Getting Your Money's Worth

Lake Country Power shares your concerns about the rising cost of energy, from gasoline to the fuels we use to generate electricity. Tax incentives passed in the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 are a triple win for everyone: they promote wise energy use, help lower your energy bills and help reduce your tax bill.

The energy law provides valuable federal tax credits for consumers who make certain, specified energy-efficiency upgrades to their homes, and purchase fuel-efficient hybrid-electric vehicles. The tax credits took effect in January 2006. To determine availability of tax credits this year, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) web site. It provides information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Or to find out if you qualify for tax credits, look for the relevant IRS tax forms and consult your tax advisor. You should keep receipts proving that you purchased the improvements.

Here is a quick overview of tax credits:
• Qualifying upgrades for your home include adding insulation, exterior doors, windows and skylights, and purchasing more efficient heat pumps, central air conditioners, furnaces and water heaters. These must meet Energy Star and other efficiency requirements. Incentives are also available for commercial buildings, solar energy installations, fuel cells, and purchase of hybrid-electric vehicles.

• Businesses are eligible for tax credits for buying hybrid vehicles, for building energy-efficient buildings, and for improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

For more information about energy savings and tax credits, visit these web sites:

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Incentives

Commercial building tax deduction coalition

U.S. Department of Energy

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society