Time is running out for federal energy tax credit
November 10, 2010
It's not every day Uncle Sam wants to put money in your pocket, right?
That's a point made on the website of a Columbia business, CoolCare Heating and Air Conditioning, which prompts homeowners to take advantage of a fast-fading $1,500 tax credit.
The federal energy efficiency tax credit is for homeowners who want to upgrade or renovate their homes to save energy and reduce utility bills - and it ends in less than two months.
"It's a great way to upgrade and save money at the same time," said Rebecca Griggs, of the State Energy Office, charged with providing information to residents that will help them conserve energy and lower their energy costs.
The IRS tax credit, which has been in effect since 2009, can be used to offset the cost of installing energy-efficient doors and windows, new heating and air-conditioning equipment, metal or asphalt roofing, insulation - even energy-efficient window blinds.
But the tax credit, which could be applied to your 2009 or 2010 federal tax bills (one $1,500 tax credit in either year, not both), is set to expire Dec. 31, and state officials hope S.C. residents will not let the deadline pass them by.
"In this economy, consumers need every break they can get in order to make the best choices for their homes," said Valarie Williams, S.C. State Housing Authority's executive director.
As nighttime lows have dipped to near freezing in recent weeks, many S.C. residents have turned on their heaters for the first time since last winter. Experts say it may be the best time to consider an equipment upgrade, which benefits the environment and the economy, with a kickback from federal stimulus money for the homeowner.
As with other stimulus programs - the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, for example - there has been talk of extending the energy efficiency tax credit. The credit, however, still is set to go away at the end of the year, and experts urge residents who are interested to act sooner rather than later.
Griggs, of the state Energy Office, said homeowners who are unsure what their home's most urgent energy conservation needs are should first check with experts to get an assessment.
S.C. Electric & Gas, for instance, offers several aides to homeowners to identify and correct home energy problems, including an online home energy audit, energy-saving tips sent to your computer inbox and a home walk-through by an SCE&G professional to inspect for weak points.
Get information on the company's Home Energy Check-Up program at www.sceg.com/en/save-energy-and-money.
Clayton Ingram, State Housing Authority spokesman, who said he took advantage of the efficiency tax credit last year, said homeowners also should check with contractors, home improvement stores and tax preparers for additional assistance.
"We found this was something possibly not as widely understood as it should be," Ingram said.
(taken from herald online