It’s not often we get gifts from our government, but there are opportunities available in 2011 in the form of tax savings for home improvements, cars and renewable energy. Reduced fees and rates from our government agencies are welcome incentives that also expire soon. Time is of the essence to accept these gifts.
The government is trying to do the right thing and give us ways to save cold, hard cash if we follow suit, but the clock is ticking. For some “free money” opportunities, don’t let these pass you by.
If you’re in the market for home improvements, there are many state and federal tax incentives and rebates for installing renewable energy sources or energy efficient home improvements. At the end of 2011, the Federal tax incentive expires, but in the meantime it could save you 10% of the cost (up to $500) for items you purchase for an existing (primary residence) home. This includes HVAC, insulation, roofs, water heaters, windows and doors.
Thinking on a larger scale, federal incentives are in effect until 2016 for: Geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines and solar energy systems. There is no limit to the amount you can save, and they offer a whopping 30% of the cost as tax savings. This can add up to serious dollars.
Locally, there are state incentives, and details for all states are found at www.dsireusa.org, a website listing everything from Green Building incentives, rebates on building permit fees and reduced utility rates around the United States. Another resource is www.energy.gov for all the listings by city or state. Did you know that in N.C. we have a state sales tax exemption on energy efficient appliances? Even a simple switch to a programmable thermostat, an easy and affordable improvement, qualifies for a state tax exemption.
If you are a Concord utility customer, you can replace your home’s toilet with a WaterSense low-flow version and get a one-time credit of $150 on your water bill. This credit program is available until May 14, 2020 and details are found at www.concordnc.gov.
The utility companies are trying to do their part, as well. Progress Energy offers discounted pricing on all CFL light bulbs, offered at over 400 retailers. Duke Energy will come to your home and provide a free energy audit. The auditor that came to our house brought us free items, including weather-stripping, low-flow aerators for the faucets and CFL bulbs. You can’t beat free, especially when it results in savings everyday afterward!
If you are in the market for a new vehicle, there are Federal tax incentives that expire on 12-31-11. If you purchase a plug-in electric car, you realize a 10% savings with a $2,500 maximum benefit. If you have a hybrid vehicle and want to convert to an electric plug-in, conversion kits are available…as are more tax benefits, up to $4,000. Check out www.irs.gov for the detailed requirements, weight limits, etc.
The money you save on these items will have an immediate and long term impact on your wallet, and help the environment for years to come. It really does pay to do the right thing, so accept these gifts graciously while you can.