Wrong. As unfortunate as it is for those of us who reward our hard work with a significant amount of time off, procrastinating is not the way to handle taxes. So with Earth Day just around the corner (this Friday, the 22nd), and spring in the air, we thought we’d talk a bit today about how you can help save the Earth and save on your taxes this time next year.
Unfortunately, since the initial “Going Green” boom, many federal tax incentives for individuals have expired and efforts to reinstate them seem to have stalled. However, there are still a lot of tax benefits to going green, if you know where to find them. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), for example, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a comprehensive online source used to help find incentives and policies (from local to federal levels) that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. This blog, brought to you by ExpressIRSForms, is another:
Current Tax Incentives for Going Green
- Renewable Home Energy System(s) Tax Credit
- This credit remains in tact through December 31, 2016. It covers 30% of the cost of a new renewable energy system (no upper limit), and can be applied to any owned home, not just a primary residence.
- There’s also a tax credit for 30% of the cost of a residential fuel cell and microturbine system (up to $500 per 0.5 kilowatts of power capacity) available through December 31, 2016.
- All-Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
- You can no longer get a tax credit for having a hybrid car, but if your electric car is what’s referred to as a “qualified fuel cell motor vehicle,” you could be eligible for a $2,500-$7,500 tax credit (based on the vehicle’s battery capacity).
- Visit the DOE’s Fuel Economy website to see if your car is eligible and for more information on state and local incentives for electric vehicles.
- Go Green by Hiring Veterans
- This one comes to us from the mind of Jarid Manos of Great Plains Restoration Council, and combines the tax breaks for going green with job creation for veterans.
- Corporations and businesses can get tax breaks for improving energy efficiency by installing locally produced solar and wind renewable energy and water conservations systems and (thanks to the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011) for hiring U.S. veterans returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan. So, Manos suggests, “hiring [veterans] to do ecosystem restoration work.”
- That’s a tax credit of up to $5,600 for each veteran hired ($9,600 if he/she is wounded), plus the tax credits from your improved energy.
- Recycling Your Unwanted Electronics
- It’s not exactly news that you can get deductions for donating things like old clothes or furniture throughout the year. What you may not know is that recycling places are popping up all over the country accepting donations in the form of your old cell phones, laptops, TVs, and any other electronics you might be upgrading.
- Always make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company who will reuse your electronics responsibly, and remember to get a receipt for your files. If your total charitable contribution deductions exceed $500, you’ll need to submit a Form 8283 with your return next year.