3 ways to get the energy tax credit - now!

July 18, 2011

Use them before you lose them--that might be a good way of looking at the federal energy tax credits for windows and doors in place through the end of 2011. The credits are already less than they were in 2010 and with all the talk of cuts in the federal budget, there's a pretty good chance they might be gone for good in 2012. However, if you purchase qualifying windows or doors through December 31, 2011, you may be able to use the credits to reduce your window replacement cost.

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How to earn tax credits to reduce your window replacement cost

Who doesn't like paying less taxes to the federal government? And when it's in the form of an energy tax credit, you're helping the environment at the same time. The government's Energy Star website estimates that a homeowner with an average house can reduce their annual heating and cooling bills by 7 to 15 percent when they upgrade to Energy Star windows, so you're not just getting money from the government--you may be receiving a break from your utility companies, too.

Homeowners can become eligible for the energy tax credit by:

  1. Purchasing doors or windows that meet the Energy Star program requirements
  2. Installing the qualifying windows and doors in your primary residence
  3. Completing the installation by December 31, 2011

You have numerous choices when searching for doors and windows that meet Energy Star program requirements. The products just have to be manufactured by a company recognized as an Energy Star partner, be certified by the National Fenestration Council, and have ratings that meet the minimum requirements established for energy efficiency by the U.S. Department of Energy. Many window and door companies have several model lines that meet these high energy efficiency standards and the selections available to choose from increases constantly.

Claiming your tax credit

You should consult with your accountant or tax attorney before taking your tax credit, but you may be able to claim up to $200 for qualifying windows and $500 for qualifying doors on your 2011 federal taxes. The maximum tax credit you can receive for 2011 is $500 and a lifetime cap of $500 has been put in place. The cap includes any credits you may have taken from 2006 to 2010, so if you've already received an energy tax credit of $200 for one of those years, the most you can claim for 2011 is $300. Your accountant can provide you with the details and help make sure your tax forms are filled out properly.


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