Q: What are the details of the new federal consumer tax credit for qualified energy-efficient home improvements related to windows?
A: Under the new law, when taxpayers purchase replacement windows that meet specific energy efficiency requirements, they are eligible for 30% of the amount returned in as a tax credit. This credit is capped at $1,500 for the years of 2009 and 2010.
Q: What are the restrictions of this tax credit?
A: This law has some very specific restrictions. It’s important to note the following:
Windows purchased must be equal to or below a U Factor of 0.30 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30. (Note: these are NOT the same factors as Energy Star® qualifications, so homeowners will need to specifically check on the U Factor and SHGC ratings of the windows ordered.)
The purchase of the qualified windows must be made during the taxable year for which the credit is being claimed.
The credit is only allowed on the price of the qualified windows themselves, not on installation costs, onsite preparation, assembly or sales tax.
Q: What is the timeframe for this program?
A: The credit is provided for all qualified windows purchased and installed in 2009 and 2010.
Q: What exactly is a tax credit?
A: Unlike a tax deduction that only reduces the amount of your taxable income, a tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe.
Q: What kind of windows must I purchase to be eligible for this tax credit?
A: Energy efficient windows that have a glass package equal to or below a U Factor of 0.30 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30.
Q: What is a U Factor?
A: This is the amount of heat transferred through a material. The lower the U-value, the slower the rate of heat flow and the better the insulating quality of the window.
Q: What is Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)?
A: SHGC is the percentage of heat gained from both direct sunlight and absorbed heat. The smaller the number, the greater the ability to reduce solar heat gain into the home.
Q: Do I have to purchase ENERGY STAR® qualified windows to get the tax credit?
A: No. You should specifically ask for a U Factor of 0.30 (or below) and a SHGC of 0.30 (or better) when purchasing a window that qualifies for the tax credit. These are different energy efficient specifications than ENERGY STAR qualified windows have.
Q: Who must I purchase these windows through?
A: As long as the windows meet the qualifications set forth by the U.S. government for energy efficiency, you may purchase the windows from any source. Select a window product backed by a strong warranty from a company with a solid history and track record for exceptional service.
Q: Once I purchase the windows, what do I need to save in order to request the tax credit?
A: You should save your receipt for the window purchase along with all window labels that come on every window.
Q: When will I get my tax credit?
A: If you purchase your qualified windows in 2009, you can submit to receive your tax credit on your 2009 taxes. If you purchase your qualified windows in 2010, you can submit to receive your tax credit on your 2010 taxes.
Q: Is there an advantage to purchasing energy-efficient windows for my home over other energy-efficient products, such as increased insulation or a heat pump?
A: Yes. Along with immediately helping to reduce your heating and cooling bills from the day they are installed, energy-efficient windows add to the beauty and curb appeal of your home. When selecting vinyl windows, they also allow for low maintenance to make your life easier. Energy-efficient window replacements provide immediate added value to your home, your energy bills, and your lifestyle.