From Green Right Now Reports
While we are all enjoying the ho-ho-ho holiday season, we are perhaps less giddy when reminded that this also is end-of-year tax planning season. Â But the Alliance to Save Energy is urging American consumers to give themselves the gift of energy efficiency this holiday season â€“ and reap the benefits when they file their 2011 federal tax returns â€“ by taking advantage of tax credits for energy efficiency home improvements.
Those tax credits for up to $500 are very likely to disappear by Dec. 31, unless Congress renews them for 2012.
â€śThe outlook for renewal of federal energy efficiency tax incentives is uncertain at best,â€ť Alliance President Kateri Callahan said in a statement, â€śso we encourage homeowners to complete those upgrades before the ball drops in Times Square at midnight on New Yearâ€™s Eve.
The specific home improvements that qualify for tax credits fall into a number of categories:
- Exterior windows, skylights and storm windows.
- Insulation, exterior doors, roofs, storm doors and products to seal air leaks such as caulking, weather stripping and foam sealants.
- Highly efficient heating and cooling equipment, including central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and biomass (e.g. corn) stoves.
Each product category also must meet specific energy efficiency requirements — you can find the details on the Allianceâ€™s tax credits web page.
Percentage and/or dollar limits on particular energy-efficient upgrades include:
- 10% of the cost of insulation and sealing materials, exterior doors and roofs.
- 10% of the cost, up to $200, of exterior windows or skylights.
- Up to $300 for electric heat pump water heaters, electric heat pumps, central air conditioners, biomass stoves and natural gas, propane or oil water heaters.
- Up to $50 for advanced main air circulating fans.
- Up to $150 for natural gas, propane or oil furnace or hot water boilers.