Eco Products That Are Tax Deductible


Eco Products That Are Tax Deductible

If you are wondering if eco products are tax deductible, maybe this will help you.

There are plenty of things that can help you save money if you go green. In 2011 you could write off home energy efficiency improvements. The tax credit was for 10 percent of how much you paid for the equipment and it could be up to $500 for asphalt or new metal roofs, energy efficient doors, retrofits that seal home air leaks, and skylights. For those who purchase a plug in hybrid or electric vehicle you could get a tax break. Also in 2011, if you purchased a Chevy Volt or Nissan LEAF you could’ve gotten a $7,500 tax credit.

Even if you did not make any purchases that were eco-friendly last year, you could’ve received deductions for donations you made to company’s like Goodwill or The Nature Conservancy. You can do this by keeping the donation receipt that the company gave to you. For instructions on filing for a tax credit or deduction you should look through the Internal Revenue Service’s guide to charitable contributions.

Nissan Leaf at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show (LHD).
Nissan Leaf at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show (LHD). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for some of the things not covered by federal tax credit are: ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, ovens and ranges, refrigerators, toilets, window treatments, whole house fans, compact fluorescent light bulbs, light fixtures, programmable thermostats, and clothes washers and dryers.

So if you are interested in saving money this next tax season on eco-friendly products that you purchased, check the guidelines on the IRS website.

SR&ED and the Federal Budget


The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program, introduced in the 1980s, is a federal tax incentive program administered by the Canadian Revenue Agency, which provided $3.6 billion in tax assistance for research and development in 2011. In the past year, the SR&ED or SRED program was reviewed by a panel led by OpenText’s Thomas Jenkins which led to a series of recommended changes to the program presented to the federal government. Despite dramatic speculations of program overhauls in anticipation of the budget, the SR&ED program continues to be one of the most lucrative R&D incentive programs in the industrial world, with the enhanced Investment Tax Credit (for smaller businesses) rate maintained at 35%.

Current eligible SR&ED expenditures are based on salary and wages, materials, overhead, contracts, and capital expenditures. The 2012 federal budget proposed four core adjustments to the program. The proposed changes are as follows: the Prescribed Proxy Amount (PPA) method of overhead calculation is to be reduced from 65 to 55 percent of direct labour costs by 2014; capital costs will no longer be eligible for the credit in 2014 and onward; eligible third-party contract payments will decrease from 100 to 80 percent in 2013; and the General Investment Tax Credit (for large corporations and foreign-owned companies) will see a five-percent reduction from 20 percent to 15 percent in 2014.

Capital-intensive industries will be affected through the first two recommended changes. SR&ED overhead costs are calculated by one of two approaches: a direct method approach, and an indirect approach using a percentage of labour (proxy) expenditures. The Prescribed Proxy Amount (PPA) is seeing a 10-percent reduction to 55 percent in a two-phase implementation; the PPA will be reduced to 60 percent in 2013, and 55 percent in 2012. The elimination of capital from the SR&ED expenditure base will have an impact on industries reliant on the purchase and upgrade of equipment and machinery.

Currently, 100 percent of eligible sub-contract payments can be claimed as SR&ED expenditures, which will be marginally reduced 20 percent effective 2013. The largest SR&ED program savings will accumulate from the reduction of the general rate investment tax credit, applying primarily to larger corporations and foreign-owned entities. The general ITC was reduced from 20 to 15 percent.  The recommendations will have limited effect on small- and medium-sized Canadian Controlled Private Corporations (CCPCs), as these companies will retain the enhanced 35-percent ITC rate on the first $3 million of expenditures. Overall, the changes to the SR&ED program will contribute to a simplified process, supported through additional funds allocated to improving the administration of the program.

This article was written by Mahrie Boyle, SR&ED and OIDMTC Team Specialist with NorthBridge Consultants.

