How to Claim a Tax Credit for Home Renovations
The Internal Revenue Service wants you to go green.
The IRS will pay you (through tax credits) for making energy-saving renovations to your home. Not all additions or renovations qualify, but the IRS allows for generous tax credits to encourage homeowners to make energy-conscious choices in materials and construction methods.
Write down a list of materials and items you plan to add, or change, for your home. These might include new windows or new appliances. Use this list when shopping for the materials, and attempt to find the most energy-efficient products by shopping around at more than one store. Try to purchase electrical items listed as "Energy Star Compliant" and also try to purchase insulation with the highest "R Value" rating as possible for even more energy savings.
File the receipts for all energy-efficient items, keeping them in a place where you know you can find them, like a filing cabinet. They will be needed when filing your taxes with your tax preparer who will apply the most current tax laws to your situation.
Be sure to keep copies of all energy-related utility statements--like your electric, gas or oil bill--for at least three months before renovations, and three months after renovations. It would be best if you accumulate utility statements for an entire six months pre-renovation and six months post-renovation. These statements may help your tax preparer justify your tax credits to the IRS, especially if the post-renovation statements show a definite reduction in energy expenditures.
Take along your receipts and utility bill statements when visiting your tax preparer at the end-of-year filing of your taxes, and allow your preparer to assess the amount of tax credit you are able to claim as allowable by current tax laws at the time of filing.
Use LED bulbs throughout your home and implement a family energy saving plan (keeping lights off when not in the room, etc.) to further increase the proof of energy conservation on your utility statements for even greater tax credit amounts.
The energy tax credits allowed by the IRS can vary from year to year as laws and regulations change. A professional tax preparer should be aware of the latest rules. If you want to do your own research, go to IRS.gov and search for "energy tax credits."
- A safe place (like a filing cabinet) to keep receipts
- Electric utility statements (at least three months before energy-saving additions and three months post-addition)