By: By Paula Hess
If you’re a homeowner, it’s a given that you claim the mortgage interest deduction on your tax returns. If you are a green-minded homeowner, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit if you purchase or have purchased (keep those receipts) an energy-efficient product or a renewable energy system for your home.
These credits apply to the following if purchased between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010: Biomass stoves; insulation; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning upgrades; windows and doors; roofs; and non-solar water heaters. The credit allows homeowners every two years to claim 30 percent of the cost of the system, for a maximum credit of $1,500. This credit expires Dec. 31, 2010. Please note that some of these tax credits do not apply to installation costs, and not all ENERGY STAR products qualify for the tax credits. Please consult http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index for specifics.
If you’ve decided to purchase small wind turbines, a geothermal heat pump, or a solar energy system for your principal residence or a new home construction, you have until Dec. 31, 2016, to make the purchase. You also can receive a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost (no upper limit).
Check out the following resources:
• Database of State and Federal Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (http://www.dsireusa.org/): Provides a comprehensive list of all local, state, and federal rebates, tax credits, and property tax reductions for green enhancements to homes and new construction.
• Better Than a Credit: If you participated in the Cash for Clunkers program and purchased a more fuel-efficient car, remember, your $3,500 or $4,500 rebate is not considered taxable income. If you actually purchased a hybrid, you may qualify for an energy tax credit (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/tax_hybrid.shtml). Cars purchased after Dec. 31, 2010, are no longer eligible for the energy tax credit.
• ENERGY STAR Rebates and Partners: Type in your ZIP Code and find tax exemptions, rebates, or discounts on ENERGY STAR-rated products in your local area--everything from DVD players to water heaters at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate locator.