TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Tax Deductions and Credits / What Are Energy Tax Credits?

What Are Energy Tax Credits?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

In an attempt to promote a healthier environment, the U.S. Congress authorizes an array of energy tax credits as incentive for people using alternative energy resources. If you are eligible, these tax credits reduce the amount of income tax you owe on a dollar-for-dollar basis. To give that some context, a tax deduction only reduces the amount of income that is subject to tax, so energy tax credits could save you a lot of money.


Eligibility for energy efficient credits

This credit allows you a 30 percent reduction in tax liability for whatever you spent buying and installing environmentally-friendly equipment in your home. To qualify, you have to install the new equipment before the end of 2017.

Qualifying equipment includes solar-powered units that generate electricity and hot water in the home, energy-producing wind fans and geothermal heat pumps. The credit is only available for improvements you make to your primary home. If you are adding solar panels to your summer house, you won’t get a tax break for it.

Eligibility for plug-in electric vehicle credits

To minimize the environmental pollution that gasoline-powered vehicles create and to encourage people to by electric vehicles, the federal government offers a tax incentive. The value of the tax credit ranges from $2,500 to $7,500 depending on the battery capacity of the plug-in electric vehicle.

To qualify for the credit, the vehicle has to have at least four wheels, weigh less than 14,000 pounds and draw propulsion using a battery with capacity of at least five kilowatt hours. The vehicle also has to be rechargeable using an external electricity source.

The full amount of the credit will be reduced after the manufacturer has sold at least 200,000 vehicles.

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The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


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