Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 “Green” Tax Credits and Deductions

Although gas prices have dropped over the past few months, going “green” and helping to improve the environment is still at the top of everyone’s mind. Additionally, the federal government also offers a wide variety of energy efficiency related tax credits to help encourage taxpayers to “go green.”

1. Hybrid Vehicles

Eco-friendly automobiles are more than good for the planet. They are good for your wallet! In fact, buying any hybrid vehicle can earn you a tax break of anywhere between $200 and $3,500. Both the weight of the vehicle and how much gasoline it saves affects how much of a break you will receive, so be sure to do your research before making any large purchases!

2. New Roof

Investing in a new energy-efficient roof is a great way to save money, help the planet, and put value into your home all at the same time. Energy-efficient roofs come in a variety of materials and types, but the most common would be a metal roof. To be sure your roof is as efficient as it can be, look for the energy star, as energy star products are the most efficient. Investing in a new roof can also give you up to $500 in tax credits.

3. Solar Panels

Solar panels and photovoltaic systems are smart, clean, and inexpensive products that can make up for their own cost in very little time. You can also receive huge tax breaks for installing a working solar panel system, or photovoltaic system. For installing either, you can receive a deduction for up to 30% of the total cost.

4. Fuel Cells

There is a consumer tax credit for installing fuel cell and micro-turbine systems, as long as they meet the government’s qualifications. The credit is for 30% of the total cost, up to $1,500 for each half kilowatt.

5. Bio-Diesel

Similarly to hybrid vehicles, you can reap huge benefits from driving a vehicle powered by bio-diesel. In fact, you can actually receive more federal benefits for having a bio-diesel vehicle than a hybrid, and some states even offer state tax breaks for bio-diesel powered cars.

6. Energy Efficient Appliances

There are dozens of tax incentives for a wide array of appliances for your home or office, as long as they were manufactured in the past 3 years, and meet “efficiency” qualifications. These appliances include, but are not limited to, dishwashers, refrigerators, and clothes washers.

7. Business Credits

You can get business tax credit for providing an earth-friendly work environment. Whether it means having one or more hybrid vehicles for company cars, or simply purchasing energy-saving appliances. You can also receive tax credits for having your office or business in a building that follows certain energy efficiency guidelines.

8. Wind Energy

You can receive a 30% tax credit for the cost of a wind energy system once you have installed it. You can also get up to $4,000 of additional credits depending on how many kilowatts of electricity you produce, at $500 for each half kilowatt.

9. New Windows

Purchasing double paned or energy efficient windows for your home will keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Likewise with the summer, your home will stay cool and comfortable with this impressive addition. Although you hardly need more incentive, installing energy efficient windows can also provide you with a tax credit of up to $200.

10. Plug-in Hybrids

Effective January 1, 2009, there will be a huge new tax incentive for the first 250,000 plug-in hybrid vehicle buyers. The buyers will receive a credit from $2,500 to $7,500 for both cars and trucks following the plug-in hybrid standards, depending on the capacity of the vehicle’s battery.

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