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Homeowners: Save on Taxes by Going Green

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By Marshall Loeb, MarketWatch

RISMEDIA, Oct. 19, 2007-(MarketWatch)-If you’ve been considering making your home more energy efficient now is the time to act. Not only will “greening” your home help you save on heating bills this winter and reduce your environmental imprint but it can also cut your tax bill.

In an effort to combat growing energy problems, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in August 2005. The law offers a tax credit to consumers making specific energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. These upgrades include everything from installing insulation to weatherproofing your doors and windows and investing in approved energy-efficient appliances.

The catch? The tax credits are set to expire in December, so those interested in taking advantage of them will need to act fast.

The Alliance to Save Energy offers a list of home improvements that will help you save on taxes:

- Furnace and boiler: credit up to $150
Homeowners are entitled to a rebate of up to $150 of the purchase price, including the cost of installation. To qualify, the furnace must meet exacting efficiency requirements.
- Exterior windows, skylights and storm windows: credit up to $200
Homeowners are entitled to 10% of total cost, not to exceed $200. All windows must meet tithe standards of the 2001 or 2004 International Energy Conservation Code and must be expected to last for at least five years.
- Central air conditioner, heat pump or water heater: credit up to $300
Homeowners are entitled to up to $300 of purchase price. This includes the cost of installation. All products must meet stringent energy-efficiency standards.
- Insulation, exterior doors: credit up to $500
Homeowners are entitled to 10% of the cost of the product up to $500, not including installation. Qualified improvements include storm doors, seals and weather-stripping designed to limit air infiltration. Insulation and doors are required to meet the 2001 or 2004 International Energy Conservation Code standards for your region and must be expected to last for at least five years.
- Pigmented roofs: credit up to $500
Homeowners are entitled to 10% of the cost of the product up to $500, not including installation. Pigmented roofs must be expected to last at least five years and must meet Energy Star requirements.

To ensure that you receive all the money you have coming to you after you’ve completed the improvements, Ronnie Kweller of the Alliance to Save Energy advises printing out IRS form 5695 and bringing it with you when you visit your tax preparer.

Remember: In order to receive the credit, energy-efficient home upgrades must be done at your principal residence and must be in place by Dec. 31.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

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