Better Business Bureau: How to get money back from home improvements
If you are planning home improvements, Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends you do your research to get more bang for your buck, in the form of lower energy bills and tax credits.
The Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit covers 30 percent of the cost of alternative energy equipment that is installed on or in your home, including solar water heaters, solar electric equipment and wind turbines. This tax break is available through 2016. A full list of qualifying home improvements is available online at www.energystar.gov/taxcredits.
A bill before the House Committee on Ways and Means would extend and possibly make permanent the Non-Business Energy Property Credit, which expired at the end of 2013. It offered property owners tax breaks for eligible home improvements, including insulation, windows, doors, roofs, and heating and air conditioning systems. If enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, the program would become permanent, as the “Home Energy Savings Act of 2014.”
In addition, tax credits are available for home modifications for medical purposes, such as the installation of entrance or exit ramps to make homes accessible for consumers with impaired mobility, and other modifications such as the widening of doors and hallways, installation of hand rails and modifications to kitchens and bathrooms.
Before signing a contract for home improvements, BBB recommends consumers:
- Check out the marketplace record of a company or contractor at bbb.org. BBB Business Reviews can help you gauge consumer satisfaction, and show you if a business has a pattern of complaints.
- Obtain several estimates for projects, and remember that you do not have to use a specific contractor in order to take advantage of the tax credits.
- Visit energystar.gov to confirm that the products you want to use are eligible for the tax break. Also, consider consulting the IRS Web site at irs.gov or a tax professional.
For additional consumer tips and advice on finding businesses and services you can trust, visit bbb.org.