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Energy Efficient Improvements to Save Money at Tax-Time

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Going green can make your home more energy efficient, and certain tax credits will also help you save money at tax time. Before we get into specifics, one positive thing to note for your taxes is these tax benefits are credits, so unlike deductions, they reduce the taxes you owe dollar-for-dollar.   

Clean Vehicle Credit 

Not only can you save money by not having to purchase gas with your electric car, but the Clean Vehicle Credit is a dollar-for-dollar credit that can reduce taxes you may owe and potentially lower your taxes owed by $7,500. 

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, people who purchased new electric vehicles are eligible for a tax credit up to $7,500. Also, starting January 1, 2023, people who purchase used electric vehicles may be eligible for a credit of 30% of the sale price up to $4,000 depending on their income.

Most of the changes to electric vehicle credits under the Inflation Reduction Act are effective with electric vehicles purchased starting January 1, 2023. The only change in the law that was effective immediately starting on August 17, 2022 is that new electric vehicles must receive final assembly in North America. People who entered a binding contract to purchase a new electric vehicle before the Inflation Reduction Act passed can follow the previous rules in place.

Credit for Electric Chargers Installed at Your Home or Business

If you equipped your home or business with electric charges, you may be eligible for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit to reduce your tax liability.

You could be eligible for a credit of 30% of the cost associated with the hardware and installation of electric vehicle chargers installed in your home in 2022. This credit is a one-time non-refundable tax credit for a maximum of $1,000 or 30 percent of the cost – whichever is lower. 

Residential Clean Energy Credit

The Residential Clean Energy Credit is a hefty credit for making energy improvements to your home and offers a generous credit worth up to 30% if you purchase the energy efficient equipment from January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2032 – think what you spent on solar hot water heaters, solar power (the photovoltaic panels you are starting to see on roofs) and wind turbines. 

If the credit is more than your total tax bill for the entire year, the remainder can be carried forward to next year. The installation of these systems must be in the US and in your main home. Your main home is generally the home you live in most of the time.

Each state has its own rebates which help to reduce your cost. Check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to see what your state offers. With the cost of electricity rising, and the cost of solar panels continuing to fall, it makes sense to see if this is a wise purchase for your house and the tax credit may tip the math to favor going solar or simply make a good deal better.

Home Energy Audits 

To qualify the home energy audit must identify the most significant and cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to the residence and include a written audit report. When performing a residential energy audit make sure that it meets all the requirements. 

The credit amount is equal to 30% of the total amount paid during the year for a home energy audit. The maximum credit that can be claimed for home energy audits is $150 (30% credit on audits that cost up to $500). This credit is non-refundable which means that it will reduce the amount you owe to the IRS down to zero but any remaining credit won’t be refunded to you. 

Some things to note about your home energy audit: 

  • Must include an estimate of the energy and cost saving each improvement would provide
  • Should be performed by a qualified auditor and state in the written audit report that the auditor is certified to conduct home energy audits 

Non-Business Energy Property Credit (Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit)

Prior to the Inflation Reduction Act, the Non-Business Energy Property Credit, which has now been renamed the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit, was worth 10% of the cost and gave taxpayers up to a $500 lifetime limit on qualified energy efficient items installed in their homes, like qualified insulation, windows, doors, and roofs, through December 31, 2022. 

As a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, the credit is now worth up to $1,200 per year for a qualifying property placed in service on or after January 1, 2023 and before January 1, 2033. Since the credit now has an annual limit rather than a lifetime limit, you could spread your home improvements over the current 10-year life of the credit and receive $12,000 in tax benefits. If you make qualified investments in heat pumps and biomass stoves and boilers, you could also receive up to an additional $2,000 per year. 

Don’t worry about knowing these tax laws. Meet with a TurboTax Full Service expert who can prepare, sign and file your taxes, so you can be 100% confident your taxes are done right. Start TurboTax Live Full Service today, in English or Spanish, and get your taxes done and off your mind. 

Do the math and see if going ‘green’ is not just good for the planet, but for your wallet, too.

7 responses to “Energy Efficient Improvements to Save Money at Tax-Time”

  1. Absolutely loved the insights provided in this blog post! It’s clear that you’ve covered all the essential aspects of a home energy audit and the potential benefits it offers. The details about the qualifications and requirements for the audit to qualify for the credit were particularly helpful. I appreciate the emphasis on ensuring the audit’s compliance with the necessary standards to make the most of the 30% credit, which could definitely be a game-changer in terms of home energy efficiency upgrades.

    The breakdown of the credit calculation and the maximum claimable amount of $150 made it easier to understand how the process works and what homeowners can expect. Your explanation that the credit is non-refundable but can effectively zero out the IRS owed amount adds clarity to a potentially complex subject. This information is a great incentive for homeowners looking to make their residences more energy-efficient.

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