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Tax Credits for Replacing Windows, Doors, and Skylights

Gil Rudawsky
January 7, 2011
The government closes a door on one tax break in 2010 but opens a window on another. Windows and doors can earn you up to $500 in 2011. 
High-end products are more expensive, but they are often better constructed and more energy efficient. 
For two years—from 2009 to 2010—you were able to take $1,500 in tax credits for a slew of energy-efficiency improvements, including better doors, windows, and skylights. If you took full advantage of them, congratulations:
  • File IRS Form 5695 in 2011.
  • You’re done—you’ve hit the feds’ lifetime max.

At the last minute, the government threw you a bone, adding a suite of less-generous but still useful energy tax credits, available only to those who didn’t take advantage of the 2009-2010 program:

  • For doors, you can claim up to a $500 credit.
  • For windows and skylights, you can claim only up to a $200 credit. (That’s total—not per window.)
  • Installation costs aren’t covered.

Tax credit limits and deadlines:

  • 10% of expenditures, up to $500 for the year, for all energy improvements combined.
  • Install the relevant doors, windows, and skylights by Dec. 31, 2011.
  • Save receipts and labels.

By mid-January the official Energy Star site will be posting new guidelines on what exactly is covered. It’s your safest bet for information on how to get the credit.
Don’t rely solely on contractors who may not know the details or who promise their products will get the credit in order to make a sale.