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Energy Tax Credit Program Exemplifies Why Congress Should Not Micromanage People with Tax Credits

1 min readBy: William Ahern

The IRS is using press releases and video to promote the energy tax creditA tax credit is a provision that reduces a taxpayer’s final tax bill, dollar-for-dollar. A tax credit differs from deductions and exemptions, which reduce taxable income, rather than the taxpayer’s tax bill directly. , but even the text of their promotion tells us why these credits are a bad idea.

Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify for these taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. credits. For that reason, homeowners should check the manufacturer’s tax credit certification statement before purchasing or installing any of these improvements. The certification statement can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or with the product packaging. Normally, a homeowner can rely on this certification.

The IRS cautions that the manufacturer’s certification is different from the Department of Energy’s Energy Star label, and not all Energy Star labeled products qualify for the tax credits.

If that buyer-beware warning doesn’t convince you that the program is absurdly complex and ought to be scrapped, check out the lovely form 5695.