The residential energy tax credit expired with tax year 2016. Congress didn’t address this benefit in the new tax legislation signed into law in 2017. However, it’s possible that lawmakers may retroactively reinstate it in 2018. Here’s a detailed summary of the tax law changes.
Your insulated window coverings, such as blinds and drapes, may be eligible for a $500 tax credit, but take a deep breath before you go out and celebrate. Although the IRS has a pretty wide definition of “insulation,” it doesn’t specifically mention window coverings.
But it doesn’t exclude them, either. Some companies, such as Hunter Douglas, say certain coverings they make are eligible and back up their claims by issuing a manufacturer’s certification statement saying so. Some tax experts believe that because these coverings don’t provide insulation as their main purpose, the IRS will eventually strike down these certifications.
Do Your Energy-Efficient Window Coverings Qualify?
If a company provides a certification statement, you’re almost certainly OK — for now. Even if the IRS later denies the company’s claim, it’s unlikely you’ll lose your credit retroactively.
Window coverings that currently may qualify for the federal tax credit include:
- Honeycomb shades
- Plantation shutters
- Draperies, especially those identified as “insulated drapes”
- Window films with insulating properties
Avoid Tax Hassles Later
- Always insist on a manufacturer’s certification for energy-efficient window coverings you purchase. Ads and smiling handshakes just aren’t good enough.
- Don’t assume that if one company is giving a manufacturer’s certification, a similar product from another company is also covered.
- If the IRS forces a company to withdraw a product’s certification and you buy it after the cancellation, you can’t say, “You used to certify it, so I’m still covered.”
What To Do With a Certification Statement
You won’t have to submit the certification statement with your tax return, but you’ll need it and a copy of the sales receipt for your records. Stash your statement with your important papers for the year, and file IRS Form 5695 with your tax return.