Taxpayers take note: If you made energy efficiency improvements to your home in 2015, or if you are planning upgrades in 2016, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $500.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit originally expired at the end of 2014. But Congress recently renewed the credit, making it retroactive to January 1, 2015, and extending it to December 31, 2016.

As a result, any qualified equipment installed in 2015 or 2016 is eligible for the credit. It applies to energy efficiency improvements to weatherize existing homes as well as the purchase of high-efficiency heating, cooling and water-heating equipment.

The maximum tax credit for all improvements made from 2011-2016 is $500. A taxpayer who has already claimed the full tax credit cannot apply for an additional credit.

A few examples of what may qualify for the tax credit:

  • Insulation materials and systems designed to reduce a home’s heat loss or gain.
  • Exterior doors and windows (including skylights). Equipment must meet version 6.0 ENERGY STAR program requirements.
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler with an annual fuel utilization rate of 95 or greater.
  • Electric heat pump water heater with an energy factor of at least 2.0.
  • Central air conditioner which achieves the highest efficiency tier established by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency.

You can read more at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) to learn about tax credit details, including amounts allowable for specific improvements.

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