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Monday 13 October 2014

Energy Efficiency Tax Benefits

Posted by at 1:42 PM

The origin of the Section 179D tax deduction came as a part of EPACT 2005. Congress wanted to encourage green projects, by incentivizing the installation of energy efficient systems in commercial buildings for any of the following parties.

  1. The owner(s) of the building
  2. The tenant(s) of the building
  3. The designer or rehabilitation of an energy-efficient government building. (Architect, engineer, contractor etc.)

Your building is eligible for as much as $.60/square foot/system for HVAC, lighting and building envelope. There by creating a potential deduction of $1.80/sq./ft when all 3 systems qualify to the maximum guideline. The deductions are available for buildings built or retrofit for energy efficiency after December 31, 2005.

Guidance for claiming the EPACT deductions has been provide through additional IRS notices since the bill came into effect. The rules and procedure for ensuring qualification were enumerated under IRS notice 2006-52. This notice describes in detail how a new building or retrofit qualifies.

The IRS notice requires the taxpayer to have the building certified by a qualified inspector, to ensure that it meets the energy efficiency guidelines of 179D. It further specifies what software to use in calculating power and energy usage. Further incentive was provided under IRS Notice 2008-40. The notice allowed government and non taxpaying entities to pass the applicable deduction to the primary designer of the qualifying buildings.

Up to 2011, those taxpayers seeking to claim the 179D tax deduction were restricted by the 3 year statue of limitation for filing an amended tax return. That restriction was lifted through the distribution of Revenue Procedure 2011-14, under which some taxers may bypass the statue of limitation. Under this ruling the deduction may be claimed all the way back to January 1, 2006, without filing an amended return.

Under this Revenue Procedure, applicants qualifying to claim the deduction were allowed to take the the deduction by filing a form 3115 (Application for Change in Accounting Method). The taxpayer can thereby take the entire catch up deduction on the return being filed. Under this rule taxpayers could possibly claim all the deductions from 2006-2012 on one return. Significantly reducing and perhaps eliminating their tax burden all together.

The decision whether to amend returns or file a 3115 form depends on the taxpayer’s situation. If your taxable income has changed to the negative from prior years, lowering your tax bracket, it may make sense to amend the earlier returns. The applicability of Revenue Procedure 2011-14 is also dependent on whether deductions have already been claimed through original or amended returns. Each taxpayer should have their tax professional thoroughly analyze their situation . To determine which approach is most advantageous. Applying the the rule in this manner will allow each taxpayer the maximum deduction allowed under the law.

Schultz Energy Consulting, LLC. Is in the business of certifying buildings for property owners under sections 45L and 179D. You should adhere to the tax advise of your tax professional for the details of filing your return or change of accounting method, form 3115. You can contact Schultz Energy Consulting, LLC at (715)340-2970, or via our website and http://schultzenergyconsulting.com for details of the certification process. We are located in Stevens Point, WI, with associates available for the certification process Nationwide.