What You Should Know About the Federal Solar Tax Credit

More people opt for solar energy systems and other renewable energy sources to lessen their dependence on fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money on their electric bills.

Solar panels also will improve the value of your property.

While there are several long-term advantages to adopting solar, the initial expenses might be prohibitive. You might qualify for a solar tax credit to help cover part of the costs.


What does the federal solar tax credit entail and how does it operate?

Businesses and homeowners can claim the federal solar investment tax credit when installing a new solar photovoltaic system. The solar investment tax credit (ITC) is currently only valid for installations completed before Dec. 31, 2023.

This credit is available for first and second houses as well as other capital upgrades.

The solar tax credit is nonrefundable, which means you won’t get a refund if your tax burden is more than the credit, but you can rollover any unused credit into the next tax year.

Tax credits vs. deductions

Tax credits provide you a dollar-for-dollar decrease in your tax liability. On the other hand, tax deductions reduce your taxable income, lowering your tax bill.


Solar tax credit’s worth

The value of your solar energy credit is determined by the year your system was installed. Homeowners can get a federal tax credit worth up to 26% of eligible expenditures if they install a system in 2021 or 2022.

The existing solar panel and system installation tax incentive will run out at the end of 2023. If Congress does not renew the federal investment tax credit as it has in the past, installing a system after 2023 will not qualify for it.

If you’re thinking of building a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, do so as soon as possible.


Getting a federal solar tax credit

To qualify for a federal solar tax credit, you must fulfill specific qualifying conditions, although they are very flexible. They are as follows:

  • The system is set up in either your permanent or vacation home.
  • The equipment has not been used before.
  • The deadline for installing a solar PV system is Dec. 31, 2023.
  • You own the system and paid cash or borrowed money to buy it.

Vacation houses may only be eligible for a partial credit based on how much time you spend there. For instance, if you stay at the property for six months, you can claim 50% of your entire credit.

Solar panel tax credits are not available for rental homes, although they may be eligible for a comparable business credit if the property is used as a dwelling.


What is the procedure for claiming the solar tax credit?

When you fill out the IRS Form 5695 for home energy credits, you can claim the federal solar tax credit. This form is filled out using your federal income tax return and either Form 1040NR or Form 1040.

The following is a step-by-step guide to claiming solar credit:

  1. Calculate the overall system cost, including qualifying equipment, contractor labor and permit fees, among other things.
  2. Determine if you want to live in the house full time or part time. Secondary residences may only be eligible for a partial credit based on the number of weeks you spend there.
  3. Refunds and state tax credits should be factored into your calculations. Utility energy rebates and state tax credits may diminish the federal tax credit.
  4. Tax credits that are not refundable should be claimed. Other federal tax credits will have an impact on whether you get a carryover energy credit for the next year.

Your entire energy credit is shown on Schedule 3 of your Form 1040. In addition, you may claim an appropriate solar tax credit with the help of a tax professional or online tax software.

If you have any questions, or are ready to get started with your solar project, contact us today!

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