Home improvement season is here and Better Business Bureau is offering advice on how to take advantage of tax credits being offered by the Federal government while increasing home energy efficiency and helping the environment at the same time.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included several new tax and expanded credits that homeowners can take advantage of while increasing the energy efficiency of their home, and according to Remodeling Magazine's 2008-2009 Cost vs. Value report, energy efficient replacement projects are some of the best bets for recouping money at resale. Some qualifying improvements include routine work that every homeowner must undertake now and then, such as installing a new roof. However, other qualifying improvements are more involved including installing a wind or solar energy system.
“Increasing the energy efficiency of your home is one way to cut down on monthly bills, and now is a great time to make some modest home improvements to take advantage of federal tax credits and boost resale value,” said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson. “Before making any energy saving purchases, do your homework because not all products qualify for a tax credit and not every product with an ENERGY STAR seal will apply.”
To qualify for tax credits, improvements must typically be made on the owner’s primary residence. Homeowners should keep in mind that just because a product has an ENERGY STAR seal—the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for energy efficient consumer products—it doesn’t mean the purchase qualifies for the tax credit. For the following home improvements, a household can take a tax credit for 30 percent of the improvement cost up to $1,500 total for all improvements made.
• Windows and doors including energy efficient skylights, storm windows, exterior windows, storm doors and exterior doors;
• Roofing and Insulation, including metal or asphalt shingles;
• Heating and cooling systems including energy efficient central A/C units, oil and gas furnaces; and
• Water heaters including energy-efficient gas, oil, or propane water heaters and electric heat pump water heaters.
A full list of qualifying home improvements is available online at: www.energystar.gov/taxcredits.
BBB offers the following advice for homeowners on finding a company or contractor they can trust to help make their house greener:
• Always check the company or contractor out with BBB first. BBB Reliability Reports are available online for free at www.bbb.org and will tell the homeowner if the business has a good rating and is accredited by BBB.
• Homeowners should get several estimates for projects and remember that they do not have to use any specific contractor in order to take advantage of the tax credits.
• Before making any improvements, visit www.energystar.gov to confirm that the products being used are eligible for the tax credit. Also consider consulting the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov or a tax professional.
For more information on making home improvements visit www.bbb.org.