Last night the Republican candidates for President had a big debate down in South Carolina. One of the issues discussed at great length was tax cuts. Republicans love talking about tax cuts because almost everybody likes keeping more of their own money. The thing is...there are already a ton of great tax cuts available now!
I recently came across a website called the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. Its a pretty sexy website name isn't it? The DSIRE site is a listing of all the tax breaks you can earn for making changes to your home so it is more energy efficient. The site is easy to use and features a map of the U.S. with "clickable" states so you can easily find how much of a tax break you can get for greening up your place.
Now, what you have to realize is, this is the best tax cut you'll ever earn. It is going to benefit you in 3 ways. First, you're going to pay less taxes. Second, you're going to save money every month on your utility bills forever. Third, you're going to brag to everyone you know about how green and hip you are.
I dug through the listings and found one example from the District of Columbia, where I live...
In the District of Columbia, a tax credit is available to those who purchase high efficiency equipment or an energy efficiency home. If a resident installs or upgrades equipment or insulation in a residence, the following tax credits are available:
- 25% of expenses for double-paned windows, insulation of doors and caulking for windows
- 20% of expenses for energy efficient water, heating and cooling systems and insulation of water heating and existing duct work
- 20% of expenses for insulation of walls, floors and ceilings
- 20% of expenses for major home appliances and ceiling fans
- 15% of expenses for lighting and lighting fixtures
- 10% of expenses for programmable thermostat or lighting controls
This listing reads like a guide to making your home more energy efficient and it describes just how easy getting this tax credit is.
- Lets start with fluorescent light bulbs. If you go out and buy energy efficient light bulbs for your entire home, you will get 15% back on the purchase of the bulbs. Thats 3 times the sales tax.
- Next, if you buy caulking to put around your windows to keep cool or hot air out, the city will give you a tax credit of 25%.
- If you replace those ugly light fixtures in your home with really cool fans, you get 20% of the cost back.
- Get a programmable AC/Heater controller so it turns off when you're gone and back on before you get home and get 10% back.
If you want to see what tax cuts your state is offering for energy efficient home renovations check out the DSIRE website HERE. You can also learn about federal tax cuts for these renovations by going HERE.