Taking advantage of any energy tax credit available in your state or country is a great way to save money and benefit the environment at the same time.
What's so great about a tax credit? Instead of reducing taxes by only a certain percentage, you receive a credit for each tax dollar spent - it's a one-to-one ratio!
Essentially, for every dollar of tax credit you receive for choosing renewable energy sources or sustainable energy options, your taxes are lowered by one dollar. Sounds good, doesn't it?
Every homeowner should research the tax credits that are available in their state or country, but we know that process can be time consuming. We recognize that you're busy so we have compiled some helpful resources on energy tax credits available in the United States, Australia, Denmark, United Kingdom, and Canada. Take a look at these and see if any of them would apply to you.
Tax Credits for Vehicles - automobile owners who took the plunge and purchased a vehicle that utilizes alternative fuel or one of the new hybrid vehicles that operate on electric and gasoline, could be eligible for an automobile energy tax credit.
The vehicle must have been purchased on or prior to 12/31/10. Once the manufacturer of that specific vehicle has sold 60,000 like it, the tax credit will be slowly phased out.
More information can be found here: www.irs.gov
Renewable Energy Tax Credits for Homeowners - this tax credit is available through December 31, 2016 and applies to homeowners who opt for energy saving systems for their home.
Examples include fuel cells, geothermal heat pumps, microturbine systems, residential wind turbines, electric systems driven by solar, and solar water heaters, to name a few. The tax credit is 30% for any of the approved systems installed prior to the date of 12/31/16.
Tax Credit for Plug-In Electric Vehicles - as long as you purchased your plug-in vehicle after February 17, 2009 and prior to the first of January 2012, your vehicle could be eligible for this tax credit. Specific criteria apply, so check out the details at www.irs.gov
As of February 2011, the tax credits offered in Australia have expired. Australia is a country that is working hard to become more environmentally friendly in many other ways, so it's reasonable to assume that new energy tax credits may very well be in the works and will be released yet this year. We'll update you when that happens!
Australia does offer what is called Solar Credits to homeowners and business owners who install wind, solar, or hydro technology prior to June 2014. These solar credits are not the same as tax credits.
The Green Loans program ended on February 28, 2011. This program was not a tax credit program either, but rather a program designed to give homeowners a chance to utilize solar, hydro, and wind power to reduce overall green house emissions.
After homeowners installed the technology, the Australian government paid for an assessor to assess the sustainability of the technology and determine whether or not the homeowner would receive assistance. The goal of the program was to reduce the amount of energy consumed, therefore reducing energy costs.
Would you purchase an electric car if you knew you were going to get $40,000 in return along with free parking downtown?
Denmark is hoping to get drivers to do just that by promising them the cash and free parking in Copenhagen once they make the purchase of one of the newly designed electric cars. Read more about Denmark's plan for 2011 at dealbook.nytimes.com.
Denmark passed a tax on carbon emissions in the year 2002. Homeowners pay roughly $7 for each ton of CO2 they use and businesses pay around $14 per ton. In an effort to put aside money for solar, wind, and hydro technology, the Denmark government now offers a tax refund to home owners and business owners who take discernable steps to install and utilize alternative energy sources.
Unfortunately, the criteria that needs to be met in order to receive the tax credit is pretty strict, so the people of Denmark see it more as a way for the government to make money and not so much about saving the environment.
Homeowners in England who are disabled or receive financial benefits based on income can apply for assistance via a grant through a program called Warm Front.
Improvements to the home to make it warmer or healthier covered under these grants might include: insulation in wall cavities or lofts, weather stripping around windows and doors, an energy efficient boiler or hot water tank, or a glass-fronted fireplace. The homeowner doesn't pay anything as long as the contracted work doesn't exceed the amount of the grant. New applications for this grant will be accepted as of April 1, 2011. Read more here: www.direct.gov.uk.
Ontario residents can receive up to $5,000 in home renovation funds for swapping out existing appliances for energy efficient appliances, adding a geothermal pump, or adding insulation to strategic places like the attic, walls, basements, or crawl spaces. Find specific information at http://www.homeperformance.com/ontario-rebate-grants-ontario-government-energy-rebates.
Toronto residents can receive $6,000 toward the same type of home renovations including replacing inefficient air conditioners, boilers, furnaces, or hot water heaters, to name a few. Read more at www.homeperformance.com.
Renewable energy sources are the future of the world and many more countries are recognizing this very real fact. Cleaner, healthier, and more cost-effective methods of heating, cooling, and operating homes and businesses are available!
The cost of these energy sources may be more than the traditional ones, but given the numerous tax credits, rebates, and incentives available to homeowners across the globe, hopefully renewable energy sources will be utilized by more and more home owners and businesses to make a significant impact on the environment in the coming years.
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