Take advantage of energy-efficiency tax credit before it's too late

Note from Chellie: Credit for weatherization improvements ends soon!  

With the holidays here, we know what's in our future: turkey, family--and freezing cold weather. If you're like me, you'd rather not think about that third thing, but here’s a good incentive: a federal tax credit that can help you cut your heating bills is expiring at the end of the year. 

The energy-efficiency tax credit has helped millions of Americans weatherize their homes by cutting the costs of replacing drafty windows, installing fuel-efficient furnaces and much more. The credit covers 30 percent of the costs of these items--and for installation of heating systems--up to a total credit of $1,500 per household. But it's not going to last forever. To qualify, you have to purchase and install the items in your primary residence by December 31, 2010.

At this hectic time of year, there is so much on our minds. Why is weatherizing now worth the extra effort?

It pays for itself--and more: By making your home more energy efficient you can keep more of your hard-earned heating dollars where they should be--in your house, keeping you warm! Over time, the savings on your heating bill will pay you back for your initial investment, and then some. By taking advantage of the federal tax credit, you'll cut down that time by a third.

It's easy: Claiming the tax credit adds just one small step to your tax return. You can find a full list of qualifying items at www.energystar.gov--items like windows and furnaces have to reach certain efficiency standards to qualify, so do some research first. When you purchase the items, obtain a receipt and the Manufacturer's Certification Statement of efficiency, then fill out IRS Form 5695 when you file your taxes this year. It's that simple.

It's good for Maine: By using less fuel to heat your home, you're helping the state cut its dependence on foreign oil, clean up its air, and support local jobs. As if saving you money wasn't enough.

I sincerely hope you take advantage of this tax credit while it lasts. These improvements will save your family thousands of dollars--why not get some help doing it? Please do me a favor and remind your friends and neighbors, too, that time is running out on this initiative. With winter closing in, let's not leave any Mainers in the cold.

If you have any questions about this program or any federal issue, please give my office a call at (207) 774-5019 or email me.

All the best for warm and safe holidays,


Chellie Pingree

P.S.: The energy-efficiency tax credit is not the only resource out there to help you weatherize your home--there are several great initiatives to help families of all incomes cut their energy bills. Find out more here.


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