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Get Paid for Going Green

Tip: DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on local, state, federal, and utility incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, 2014

Americans are expected to spend an annualized $53.8 billion on home improvements in the third quarter of 2014—which represents a 9.9% increase over the third quarter of 2013.¹ Those looking into environmentally minded home modifications may get a boost from Uncle Sam’s tax incentives. Here’s how:²

The Energy Property Tax Credit

Tax credits for Energy-Star-rated home additions expired at the end of 2013. This means these types of improvements may be eligible for a 10% tax credit up to $500, excluding installation costs. This is a lifetime limit however, so if you have taken the credit in the past, your savings may be reduced.³

As for what qualifies, improvements must be to your primary residence and they must be found on the “Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency” list. The list includes additions under the categories of biomass stoves, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, insulation, roofs, water heaters, windows, and doors.

Alternative Energy Improvements

But what if you want to be even more environmentally friendly? If you install an alternative energy source for your home, such as a geothermal heat pump, a small wind turbine, or a solar-powered energy system, you may be eligible for a rebate of up to 30% on the price. That means you potentially can get a third of your money back. And unlike other tax incentives, this one applies to both principal residences and second homes.⁴

Gadget Giveaway

Installations aren’t the only way to make tax-friendly improvements to your home. What about the tax benefits of clearing some techno-clutter?

When you donate your used electronics, you potentially can deduct the fair market value of each piece, which you determine. (To get an idea of fair market value, you can consider looking at what similar items are selling for at various online auctioneers.) Donating old electronics can help you save space, not to mention helping someone in need.

More and more homeowners are looking into the benefits of energy-saving home improvements. If you opt to “go green” this year, don’t forget to consider what tax breaks may be available. Tax laws are constantly changing, so before committing to an improvement project, consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Also, the information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.

  • 1. Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2014
  • 2. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
  • 3, 4. energystar.gov, 2014

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Some of this material was developed and produced by FMG, LLC, to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2014 Faulkner Media Group.

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