Energy Star Tax Savings for Mobile Homes

You either look forward to tax time or you dread it. I have learned a bit about taxes while working for CPA firms through the years. Unfortunately, I have also learned that a lot of people don’t know about all the tax breaks available to them. I read somewhere that if Americans would actually take ALL of the credits, deductions and rebates available to them, the average yearly personal refunds would increase by more than 25%. That’s astounding and alarming, you’re letting the government just keep your money!

Considering it is tax time and you have a little over 2 months to file (unless you get an extension) you may want to read about these Energy Star tax savings for mobile homes and see if you did anything in 2011 to your mobile home that is eligible for a credit. Don’t worry if you can’t find the receipt, most retailers will help you and there’s always bank records, etc. that can be used for proof as well. Once you have the receipt, a special form needs to be filled out (5695 see below), and the adjustment entered on your 1040. Easy!

tax savings for mobile homes
Living in a mobile or manufactured home doesn’t exclude you from tax credits that site built homes get. Many replacements and upgrades that you did to your residential home are eligible for tax rebates for the tax year ending 2011. Did you buy new doors, windows, heat/cooling equipment or water heater? Congratulations, you’re eligible for a nice little break!

It’s been nearly seven years since the federal government first instituted the most recent series of energy tax credits to encourage consumers to install and use energy-efficient alternatives for home heating and cooling. Many of these credits, including tax breaks and Energy Star-approved HVAC systems, will expire December 31, 2011.

There are some credits that will expire in 2016, those however, are for more elaborate endeavors. The one I am aiming for is the solar energy credit; I want off the grid and to quit paying an electric company that currently runs a monopoly here in WV (I am not a fan of monopolies). The government will credit me 30% of the cost to make that dream come true. So basically a $4000 investment becomes a $2800 investment. All I have to do is wait till I file my taxes the following year and that $1200 is all mine (or helps pay any owed taxes). Nice!

Here’s a breakdown of the available Federal tax credits for energy efficient purchases from the energystar.gov website. I screen-shot the following graphic so there could be no chance of mistakes.
  • Biomass Stoves can receive up to a $300 tax credit. It must have thermal efficiency rating of at least 75%.
  • An Advanced Main Air Circulating Fan is an efficient fan, or blower motor which blows the air that your furnace heats up through the duct system. Your credit amount is up to $50. It must use no more than 2% of the furnace’s total energy.
  • Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners in moderate climates. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume. Tax credit amount is $300.  Requirements include split systems and package systems. Check to see if your new system is eligible at EnergyStar.gov.
  • Central Air Conditioning (CAC) The best way to find tax credit eligible CACs is to ask your HVAC Contractor (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) pro. To verify tax credit eligibility, ask your HVAC contractor to provide the Manufacturer Certification Statement for the equipment you plan to purchase. Or search the Manufacturer’s website. Tax Credit Amount: $300
  • Gas, Propane, or Oil Hot Water Boiler These are heating units that use water circulated throughout the home in a system of baseboard heating units, radiators, and/or in-floor radiant tubing. Tax Credit Amount: $150. Tax Credit includes installation costs and must have a AFUE ≥ 95.
  • Adding adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective home improvements that you can do. Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost, up to $500. Tax Credit does NOT include installation costs. Typical bulk insulation products can qualify, such as batts, rolls, blow-in fibers, rigid boards, expanding spray, and pour-in-place.
  • Products that air seal (reduce air leaks) can also qualify, as long as they come with a Manufacturers Certification Statement, including:
  1. Weather stripping
  2. Spray foam in a can, designed to air seal
  3. Caulk designed to air seal
  4. House wrap
  • Qualified roof products reflect more of the sun’s rays, which can lower roof surface temperature by up to 100F, decreasing the amount of heat transferred into your home. Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost, up to $500. Requirements “Metal roofs with appropriate pigmented coatings” and “asphalt roofs with appropriate cooling granules” that also meet ENERGY STAR requirements..Tax Credit does NOT include installation costs.
  • Gas, Oil, Propane Water Heater. Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in your home. Tax Credit Amount: $300. Requirements Energy Factor ≥ 0.82 OR a thermal efficiency of at least 90%.
  • Electric Heat Pump Water Heater. Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in your home. Tax Credit Amount: $300.
  •  Windows, Doors, Skylights. Energy efficient windows, doors and skylights can reduce energy bills. Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost, up to $500, but windows are capped at $200. Requirements, Must be ENERGY STAR qualified. You do not have to replace all the windows/doors/skylights in your home to qualify. And it doesn’t need to be a replacement either – installing a new window where there wasn’t one previously (like in an addition) qualifies. Tax Credit does NOT include installation costs.

Following are more credits available till December 31, 2016:

Below is a link to the 5695 tax form, worksheets and filing instructions. It’s the exact one you will need to fill out to get the credits. The following is IRS’s definition of what qualifies as a home: A home is where you lived in 2011 and can include a house, houseboat, mobile home, cooperative apartment, condominium, and a manufactured home that conforms to Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.
 
Please keep in mind that these are only the Federal incentives. Most state and local municipalities have credits and rebates available for upgrades, replacements and repairs too!

In the latest federal stimulus a huge amount of weatherization program monies were given to the states to help low income households weatherize their homes; new windows, doors, roofing. I’m talking millions and millions, pretty sure West Virginia got $28 million itself.

Do not let the words “low income” make you think you won’t be eligible, the standards that the Government sets to qualify low income are actually very lenient. You should check on the resources in your area or state, you may just qualify!

As always, thanks so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!

Photo: Wikipedia
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