In order to qualify for these tax credits the roof must have been installed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. Additionally they must be for your primary existing residence which means real estate investors will have to look elsewhere.
These credits are nonrefundable, meaning the credits are available to you only to the extent you have a tax liability. (In laymans terms that means if you don’t owe money your tax credit won’t mean you make money off the installation of an energy efficient roof.) And of course they may also be limited if you are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
The roofing energy efficiency credit is applicable for all Energy Star qualified metal and reflective asphalt shingle roofs. It only pertains to the materials so you can’t include the installation or labor costs for this tax credit. It has to be installed on a dwelling unit, and has to have appropriate pigmented coatings or cooling granules which are specifically and primarily designed to reduce the heat gain of such dwelling units.
Roof coatings are not eligible for this particular tax credit. Instead they have to be reflective roofs and are not for everyone. They will provide the most benefit in hot sunny climates like Arkansas or Texas where you are using your air conditioning a lot. If you already have a lot of shade or the roof is not exposed to a lot of warming sun, then a reflective roof may not provide enough of a significant savings to be considered energy efficient. Additionally, the benefits of a reflective roof will be less if your attic space is well insulated.
There is not a simple list available that lists all the roofs that qualify for the tax credit. There are however, many metal and asphalt roofs listed on the Energy Star qualified product list. You can check with the manufacturer and ask them to provide you with a Manufacturer Certification Statement before using a particular roofing material in hopes of claiming the credit. This will ensure your roof qualifies. You must have this Manufacturer’s Certification Statement to qualify and remember to file Tax Form 5696 with your tax return.
In addition to the roofing efficiency upgrades and the correlated tax credit other upgrades can also qualify, as long as you don’t exceed the $1,500 limit. Some of those upgrades include:
- Biomass Stoves
- Water Heaters (non-solar)
- Windows, Doors and Skylights
Another thing to note is that some products qualify for tax credits at the same rate of 30% of the cost with no upper limit, through 2016. These are good to keep in mind after you ensure your roof’s energy efficiency. These credits are for:
- Geothermal Heat Pump
- Solar Energy Systems
- Wind Energy Systems
- Fuel Cells
And yes, just in case you were wondering, there are some tax credits for vehicle efficiency.
Also bear in mind that these credits are for federal tax credits. You may be eligible for additional incentives from state, local and utility companies in your area.