Tax Filing Assistance For Taxpayers


If you are yet to file your federal income tax returns for 2012, luck is at hand. This year, you will have a couple of additional days to do it.

Rather than the usual 15th April deadline, taxpayers can send their returns in as late as midnight 17th April.

A spokesman for the IRS, Christopher Miller, assured people that they have no need to panic.

The 2 day extension has been granted because the 15th falls on a Sunday, followed by Emancipation Day on the 16th, which is a federal holiday in the Colombia District.

As ever, according to Miller, lots of tax filing assistance is provided for filers completing returns at the last minute. For example, taxpayers can visit and utilize the free IRS File on the internet. It provides complimentary software to e file and prepare taxes.

Miller stated that the group of tax help software businesses, called Free File Alliance, have affiliated with the IRS Volunteer Program for Income Tax Assistance to aid a greater number of lower and moderate level taxpayers. With this new affiliation, software is accessible at self serve computer terminals located in virtually 300 areas throughout 29 states, which includes the Quad Cities.

The group executive director, Tim Hugo, said that the Free File Alliance aims to offer online e filing and preparation services for US residents who may not be capable of paying for professional tax filing assistance or tax software.

The program, that started in 2003, offers people who earn $50000.00 or below complimentary tax preparation, along with personal tax help at nationwide locations. IRS certified voluntary staff assist taxpayers in the completion of their yearly tax returns, and offer tax credit information about credits that some taxpayers may be able to claim, like Child Tax Credits, Credits for the Disabled or Elderly and Earned Income Tax Credits.

At a local level, this program is managed by Quad Cities United Way and by additional sponsors, according to Scott Crane, who is president of the Quad City United Way company.

Crane said that, during the previous year, they did 5500 returns and that this year, by the 1st March, they were 15% up. Apparently, this meant that $5.5 million was returned back to the community last year.

The program ends on 14th April and is reachable in numerous local sites. These include the offices of the United Way in Davenport.

Paul Gilbert is a retired agent for the IRS from Davenport, who recently decided to volunteer for the program. Gilbert claimed that he has seen a constant stream of clients, while he was helping a client in the offices of the United Way.

LaVaughn Narbone, from Moline, started at the United Way the previous week, having learned about the program through a referral.

Narbone said that she had her taxes for this year completed in the Rock Island Martin Luther King Center, but that she also needed to complete her returns for the previous two years. The King Center, unfortunately, did not possess the correct software for doing this.

Sharon Scott from Davenport, another client, has used the program for a decade. She said she loves it because it is free and extremely thorough.

The H&R Block manager at Rock Island (1610 2nd Ave), Darnett Aldridge, claimed that lots of people are making use of his business’s offer to re assess tax returns which have been completed somewhere else.

Aldridge stated that many people who complete returns do it incorrectly and that he can sometimes save people as much as $10000.00.

The IRS said that most tax returns are electronically filed. A taxpayer that e files utilizes tax software which usually incorporates a question and answer style format. This format ensures that taxpayers get all of the deductions and credits to which they are entitled. Generally, the rate of error for e filed returns is lower than 1%, compared to about 20% for paper filed returns, according to the IRS.

Miller stated that people who are falling behind schedule can request a deadline extension on the internet, or by completing a 4868 Form.

Miller said that deadline extensions relate to tax filing, not to the time people have to pay the taxes they owe.

People who are unable to meet the tax paying deadline can phone the IRS to make arrangements for payment.

Miller added that a Fresh Start initiative was recently expanded by the IRS, which tries to help struggling taxpayers review their options for payment.

The owner of 4 Liberty Tax Services franchise offices, Theresa Harris, said she can see identical trends occurring this year that mirror trends which have occurred in the past.

Harris said that some people wanted their cash instantly, but then everything slowed down by March. Now though, she said the business owners who have to pay and the procrastinators are appearing. Apparently, this is exactly what happened over the past few years.

