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Consumer Energy Tax Incentives 2009

US Department of Energy

Consumer Energy Tax Incentives
What the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Means to You

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extended many consumer tax incentives originally introduced in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) and amended in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343). Businesses, utilities, and governments are also eligible for tax credits.

See the summary of the energy tax incentives included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

About Tax Credits
A tax credit is generally more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a tax credit reduces tax dollar-for-dollar, while a deduction only removes a percentage of the tax that is owed. Consumers can itemize purchases on their federal income tax form, which will lower the total amount of tax they owe the government.

Fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-efficient appliances and products provide many benefits such as better gas mileage –meaning lower gasoline costs, fewer emissions, lower energy bills, increased indoor comfort, and reduced air pollution.

In addition to federal tax incentives, some consumers will also be eligible for utility or state rebates, as well as state tax incentives for energy-efficient homes, vehicles and equipment. Each state’s energy office web site may have more information on specific state tax information.

Below is a summary of many of the tax credits available to consumers. Please see the ENERGY STAR® page on Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency for complete details.

Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Tax Credits
Consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in existing homes can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements "placed in service" starting January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. See EnergyStar.gov for a complete summary of energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits
Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.

Automobile Tax Credits
Hybrid Gas-Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Individuals and businesses who buy or lease a new hybrid gas-electric car or truck are eligible for an income tax credit for vehicles “placed in service” starting January 1, 2006, and purchased on or before December 31, 2010. The amount of the credit depends on the fuel economy, the weight of the vehicle, and whether the tax credit has been or is being phased out. Hybrid vehicles that use less gasoline than the average vehicle of similar weight and that meet an emissions standard qualify for the credit.

This tax credit will be phased out for each manufacturer once that company has sold 60,000 eligible vehicles. At that point, the tax credit for each company’s vehicles will be gradually reduced over the course fifteen months. See the IRS's Summary of the Credit for Qualified Hybrid Vehicles for information on the status of specific vehicle eligibility.

Alternative-fuel vehicles, diesel vehicles with advanced lean-burn technologies, and fuel-cell vehicles are also eligible for tax credits. See the IRS summary of credits available for Alternative Motor Vehicles.

Plug-In Electric Vehicles
Plug-in electric vehicles also qualify for a tax credit starting January 1, 2010. The credit for passenger vehicles and light trucks ranges from $2,500 to $7,500, depending on batter capacity. The first 200,000 vehicles sold by each manufacturer are eligible for the full tax credit; the credit will then phase out over a year.

Plug-In Hybrid Conversion Kits
Hybrid vehicle owners who purchase a qualified plug-in hybrid conversion kit are eligible for a 10% credit, capped at $4,000, through 2011.

* Sources: ENERGYSTAR.gov and IRS.gov
** The IRS will determine final tax credit amounts.