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August 25, 2023

Catch a tax break for making energy-efficient home improvements this summer

According to the National Weather Service, nearly 190 million Americans have been under a heat advisory this summer. These scorching months might have you thinking about ways to make your home more energy efficient so that you don’t pay utility prices that are just as high as the heat index.

If you do decide to make some upgrades, there’s a new tax break that could ease some of the financial burden of the process. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is an enhanced residential energy tax credit that can be used to mitigate the costs of qualifying improvements.

Who’s eligible for the tax credit

By making eligible energy-efficient improvements to your home on or after January 1, 2023, you might qualify for a tax credit of up to $3,000, and you can claim this credit for any eligible improvements through 2032.

This tax credit equals 30% of specific qualified expenses for energy improvements to a home located in the United States, including:

  • Qualified energy-efficient improvements installed during the year
  • Residential “energy property” expenses
  • Home energy audits

Of course, there are limits on the allowable yearly credit and the amount of credit for specific expenses.

The maximum claimable credit available each year is:

  • $1,200 for energy property costs and specific energy-efficient home improvements, with limits on doors ($250 per door and $500 total), windows ($600 total), and home energy audits ($150)
  • $2,000 per year for qualified heat pumps, biomass stoves or biomass boilers

In addition to the credit for windows and doors, other energy property includes central air conditioners and hot water heaters.

Prior to the 2022 law, there was a lifetime credit limit of $500. Today, this credit has no lifetime dollar limit. You’re allowed to claim the maximum annual amount every year that you make qualifying improvements until 2033.

For instance, you can make a few improvements this year and take a $1,200 credit for 2023, and then make additional improvements the next year to claim a $1,200 credit for 2024.

It’s important to note that the credit is claimed in the year in which the installation is completed.

Additional limits and rules

Generally speaking, the credit is available for your primary residence, although some improvements on secondary residences may qualify. 

If a property is used exclusively for business, you’re not allowed to claim this credit. 

If your home is partially used for business, the amount of credit you can receive will vary. For business use maxing out at 20%, you can claim the full credit, but anything over 20% will get you a partial credit.

While the credit is available for specific water heating equipment, you can’t claim it for anything that’s used to heat a swimming pool or hot tub.

This credit is nonrefundable, which means you can’t get back more on the credit than you owe in taxes. Additionally, you can’t apply any excess credit to future tax years. However, there’s no phaseout based on your income level, so even high-income taxpayers can benefit from this credit.

Have questions? Smolin can help

If you have questions about making energy-efficient improvements or purchasing energy-saving property for your home, contact the knowledgeable professionals at Smolin. We’ll show you how to make the Inflation Reduction Act and other tax breaks work for you.

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