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Deadline for tax credits for energy-saving upgrades is Dec. 31

Consumer Reports News: December 02, 2011 04:34 PM

Time is running out for homeowners to make energy-efficient improvements that qualify for a 2011 tax credit. The credits of up to $500 are set to expire at the end of the year and it’s uncertain if Congress will renew them for 2012. The income tax credits for 2011 differ from those available for 2009 and 2010, according to the Alliance to Save Energy so make sure you do your homework before filing your income taxes.

“The outlook for renewal of federal energy efficiency tax incentives is uncertain at best,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan in a press release, “so we encourage homeowners to complete those upgrades before the ball drops in Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve.”

The home improvements that qualify for tax credits fall into a number of categories:

  • Exterior windows, skylights and storm windows.
  • Insulation, exterior doors, roofs, storm doors and products to seal air leaks such as caulking, weather stripping and foam sealants.
  • Highly-efficient heating and cooling equipment, including central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and biomass (e.g. corn) stoves.

The improvements must be installed in your principal residence between January 1 and December 31, 2011. Check the Energy Star website to see which improvements qualify for a tax credit and how to apply. In short, you need to file IRS Form 5695 with your 2011 taxes. Make sure you save your receipts and any Manufacturer's Certification Statement for your records.

Mary H.J. Farrell

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