Smart TaxesSmart Taxes

Energy tax credit almost makes sense

Installation of some improvements is included, but for other upgrades, you get credit only for material.

By Jeff Schnepper Jan 20, 2010 12:36PM

Congress and President Obama want us to save energy.


Global warming is my fault. I’ll take the heat. I actually use my car and prefer to live in a comfortable indoor temperature. I’m sitting here now in minus-7 degree wind chill adjusted outside temperature wondering where I can buy a can of hair spray to open a warming hole in the atmosphere over my house.


Actually, from what I’ve been told, most of the atmospheric damage comes from methane gases. And much of that is generated in Congress.


But, I digress…..


So they gave us an energy tax credit. A credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in your tax. If you’ve got a 30% credit on a

$5,000 buy, that puts $1,500 in your pocket.


That’s what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave us last year for qualifying energy-efficient skylights, outside doors, windows, pigmented roofs and high-efficiency furnaces, water heaters and central air-conditioning units installed in your primary homes in 2009 or 2010.

In effect, the IRS will reimburse you at tax time for as much as $1,500, if you buy right.


Now, here’s where it gets interesting.


If you buy and install a high-efficiency heating or air-conditioning system, water heater or a stove that burns biomass, the cost of installation counts.


If you buy and install energy-efficient windows, skylights, doors, insulation or a pigmented roof, installation doesn’t count.




No, I don’t think everybody in Congress is stretching for a two digit IQ. I’m not suspicious. I just think some appropriate campaign donations were made.


Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has introduced legislation (S.2829) to qualify currently ineligible labor costs for the credit.


E-mail, call, or write your representative to support some logic in the Tax Code.


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