President proposes to revamp HOMESTAR program, tax deductions available now

March 3, 2010

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

President Barack Obama proposed several highlights that would revamp a score of energy-efficient programs currently available through the federal government, one being the program known as HOMESTAR.

HOMESTAR would largely be a reconstructed Cash for Clunkers incentive, which provided rebates to car owners who traded older vehicles for more energy-efficient models.

According to the president’s proposal, the new HOMESTAR incentives for homeowners would be temporary, although it would allow those eligible up to $3,000 in rebates for installing energy-efficient products in their homes. Duct work, insulation, water heaters, windows, doors and other ENERGY STAR appliances are reportedly being eyed. The new program would require homeowners to submit to a full energy audit before retrofitting their properties to realize energy savings of at least 20 percent.

According to White House officials, the president expects up to 3 million homeowners to participate in the program.

What’s available at 2009 tax time

Homeowners wishing to receive federal income tax credits for use of energy-efficiency products in their homes can utilize IRS Form 5695, which allows for non-business property credits for use of energy-efficient products.

According to the IRS, eligible products include geothermal heat pumps, roofs, solar energy systems, water heaters, windows, doors, biomass stoves, air conditioners, insulation, small wind turbines and residential fuel cell systems. Principal residents, rental properties and second homes are eligible.

Tax credits of up to 30 percent of improvement costs are available. Some credits may exceed the 30 percent cap. IRS Form 5695 can be obtained at the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, or by calling the Internal Revenue Service at (815) 334-7026.

More information about tax-deductible products that could be eligible for federal income tax credits is at www.energystar.gov.

From the Mar. 3-9, 2010 issue

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