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Go Home and Go Green: Ways to Reduce Your Taxes While Saving the Environment


Did you know that in 1950, the global population was 2.6 billion people.  At the time we had 53 million cars.  That translates into about one car for every 50 people.  Today, there are over six billion people and 500 million cars.  In other words, there is one car for every twelve people on the earth.  That has resulted in an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the air.  In 1958 we were at 313.4 parts per million in comparison to 2009 levels of 387.41 parts per million.  That is an increase of over 20%. I am also fascinated that the USA’s electricity consumption per capita at 12,343.098kWh per year.  Approximately 71% of that is generated by fossil fuel.  However, within 10 years with coordination between the government and private businesses and the support of regular citizens wind power could reduce this by about 20%. 


There are so many ways for each citizen to reduce their carbon footprint and become environmentally friendly.  But, until April 15 there is an easy way to do this when filing your taxes.  When you invest in energy-efficient products, you can save money on both your energy bills as well as your tax return.  Here are five


Residential Energy Property Credit:  This tax credit is for homeowners who make qualified energy efficient improvements to their existing homes.  This credit is 30% of the cost of all qualifying improvements.  The maximum credit is $1500 for improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010 combined.  The credit applies to improvements such as adding insulation, energy efficient exterior windows and energy efficient heating and air conditioning systems.


Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit:  This tax credit will help individual taxpayers pay for qualified residential alternative energy equipment, such as solar hot water heaters, solar electricity equipment and wind turbines installed on or in connection with their home located in the US and geothermal heat pumps installed on or in connection with their main home located in the US.  The credit runs through h2016 and is 30% of the cost of qualified property.  


Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Credit:  This credit applies to manufacturers.  ARRA modifies this credit for qualified plug-in electric drive vehicles purchased after December 31, 2009.  The minimum amount of the credit for qualified plug-in electric drive vehicles, which runs through 2014 is $2,500 and the credit tops out at $7,500, depending on batter capacity.


Plug-in Electric Vehicle Credit:  This is a special tax credit for tow types of plug-in vehicles.   It applies to certain low-speed electric vehicles and tow or thee wheeled vehicles.  The amount of the credit is 10% of the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum credit of $2,500 for purchases made after February 17, 2009 and before January 1, 2012.  


Credit for Conversion Kits:  This credit is equal to 10% of the cost of converting a vehicle to a qualified plug-in electric drive mother vehicle that is placed in service after February 17, 2009.  The maximum credit, which runs through 2011, is $4,000.


Hopefully, you will be able to take advantage of some of these tax credits, if not this year, in future years.  It’s really a good thing when you can save the environment and save taxes.




Marsha Henry



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