Can I Claim Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Home Improvements?
Yes! There are two different tax credits available for Tax Year 2012. Each credit has different requirements and covers different types of energy efficient home improvements.
What Is the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit?
If you made energy saving improvements to your home during 2012 by installing an Earth-friendly energy source, you may be able to take advantage of the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit (that's a long name for a good credit!)
The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit could be worth up to 30% of the total cost of installing certain renewable energy sources in your home.
Unlike the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit described below, this credit is not restricted to your primary residence (except for fuel cells), and it may be claimed for newly constructed homes, but you must own the home (rentals do not count). All installation costs may be included. Better yet, there is no cap or upper limit on the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit (except for on wind turbines and fuel cells--but the caps on those are generous).
The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit is not scheduled to expire until December 31, 2016.
What Home Energy Sources Qualify for the Energy Efficient Property Credit?
Here are the different energy-efficient products that qualify for the credit:
Geothermal heat pumps
Solar water heaters
Small wind turbines (up to $4,000)
Fuel cells (up to $500 for each 0.5 kilowatt power capacity) (primary residence only)
What Is the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit?
If you made certain energy-saving or energy-efficient home improvements in 2012, you could get a tax credit for up to 10% of the purchase price of qualified products, up to a maximum amount of $500 for all your home improvements (a maximum of $200 for windows) made during 2012. Some installation and labor costs also qualify for the credit.
This energy efficient home credit is only available to those taxpayers who did not claim more than $500 worth of home energy tax credits in an earlier year. If you received home energy credits from tax years 2005-2011, you must subtract the amounts you received from 2012's $500 "lifetime" credit cap (the lifetime cap is $200 for windows).
In order to claim this energy credit on your 2012 Tax Return, you must have purchased the qualified improvements and placed them into service during 2012. To qualify for the credit, the energy-saving improvements must have been made on an existing home (not a new construction) which was your primary residence, and which you owned.
Energy Saving Home Improvements that Qualify for the 2012 Tax Credit
Here are the various energy-efficient products which qualify for the credit, and the maximum amount that can be claimed for each:
$300 for biomass stoves
$50 for advanced main air circulating fans
$300 for air source heat pumps
$300 for central air conditioning
$150 for gas, propane, or oil hot-water boilers
$150 for gas, propane, or oil furnaces
$300 for gas, propane, oil, or electric heat pump water-heaters
$500 for energy-efficient doors (installation costs do not count)
$500 for energy-efficient skylights (installation costs do not count)
$200 for energy-efficient windows (installation costs do not count)
$500 for insulation (installation costs do not count)
$500 for metal or asphalt roofing (installation costs do not count)
Remember that only $500 of all combined qualified costs may be credited.
The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2013.
In addition to home energy credits, there are many other tax breaks and tax deductions available to homeowners.
Learn about other federal tax credits.
See what tax deductions you may qualify for.