How Education Tax Credits Can Beat High Education Costs


Many students are deterred from attending college, because of what they believe are insurmountably high education costs. It is important to know, however, that there are now two federal education tax credits can make the costs of higher education for yourself or your children a lot more affordable.  The names of the credits are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit, and most students qualify for one or the other.

Qualification criteria are as follows: you must be paying your own postsecondary tuition and fees – or the fees that are incurred by your spouse or dependents. Either the parent or a student can claim the credit, but not both at once. In the case of a student who  was claimed as a dependent, it’s the parent who must file for the credit.

Each student is allowed to claim only one of the two available credits in any given tax year. For example, you are not allowed to claim the American Opportunity Credit to pay a portion of your tuition charges, and use the Lifetime Learning Credit to cover the rest of the expenses.

Federal policies do allow for parents to take credit on a per-student, per-year basis; this means that if you are paying tuition for two students in your family, you can claim a credit for each individual who is in school. It is possible that if a family claims two students, one will have the Lifetime Learning Credit while the other uses the American Opportunity Grant.

The American Opportunity Credit can be used to cover up to $2,500 in eligible expenses, per student, with up to forty percent of that refundable, which will decrease tax owed, or increase a family’s refund. The Lifetime Learning Credit, in contrast, is also worth $2,000 but the credit that it offers is limited to the amount of tax you owe, so you will not receive a tax refund.

If you, or someone in your family is considering postsecondary education, be sure to investigate how these two programs may benefit your student.

Tax Carnival Ecstasy – November 22, 2011


Welcome to the November 22, 2011 edition of Tax Carnival Ecstasy. In this issue we have 19 great tax and finance related articles from some very good blogs. Emily Everet starts off the carnival with an explanation of How Your Company Benefits Are Taxed. SteveR has information on Home Energy Tax Credits that you can receive from the purchase of new appliances. We have an explanation of How To Claim Disability Living Allowance from Jay Speaks. And finally, Mark Roberts takes a look at the Standard Deduction for 2011. Hope you enjoy the articles, bookmark, share, tweet, like on Facebook and come back again.

Adriana Roux presents Occupy Movement Reclaims Foreclosed Homes in Oakland posted at Bankruptcy Attorney NJ RSS Feed, saying, “Occupy Wall Street has swept the globe gaining strength in various major cities across the world. In particular, Occupy has ignited strongly on the West Coast where Oakland protestors are expanding their occupancy to foreclosed homes in the northern part of California.”



Emily Everet presents How Your Company Benefits Are Taxed posted at P11d, saying, “If you receive benefits or gifts from your company they will usually need to be taxed. This post outlines what you need to know and how much you will be taxed.”

SteveR presents Home Energy Tax Credits: Save Money With Energy Efficient Appliances posted at 2011 Tax, saying, “Homeowners know that energy bills comprise a hefty chunk of monthly bills, and have recently been getting even higher.”


Jay Speaks presents How To Claim Disability Living Allowance posted at Disability Living Allowance, saying, “This weeks post outlines how to claim disability living allowance, either online or by telephone.”

SteveR presents Top Ten Most Overlooked Tax Deductions posted at 2009 Taxes, saying, “Each year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports the most common tax deductions taxpayers forget about when submitting their income tax return.”


Mark Roberts presents Explaining the Standard Deduction posted at Tax Brackets, saying, “Your standard deduction reduces the amount of your income that is taxed. This blog post explains the standard deduction, how much it is and when you can’t claim.”


Jason P. presents Money 101: What is Compound Interest? posted at One Money Design, saying, “I’m always amazed to read a good overview of how compound interest works. Hopefully, some parents will use this as a resource to teach their children this wonderful financial principle.”

SteveR presents Using Your 401k to Start a Business posted at 2009 Tax, saying, “Starting your own business allows you flexibility and control of your financial future.”

SteveR presents When is Borrowing from Your 401k a Good Idea? posted at 2009 Taxes, saying, “While many financial experts claim you should avoid borrowing from your 401k as much as possible, it may be your only financial life line in certain situations.”

