this subsection, and for forty-eight consecutive months beginning with the first calendar month for which it is eligible to receive such credit and ending not later than June 30, 2008, if the facility is defined by subdivision (b)(ii) of this subsection. The new ethanol facility shall provide an analysis to the Department of Revenue of samples of the product collected according to procedures specified by the department no later than July 30, 2004, and at least annually thereafter. The analysis shall be prepared by an independent laboratory meeting the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO/IEC 17025:1999. Prior to collecting the samples, the new ethanol facility shall notify the department which may observe the sampling procedures utilized by the new ethanol facility to obtain the samples to be submitted for independent analysis. The minimum rate shall be established for a period of at least thirty days. In this regard, the new ethanol facility must produce at least eight thousand two hundred nineteen gallons of ethanol within a thirty-day period. The ethanol must be finished product which is ready for sale to customers.
(b) For purposes of this subsection, new ethanol facility means a facility for the conversion of grain or other raw feedstock into ethanol and other byproducts of ethanol production which (i) is not in production on or before September 1, 2001, or (ii) has not received credits prior to June 1, 1999. A new ethanol facility does not mean an expansion of an existing ethanol plant that does not result in the physical construction of an entire ethanol processing facility or which shares or uses in a significant manner any existing plant's systems or processes and does not include the expansion of production capacity constructed after June 30, 2004, of a plant qualifying for credits under this subsection. This definition applies to contracts entered into after April 16, 2004.
(c) Not more than fifteen million six hundred twenty-five thousand gallons of ethanol produced annually at an ethanol facility shall be eligible for credits under this subsection. Not more than one hundred twenty-five million gallons of ethanol produced at an ethanol facility by the end of the ninety-six-consecutive-month period or forty-eight-consecutive-month period set forth in this subsection shall be eligible for credits under this subsection.
(3) The credits described in this section shall be given only for ethanol produced at a plant in Nebraska at which all fermentation, distillation, and dehydration takes place. No credit shall be given on ethanol produced for or sold for use in the production of beverage alcohol. Not more than ten million gallons of ethanol produced during any twelve-consecutive-month period at an ethanol facility shall be eligible for the credit described in subsection (1) of this section. The credits described in this section shall be in the form of a nonrefundable, transferable motor vehicle fuel tax credit certificate. No transfer of credits will be allowed between the ethanol producer and motor vehicle fuel licensees who are related parties.
(4) Ethanol production eligible for credits under this section shall be measured by a device approved by the Division of Weights and Measures of the Department of Agriculture. Confirmation of approval by the division shall be provided by the ethanol facility at the time the initial claim for credits provided under this section is submitted to the Department of Revenue and annually thereafter. Claims submitted by the ethanol producer shall be based on the total number of gallons of ethanol produced, before denaturing, during the reporting period measured in gross gallons.
(5) The Department of Revenue shall prescribe an application form and procedures for claiming credits under this section. In order for a claim for credits to be accepted, it must be filed by the ethanol producer within three years of the date the ethanol was produced or by September 30, 2012, whichever occurs first.
(6) Every producer of ethanol shall maintain records similar to those required by section 66-487. The ethanol producer must maintain invoices, meter readings, load-out sheets or documents, inventory records, including work-in-progress, finished goods, and denaturant, and other memoranda requested by the Department of Revenue relevant to the production of ethanol. On an annual basis, the ethanol producer shall also be required to furnish the department with copies of the reports filed with the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The maintenance of all of this information in a provable computer format or on microfilm is acceptable in lieu of retention of the original documents. The records must be retained for a period of not less than three years after the claim for ethanol credits is filed.
(7) For purposes of ascertaining the correctness of any application for claiming a credit provided in this section, the Tax Commissioner (a) may examine or cause to have examined, by any agent or representative designated by him or her for that purpose, any books, papers, records, or memoranda bearing upon such matters, (b) may by summons require the attendance of the person responsible for rendering the application or other document or any officer or employee of such person or the attendance of any other person having knowledge in the premises, and (c) may take testimony and require proof material for his or her information, with power to administer oaths or affirmations to such person or persons. The time and place of examination pursuant to this subsection shall be such time and place as may be fixed by the Tax Commissioner and as are reasonable under the circumstances. In the case of a summons, the date fixed for appearance before the Tax Commissioner shall not be less than twenty days from the time of service of the summons. No taxpayer shall be subjected to unreasonable or unnecessary examinations or investigations. All records obtained pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the confidentiality requirements and exceptions thereto as provided in section 77-27,119.
(8) To qualify for credits under this section, an ethanol producer shall provide public notice for bids before entering into any contract for the construction of a new ethanol facility. Preference shall be given to a bidder residing in Nebraska when awarding any contract for construction of a new ethanol facility if comparable bids are submitted. For purposes of this subsection, bidder residing in Nebraska means any person, partnership, foreign or domestic limited liability company, association, or corporation authorized to engage in business in the state with employees permanently located in Nebraska. If an ethanol producer enters into a contract for the construction of a new ethanol facility with a bidder who is not a bidder residing in Nebraska, such producer shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Department of Revenue in its application for credits that no comparable bid was submitted by a responsible bidder residing in Nebraska. The department shall deny an application for credits if it is determined that the contract was denied to a responsible bidder residing in Nebraska without cause.
(9) The pertinent provisions of Chapter 66, article 7, relating to the administration and imposition of motor fuel taxes shall apply to the administration and imposition of assessments made by the Department of Revenue relating to excess credits claimed by ethanol producers under the Ethanol Development Act. These provisions include, but are not limited to, issuance of a deficiency following an examination of records, an assessment becoming final after sixty days absent a written protest, presumptions regarding the burden of proof, issuance of deficiency within three years of original filing, issuance of notice by registered or certified mail, issuance of penalties and waiver thereof, issuance of interest and waiver thereof, and issuance of corporate officer or employee or limited liability company manager or member assessments. For purposes of determining interest and penalties, the due date will be considered to be the date on which the credits were used by the licensees to whom the credits were transferred.
(10) If a written protest is filed by the ethanol producer with the department within the sixty-day period in subsection (9) of this section, the protest shall: (a) Identify the ethanol producer; (b) identify the proposed assessment which is being protested; (c) set forth each ground under which a redetermination of the department's position is requested together with facts sufficient to acquaint the department with the exact basis thereof; (d) demand the relief to which the ethanol producer considers itself entitled; and (e) request that an evidentiary hearing be held to determine any issues raised by the protest if the ethanol producer desires such a hearing.
(11) For applications received after April 16, 2004, an ethanol facility receiving benefits under the Ethanol Development Act shall not be eligible for benefits under the Employment and Investment Growth Act, the Invest Nebraska Act, the Nebraska Advantage Act, or the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.