Cooler weather brings thoughts of energy bills

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Real Estate Tax Expert Chris Bird

“Homeowners can get bigger tax credits for making energy-efficiency improvements or installing alternative energy equipment,” said real estate tax expert Chris Bird at his popular tax session for Illinois REALTORS® at the IAR Convention in mid-September. Bird, a former agent for the Internal Revenue Service and certified financial planner, urged REALTORS® to share the EnergyStar.gov site with their clients so they can take advantage of the energy and tax savings.

To qualify for the tax credits,  home improvements such as insulation and energy-efficient windows and doors, certain roofing and heating/cooling systems must be “placed in service” from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010 in the taxpayer’s principal residence (existing homes only). The tax credits are available at 30 percent of the cost, up to $1,500.

For new construction (and existing homes), tax credits are available at 30 percent of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 for geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems and fuel cells.

Complete guidelines for “Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency” (updated September 14, 2009) are available at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index. The site will give tax credit specifications and notes for what qualifies.

Bird recommends for record-keeping to save your receipts and the Manufacturer Certification Statement. He says improvements made in 2009 can be claimed on your 2009 taxes, filed by April 15, 2010. Use IRS Tax Form 5695 (2009 version).

This entry was posted in Fall Conference & Expo and tagged , , , , by Ann Londrigan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Londrigan

Ann Londrigan is Director of Association Outreach and Marketing for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. She is responsible for increasing member engagement in and awareness for IAR Governmental Affairs and the RVOICE program as well as increasing participation in the REALTORS® Political Action Committee. She is responsible for overall marketing plans for IAR member benefits, educational products and events and is the content manager for IAR's Facebook page and LinkedIn discussion group. She manages the IAR Welcome Center, serves as staff liaison to the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, and coordinates the IAR housing stats program.

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