The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free “Green” Money from the good uncle

Do you like to get some “green” back at tax time? Tax credits are available for some home improvements. Don’t miss out! The program is short lived and may not be re-authorized by congress. If you need new windows, exterior doors or need to add insulation you are throwing away money if you do not take advantage of this program.

Here is a brief overview.

  • Improvements must be placed in service before December 31, 2010.

  • Improvements must be made to your (taxpayer’s) principal residence.

  • Tax credit is equal to 30% of product cost (not installation).

  • Maximum tax credit is $1,500 over 2 years (2009 and 2010). You have less than 18 months to plan, save and leverage this program.

  • You must have Manufacturer Certification Statement and receipts to qualify. The Energy Star web site states "Taxpayers must keep a copy of the certification statement for their records, but do not have to submit a copy with their tax return."

Here are the Energy Efficiency Improvements that qualify through the end of 2010:

  • Insulation - primary purpose must be insulation, i.e. insulated siding doesn't qualify.

  • Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors and Storm Windows and Doors - but check carefully as not all qualify (see table on Energy Star web site, right column).

  • Roofing - includes all Energy Star qualified metal roofs plus reflective asphalt shingles.

  • Central A/C- should be properly sized, and check for supporting documentation.

  • Furnaces - there are oil, natural gas and propane eligible furnaces but make sure you're picking a model that is eligible for the tax credits. It includes some air-source heat pumps.

  • Water Heaters - there are select models of natural gas, propane, oil and electric hot water heaters that qualify.

More novel Renewable Energy Improvements are eligible for 30% of the total cost (no $1500 cap), and can be added to your home up to December 2016.

  • Solar Water Heating – use the sun to heat your bath water.

  • Photovoltaic Systems – solar panels that produce electricity for your home.

  • Residential Wind Turbines – produce energy for your home from the wind.

As always, with any government program, there are some strict rules to qualify. Visit or consult the manufacturer to ensure the requirements are met prior to purchasing any of these items.