Real Estate Q&A: Energy Tax Credits for Home Improvements

energy-efficient_house_tax_credit(MCT)—Q: I was thinking of making a couple of home improvements this fall. Is the government still offering home energy improvement tax credits? If they’re available, where’s the easiest place to find information on what items qualify? I don’t want to get lost in the IRS website.

A: Yes, federal tax credits are still available for energy-saving improvements made to homes by the end of 2013. Probably the most understandable information can be found on the government’s Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov/taxcredits. The Alliance to Save Energy also has helpful information at www.ase.org/taxcredit.

I don’t know of any site that lists all the specific products that qualify for the credits. However, the Energy Star site does give all the parameters for each qualifying improvement, and your dealer should be able to tell you whether a specific product qualifies. In addition, some manufacturers list their qualifying products on their websites.

The credits are available for these qualifying products: insulation; roofs; heating and cooling equipment; water heaters; exterior windows, including skylights and storm windows; exterior doors, including storm doors; and heating stoves that burn biomass fuels, such as wood pellets or corn.

Credits are also available through 2016 on geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines and solar energy systems, but those aren’t common home improvements.

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