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2013 Federal Tax Credits for Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Energy-Efficient-High-Performance-Homes_New_10-4-12If you made your home more energy efficient in 2013, you may be eligible for up to $500 of federal tax credit! On January 1, 2013 residential tax incentives for existing home were extended through the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, more commonly called the "fiscal cliff bill", until December 31, 2013. Although this credit may sound small, notice that it is a tax credit, a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your final tax bill, not just a reduction of your taxable income.

To find out if your energy-efficient changes qualify for the federal tax credit, begin by going to the Energy Star website for a detailed description of what changes and products are covered. In general the tax credit applies to:

  1. Biomass Stoves, up to $300 tax credit
  2. Heating, Ventilating and Cooling Systems, up to $300 tax credit
  3. Insulation, up to $500 tax credit
  4. Metal and Asphalt Roofs, up to $500 tax credit
  5. Non-Solar Water Heaters, up to $300 tax credit
  6. Windows Including Storm Windows, up to $200 tax credit
  7. Doors Including Storm Doors, up to $500 tax credit

If you are eligible, the tax credit applies to 10% of the product price and rarely includes the cost of installation. Additional limits apply to the tax credit:

  • $500 is the maximum tax credit you may claim.
  • There is a lifetime limit of $500 which began in 2009.
  • Tax credits of qualifying improvement can be added together but cannot exceed the $500 limit or your personal lifetime limit.
  • The new products must be installed into an existing home, not new construction
  • The home must be your principal residence
  • The products must be installed by December 31st, 2013

If your upgrades qualify for a tax credit, file IRS Form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms. Make sure you have your product receipts and manufacturer certifications, which are usually located in the product packaging or available on the manufacturer's website, in case the IRS asks for proof.

If you don't qualify for the federal incentives, see if there is a Massachusetts tax credit that you can claim.

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