Special to The Sun
If you are planning to do some home improvements to make your home more energy efficient, now is the time to take action. Multiple federal energy efficiency tax credits are set to expire permanently at the end of the year.
Oklahomans have until Dec. 31 to take advantage of a cumulative maximum of $500 in credits for energy-related improvements completed in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The credits are a cumulative maximum of $1,500 for improvements done in 2009 and 2010.
The tax credits are for energy improvements done to existing homes owned by you, and used as your principal residence, said Scott Frazier, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension energy management engineer. New construction and rentals are not eligible for these federal tax credits.
“You still have about a month to make any qualifying purchases and installations,” Frazier said. “Keep in mind the credits also can be claimed retroactively if you did some of these improvements as far back five years ago.”
There are six general categories of improvements eligible for the tax credits: biomass stoves (such as wood or grass); heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); insulation; roofs (metal and asphalt); water heaters (non-solar); and exterior doors and windows, including skylights.
These particular federal energy efficiency tax credits started in 2009, and have been extended once. Details of the program and descriptions of the improvements as well as the credit amounts are available on the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov/taxcredits.
Federal tax credits for other categories of energy efficiency improvements including geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines (residential), solar energy systems and fuel cells (residential fuel cell and microturbine system) remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2016. Existing homes and new construction qualify for all four categories, but rentals and second homes are not eligible for the fuel cell tax credit.
“The tax credits are good motivation for taking steps to increase your home’s energy efficiency, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come,” Frazier said. “In the long-term, you’ll reduce your energy bill, make your home more comfortable to live in and help the environment.”