Ask Kim


Tax Breaks for Winterizing Your Home

Kimberly Lankford

Uncle Sam will help cover the cost of energy-efficient windows, doors and more.



Can I get a tax break for winterizing my home this year?

Yes, you can. In fact, the federal tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements was expanded for 2009 and 2010 to cover many more categories than in the past. So winterizing your home will not only help you save on energy costs now but also save you money when you pay your taxes next spring.

The credit is worth 30% of the cost of qualifying energy-efficient windows, skylights, doors and roofs, plus certain types of insulation, up to $1,500, for 2009 and 2010 combined (installation costs for the improvements do not count). So if you spend up to $5,000 on any of these qualifying expenses to winterize your home before December 31, you could lower your 2009 tax bill by as much as $1,500. The cost of purchasing -- and installing -- certain high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning systems, water heaters and stoves that burn biomass qualify for the credit, too.

You don’t have to itemize to get the credit. But you will need to submit Form 5695 when you file your taxes.

You can get an even bigger tax break for big-ticket home improvements, such as the cost to purchase and install a geothermal heat pump, solar water heater, solar panels, fuel cells or small wind-energy system (as long as no part of the system is used to heat a swimming pool or hot tub). You get the same credit worth 30% of the cost of the improvements, but there is no maximum dollar amount.

See The Tax Incentives Assistance Project and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Web site for more information.

Got a Question? E-mail me at askkim@kiplinger.com.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.



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