taxes

Tax planning 2011: Smart moves to make now

Make home energy improvements
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Make home energy improvements

Winter has already arrived in some parts of the United States, making it very obvious to homeowners whose houses are not very energy-efficient.

If you make some repairs or upgrades to your residence, such as adding more insulation to the attic, replacing leaking windows with energy-efficient ones or even buying a new furnace, you might be able to claim a tax credit on your tax return.

Qualifying improvements to your principal residence must be made by Dec. 31. And the tax credit is only a third of what it was in previous years. The maximum amount for 2011 taxes is now $500.

Still, any tax break is a good tax break. So check out your house's energy deficiencies and get to work. 2011 is the last year for which this tax credit is available.

If, however, you decide to make major energy-efficient upgrades, such as solar or geothermal heating systems or wind energy options, you can claim a more generous tax credit for these more expensive improvements.


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