LIGHT TURNS GREEN ON TAX CREDIT FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT HOME IMPROVEMENTS
Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA
years ago, Congress passed the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005.
A provision of that Act established a $500 tax credit for energy efficient
improvements made to your primary residence.
pre-2008 rules allowed you to claim a tax credit equal to 10% of the money spent
on the installation of certain energy efficient improvements to your principal
residence including insulation and exterior windows, doors, and skylights. You
could also take a tax credit for "qualified energy property" including up to $50
spent on circulating fans, $150 on furnaces or hot water boilers, and $300 on
heat pumps, water heaters, and central air conditioning.
only applied for purchases made during 2006 and 2007, and was limited to a
lifetime max of $500 per dwelling, with no more than $200 of the credit to be
taken for replacement windows. While other tax breaks included in the
Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 were subsequently extended, this tax
credit expired as originally planned on December 31, 2007.
Renewed and Improved:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 reinstated and improved this
credit for two years beginning on January 1, 2009 as follows:
cap of $50 to $300 on items such as circulating fans, furnaces, hot water boilers, heat
pumps, water heaters, and central air conditioning.
Two-Year Replacement Window
rules give you through December 31, 2010 to purchase energy
efficient improvements for your home and qualify for this tax break. The maximum credit is now
equal to 30% of the first $5,000 spent on high-efficiency heat pumps, air
conditioners, and water heaters, or energy-efficient windows,
doors, insulation materials, and certain roofs. Starting in 2009, you can also
claim the credit for certain types of asphalt roofs and stoves that burn biomass fuel.
for more good news? Even if you claimed the $500 tax credit a few years
back for energy efficient improvements made to your home, you can still claim the full $1,500 tax
credit for 2009 and 2010 as long as you make $5,000 worth of qualified energy
efficient expenditures during that two year period.
note that the new rules did increase the standards for an energy efficient purchase
to qualify for this tax credit. Expect the IRS to issue guidance for manufacturers to certify that their products meet these new standards.
to our friends at the
IRS in IR-2009-44, "IRS guidance issued before the enactment of ARRA will be
modified in the near future to reflect the new energy efficiency standards. In
the meantime, homeowners may continue to rely on manufacturers’ certifications
that were provided under the old guidance and on Energy Star labels for exterior
windows and skylights in determining whether property purchased before June 1,
2009, qualifies for the credit. Manufacturers should not continue to provide
certifications for property that fails to meet the new standards."
about adding solar, wind, or geothermal capabilities to your home? If so, you
should be aware that the 2009
Tax Act also improved the tax credit for purchases of solar electric property,
solar water heating property, wind energy property and geothermal heat pump
property. Under the prior rules, the tax credit you could claim for most
of these items was capped at $2,000 per dwelling.
January 1, 2009, these limits no longer apply. Through 2016, you can take
a tax credit equal to 30% of your expenditures for qualified solar, wind, or
geothermal property. Plus,
you can claim the credit even if you add this energy producing property to a home that is not
your primary residence. According to
2009-41, "a qualifying dwelling unit is a dwelling unit that is located in the United States and is used as a
residence by the taxpayer."
The Light Turned
green mean to you? Being environmentally friendly? Stashing some Ben
Franklins in your piggy bank? Or setting the wheels in motion?
your definition of green, the clock is ticking for you to benefit from the
current tax credit available to individuals who make qualified energy efficient improvements to
SEVEN FACTS ABOUT THE
NEW SALES TAX DEDUCTION FOR VEHICLE PURCHASES
According to our friends at the
buy a new car or several other types of motor vehicles this year may be entitled
to a special tax deduction when they file their 2009 federal tax returns next
year. The tax break is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
Here are seven
things you should know about this new deduction:
local sales taxes paid on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of
qualifying vehicles are deductible.
motor vehicles generally include new (not used) cars, light trucks,
motor homes and motorcycles.
must occur after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010.
deduction can be taken regardless of whether or not you itemize other
deductions on your tax return.
will claim this deduction when filing their 2009 federal income tax
return next year.
of the deduction is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted
gross income is between $125,000 and $135,000 for individual filers and
between $250,000 and $260,000 for joint filers.
deduction may not be taken on 2008 tax returns.
are considering buying a new car may find that this tax incentive means there
may have never been a better time to buy.
(Editor's note: Thanks but no thanks. I'm sticking with my '98 Jeep Cherokee.)
2008 & 2009 TAX FACTS
- For 2008, the standard deduction for a single individual is $5,450 and
for a married couple is $10,900. A person will benefit by itemizing once
allowable deductions exceed the applicable standard deduction. Itemized
deductions include state and local income taxes (or sales taxes), real estate
taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and unreimbursed employee
- For 2008, the personal exemption is $3,500.
Individuals will claim a personal deduction for themselves, their spouse, and
- The maximum earnings subject to social security taxes is $106,800
for 2009, up from $102,000 for 2008.
- The standard mileage rate is $.55 per business mile as of
January 1, 2009, down from $.585 per mile as of December 31, 2008.
- The maximum annual contribution into a 401(k) plan or a
403(b) plan is $16,500 in 2009. And if you'll be 50 or
older by December 31st, you can contribute an extra $5,500 into your 401(k) or
403(b) account this year.
- The maximum annual contribution to your IRA is $5,000 for
2008 and 2009. And if you turn 50 by December 31st, you can contribute an extra
$1,000 that year. You have until April 15, 2009 to make your 2008 IRA