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Capitalize on Energy-Efficiency Tax Credits

Federal credits provide up to $500 for eligible items

Editor’s note: Much of this content provided by Energy Star. Consult your financial or tax adviser regarding your individual situation.

Did you make energy-saving improvements to your home before the end of 2011? Some of those home improvements could qualify for federal tax credits; however, the credits are smaller than those offered in 2010.

Sign up for AARP's Money Newsletter.

Check out the details below.

Products in These Categories May Be Eligible:

  • Biomass stoves
  • Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment
  • Insulation
  • Roofs (metal and asphalt)
  • Water heaters (non-solar)
  • Windows and doors

(Consult the Energy Star 2011 Federal Tax Credits page for requirements for each category.)

If you placed eligible equipment in service in your home in 2011, you could qualify for the following:

Tax Credit: 10 percent of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 to $300

Expires: Dec. 31, 2011

Details: Must be an existing home and your principal residence. New construction and rentals do not qualify.

The Catch: There is a $500 lifetime limit. According to the Energy Star website, if you got over $500 in these tax credits from 2006 to 2010, you are not eligible for anything more. Also, some requirements for products to qualify have changed from the 2010 rules, so be sure to read them carefully.

Geothermal, Wind, Solar Credits Don't Expire Until 2016

Additional tax credits are in place through 2016 for items such as geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines, solar energy systems, and fuel cells. See the Energy Star 2011 Federal Tax Credits page for details.

You may also like: Who has to file a tax return?

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