Martha Stewart presents 15 Incredible Businessmen Who Refused to Retire posted at, saying, “For many who reach the top echelons of business, retirement is a time to enjoy the spoils of a life well lived and years of hard work and perseverance. Others, however, take a different approach.”


Linda Rodriguez presents Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act posted at Credit Cards for Fair Credit, saying, “You may now be wondering exactly what your rights are under this act. Your information is being sold, and you should know exactly what you can do to prevent damage to your credit and future as well as fix any current credit problems.”

Maria Clark presents Credit Card Debt or Emotional Roller Coaster? posted at Credit Cards for Bad Credit Resource, saying, “Most of the information you will find online about credit card debt covers the financial struggles you will face. However, there are very few resources to help those with credit card debt handle the situation emotionally.”

Linda Rodriguez presents What is the difference between fair credit and poor credit? posted at Credit Cards for Fair Credit, saying, “The difference between fair and poor credit is significant, but is frequently determined by each individual lender.”

Dorothy presents Credit Card Clauses to Avoid posted at Secured Credit Cards, saying, “When you are looking for a credit card, it can be easy to try and find the offer with the lowest interest rate, no annual fees, and the best rewards. However, there is much more to credit cards than the benefits you see initially.”

Gemma Flannery presents 3 Things You Should Know About Emergency Tax Codes posted at Tax Codes, saying, “You may be put on an emergency tax code if your employer doesn’t know which tax code to place you on. This blog posts highlight 3 things you should know about the emergency tax code.”


SteveR presents Will Obamas New Lifeline Catch Any Fish? posted at FastSwings, saying, “We all know that many homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years and many more are unable to afford their mortgage payments.”

Deborah Brown presents 3 Clauses to Be Aware of in Personal Loans posted at First Credit Card, saying, “Most banks use early repayment penalties in order to discourage borrowers from paying off their debts early. This is because the longer a borrower takes to pay off their debt, the more money they will have to pay the bank in interest.”

SteveR presents Reasons to Use a Demo Account posted at Forex Trading System Central, saying, “When it comes to trading Forex it is important that you have significant experience and practice, which can best be attained through using a demo account.”

Amy Gardner presents 3 Real-Life Stories of People Crushed By Payday Loan Debt posted at Disaster Strikes, saying, “There are thousands of stories online about people who have struggled with payday lending. Some accounts are worse than others, but their personal experiences always seem to have similar results; they all end up in a worse position than they were before their payday loan.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tax carnival ecstasy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


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Why Natural Gas And Ethanol Shouldn’t Be Eligible For Subsidies


Washington’s most recent energy subsidy debates are focused on tax credits for industries involving natural gas and ethanol. The credit will expire at the end of this year, still the Senate voted to remove the subsidy. Thus the opposition to the $6 billion tax credit is increasing on a national level. Some Members of Congress have removed their names from the list of co-sponsors of the bill. In spite of this, bipartisan support is focused on extending the subsidies for the use of natural gas vehicles.

To see why none of these two industries deserve subsidies we can look at John Sullivan’s statement about this matter. He said that the natural gas industry will be fine without these subsidies, but the ethanol industry will not survive. Many argue that ethanol is not worth propping up by tax credit government intervention.

If something is not competitive in economical terms, then the state should not artificially encourage these technologies. It is not normal for a market to not be able to exist without subsidies, especially when there are alternatives. If the producers say their idea is viable, then they shouldn’t need tax credits anyway.

The argument turns to helping these producers to overcome the investment “valley of death”. They might say that they need tax credits in order to push through the initial hurdles of the transition from vehicles that run on gas to ones that are natural gas-powered. However, if natural gas is a good solution, then car manufacturers will implement it.

Preferential treatment to some industries has always been done through energy tax expenditures. These credits fool people into the perception that some technologies are more competitive than they really are.

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