Daylight savings time is almost here, which robs us of an hour as we spring forward this Sunday.
That is, unless you live in one of the few areas where daylight savings time is not observed, such as most of Arizona, Hawaii, and most of the US territories. That gives us one less hour to file our taxes, so if you haven’t filed yet, time to get in gear and file your taxes.
Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of daylight savings time in 1784 to conserve candles, but it wasn’t adopted in the U.S. until World War I.
Because daylight savings time was controversial and disrupted the routines of farmers, it was repealed as soon as the war was over. Daylight savings time made a comeback during World War II as a way to conserve energy by using less electricity in the wakeful evening hours.
Daylight savings time used to last from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October. In 1987 the start date was moved up to the first Sunday in April, and that’s when tax filing time became one hour shorter.
In 2007 daylight savings time became even longer when the start date was moved forward to the second Sunday in March and the ending date was moved to the first Sunday of November. That’s where it remains now.
So does daylight savings time conserve energy? Maybe so. The theory is that with more daylight hours at night, you won’t be inclined to turn the lights on as soon as you get home from work. Retailers and sporting good companies like the boost it provides to sales as people take advantage of the longer evenings to shop and play.
But the savings from daylight savings time can’t hold a candle (pardon the pun, Benjamin F.) to the savings produced by the Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credit for the installation of solar equipment, which can trim your tax bill by 30% of the cost of the installed equipment.
Even though you are about to lose an hour, you might want to add to that your to-do list, to look into installing qualifying equipment before the tax credit expires at the end of 2016.
If you already installed solar equipment don’t forget to have your receipt ready when you sit down to prepare your taxes. TurboTax will walk you through this energy tax credit so you get the tax refund you deserve.