Energy Tax Credits . . . Q & A

We discussed the excellent marketing potential the new Energy Tax Credits in the massive government stimulus package provide for us in the last posting. There is $6 billion available for home improvement manufacturers and retailers. In order for you to benefit from this opportunity, you need to be well informed and capable of showing the homeowner how they can gain the maximum benefit from this tax credit. So, in the next few postings, we’re going to ask the questions and answer them for you. So, let’s get started . . .

Q: What are the qualifications?

A: Qualified home improvement products installed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 on homeowner occupied residences.

Q: How much is the tax credit?

A: Homeowners can claim a tax credit of up to $1,500 representing 30% of the purchase price (not including installation costs).

Q: How do we know the product we’re selling qualifies?

A: Get certification from your supplier. You will need this if you’re challenged.

Q: Do we have to leave a copy of the certification with a customer?

A: It is advisable, although not required to send this in with their claim when they report their taxes. They should be reminded to keep a copy for that purpose.

Q: Which products qualify?

A: All products must meet a standard specified within the Act. Windows, doors, skylights, insulation, roofing, certain types of HVAC equipment and solar products.

Q: Where can we get more information on qualified products?

A: www.ase.org, www.energystar.com, www.DOE.gov and your manufacturer.

These next two Q’s and A’s are very important to understand and remember so the prospective buyer fully understands how they get their benefit.

Q: What is a tax credit?

A: Homeowners don’t receive the tax credit when they buy the Home Improvement project. They claim the credit on their federal income tax form at the end of the year – 2009 or 2010. The credit then increases the tax refund they receive or decreases the amount they owe.

Q: What is the difference between Tax Credits vs. Tax Deductions?

A: In general, a tax credit is more valuable then a tax deduction. A tax credit reduces the tax you pay, dollar-for-dollar. Tax deductions – (home mortgages or charitable giving) – lower the taxable income. If you are in the 35-percent tax bracket, the income tax you pay is reduced by 35 percent of the amount of the tax credit.

Let’s wrap it up here for this blog post. I’ll have more Q’s & A’s in the next posting

Best regards,
Dave Yoho

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