5 Ways to Go Green and Shrink Your Tax Liability

Increase Your “Green Footprint” to Reduce Your “Green Output”/Tax Liability

1. It’s all about being Green or as green as you can get these days. So if being green is good, why not save some green in the process as well? A separate tax credit is available for homeowners who install alternative energy equipment. This credit is equal to 30% of what the homeowner spends on qualifying green energy systems. These green energy systems include: Solar electrical systems (panels, converters, batteries, etc.), solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and wind turbines. This credit not only covers the purchase of the green equipment but also the labor to install the green energy. Go green and go big! There is no cap on this credit and it is available until 2016.

2. Don’t see yourself living off the grid just yet, then save energy and taxes by making your current home more energy efficient. Congress has extended a $500 tax credit for energy efficient home improvements such as new windows, doors, and skylights through 2013. Be advised that the $500 tax credit is the lifetime maximum that you can claim, so if you have claimed this before this year you will not be able to claim this credit. There is also specific projects that only qualify for a partial credit. For example, new windows will only qualify for a $200 credit in 2013.

3. Going green is not only for the existing home remodeler but work just as well for the owners of new homes. Build that new home before January 1 and not only help the environment by going green but increase your tax savings as well. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, new home builders can get a $2,000 tax credit for building a new, energy-efficient home that achieves 50 percent energy savings for heating and cooling over the minimum standard. Home builders who achieve energy savings of 30 percent would receive a $1,000 tax credit.

4. Go green in a green machine. Not only can you save money on gas by investing in a more fuel-efficient car, but you can also qualify for a federal tax credit. The Chevrolet Volt, is in production and comes with a fairly steep price tag of $40,000. However, the car also qualifies for the maximum tax credit of $7,500 for green vehicles, bringing the price down to $32,500.
But, the tax breaks for fuel misers, like hybrids and the Volt, are available for a limited time. Once an auto­maker has sold 60,000 vehicles, buyers qualify for just 50 percent of the vehicle’s original tax credit after a certain period of time. So assuming Chevrolet sells 60,000 Volts, the credit will then fall to $3,750. In subsequent quarters, the credit drops to 25 percent and then is phased out completely. So the purchase of a 2010 Toyota Prius will not qualify for a federal tax credit because that credit expired in 2007.
However, fuel-efficient vehicles that do not qualify for federal tax breaks may be eligible for state ones.

5. Corporate green is not just the profits. Businesses that make changes in their energy systems can get federal tax credits similar to those available to home­owners. Installing a solar water heater, for example, could qualify a business for a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost. But a more significant incentive is called the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction. Although it is a deduction and not a dollar-for-dollar credit, there is still potential for saving big bucks.

All in all, the tax savings from your “Going Green” may sound overwhelming, but garvey & garvey, llc CPAs can easily assist business owners and home owners with establishing a method that is appropriate for them so that there are no unwelcome surprises when the tax year ends.