I am a licensed attorney, but this post is for education only.
Tax time isn’t here yet (at least in the U.S.), but it’s always good to think about ways to lower your tax bill. And what could be better than helping the environment?! So let’s look at green tax incentives around the globe.
Home energy efficiency – Homeowners are eligible for a residential energy efficiency tax credit if you install high-efficiency heating, cooling, and water-heating equipment. This is a credit, which means it directly reduces your taxes due. But you better act fast; it only applies to improvements made through December 31, 2007.
Solar and fuel cells – Federal legislation allows a 30% tax credit for residential solar electric and solar water heating equipment. You can take the credit up to $2,000 for a photovoltaics system and another $2,000 limit for solar water heating. And you can get the same 30% credit for fuel cells, up to $500 per 0.5 kilowatt.
Energy conservation subsidies – If a public utility offers you a subsidy to install energy conservation equipment, the IRS doesn’t consider that taxable income. This may not seem like much, but generally any benefit you receive is considered taxable income. Uncle Sam is giving you a break here.
Renewable energy production – Business owners can take advantage of this tax credit. You can get a per kilowatt-hour tax credit for energy your business produces using qualified technology. Energy types include: wind, biomass, geothermal, small irrigation power, and landfill gas.
Alternative fuel vehicles – Everyone’s eligible for these! Just purchase a car other than the standard gasoline option, and you’ll have a tax credit at your disposal. The easiest way to find out specifically what’s available is to consult the Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center. One example: buy a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid, and you’ll get $3,000 knocked off your tax bill.
Your locality has MORE – The above incentives are all applicable across the U.S. To find green tax incentives in your area, use this tool by the Sierra Club. Look under “Energy / Recycling” for “Energy incentives.”
Zero carbon homes – If your house has “zero net emissions of carbon dioxide from all energy use in the home,” you are exempt from stamp duty (up to £500,000 property value). This exemption is available until 2012. But remember that your emissions include all energy use in your home.
Energy-saving materials – Purchases of energy-saving materials for homes or charities get a reduced-rate VAT. The reduced rate applies to a variety of items, such as central heat & water heating, draught stripping, insulation, solar panels, and heat pumps.
Car rebate – Canadians don’t have to wait and claim a tax credit on their Canadian income tax software, like Americans. Just fill out the ecoAUTO application, and you’ll get a rebate from $1,000 to $2,000. This offer applies to fuel efficient vehicle purchases and long-term leases.
House retrofit grant – If you need to make your house energy-efficient, you can get a grant from the government to help! Check out the ecoENERGY retrofit site to see if your project qualifies for a grant up to $5,000.
Solar panel rebates – Homes, schools, and community buildings can get a rebate on photovoltaic systems. You have to get pre-approval, the equipment must be new, and the property must be on (or near) the grid.
Insulation help – Victoria residents can get a rebate of 30% off insulation. You’ll have to meet several requirements, so follow the instructions carefully. And check out the other rebates and grants you can get!
Wind energy – According to a government report, India ranks first among developing nations for wind energy capacity. It’s no coincidence that India offers excise duty and sales tax exemptions for wind turbines. India also waives import duties on some wind turbine components.
What about your country?
I did my best to cover several countries around the world. But if I didn’t cover yours, let me know. I’ll try to add some info about your country to this post! And I’ll do my best to include it in future survey posts.
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