Going green – as individuals and as businesses – has helped to reduce pollution and decrease tax bills in recent years. However, many federal tax incentives expired on Dec. 31, 2011.
“There aren’t that many green tax incentives out there right now for individual taxpayers,” said Mike Scholz, tax director of Wegner CPAs, LLP, in Madison, Wisconsin. “And there aren’t going to be a lot of new ones coming up. Unfortunately for taxpayers, we’re kind of stuck in a holding pattern.”
Ronnie Kweller, director of media relations for the Alliance to Save Energy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency, agrees that passage of new federal tax credits or reinstatement of old ones is unlikely in the immediate future.
“We hope they come back at some point, as they are very cost-effective investments that actually return money to the economy,” Kweller said, adding that she knows of no congressional effort to replace or extend tax breaks for green initiatives.
While the glory days of tax incentives for going green might be over, a lot of benefits still are available if you know where to find them. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a comprehensive online resource for information on local, state, federal and utility-based incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
"Most of the time, these days, when people are getting rid of their unwanted electronics for recycling, they’re not getting rid of old junk. They’re getting rid of a cell phone that might be 2 years old or a slightly outdated game console or laptop."
- Arman Sadejhi, All Green Electronics Recycling