BPT -- When U.S. lawmakers made a deal to keep the country from going off the "fiscal cliff" at the end of 2012, they reinstated a tax break of up to $500 to help homeowners earn money back for energy efficient home improvements.
The tax credit included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 is the first home improvement incentive since 2011, making this remodeling season an opportune time to upgrade your home's energy efficiency and curb appeal before time runs out on Dec. 31, 2013.
While many of the products eligible for the new tax credit are the unsung heroes of home energy savings -- heaters, water pumps, air conditioners -- energy efficient replacement windows and doors are included, helping to save energy while also infusing new life into a dull home exterior. Pairing the latest energy efficient technology with stylish design, many window and door manufacturers are geared up with qualifying products that can fulfill any homeowner's unique style needs.
"For anyone who regrets missing their chance to receive a tax credit for energy efficient home improvements, this is an incredible opportunity," said Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Windows. "Old and outdated windows and doors are not only an eyesore, they can cost homeowners energy through leaks, cracks and poorly insulated glass every month."
Since 2006, there have been a number of versions of the energy efficient tax credit for homeowners.
The current extension covers all purchases made in 2013 and retroactively gives credit for 2012 purchases.
The credit is 10 percent of the cost of building materials and select energy efficient heating and cooling devices, insulation and roofing for primary residence, up to $500. Installation fees do not apply.
Some categories like windows are capped at $200, but can be combined with other purchases to make up the full amount.
For example, if you buy qualifying windows for $2,000, roofing for $2,000 and a water heater for $1,000, you will receive the entire $500 credit.
However, there are a few rules.
The total amount of savings allowed per household is cumulative since the program began in 2006.
So, if you've already received $500 or more in total credits since 2006, you are not eligible to earn more credit. But, if you've received less than $500, you can still add new credits, up to the full amount.
Windows and doors that are eligible for the tax credit must be ENERGY STAR qualified in the region where they are being installed.
Look to products like the Ply Gem Windows Mira Premium Series, which can be configured to meet ENERGY STAR requirements in every U.S. climate zone and are available in 38 colors, with multiple shapes and grille patterns.
According to ENERGY STAR's web site, all of the windows, doors and skylights in your home do not need to be replaced to qualify.
Also, new windows and doors that were not there previously, like ones in an addition, qualify for the tax credit.
The tax credit will be given, dollar-for-dollar, in the following year's tax returns, so be sure to keep your receipts.
To find ENERGY STAR rated window and door products for your climate zone, visit www.plygemwindows.com and consult with your local dealer or contractor to ensure the products you are purchasing qualify for the tax credit.