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2013 tax credits for windows and doors explained

Do you qualify for the 2013 tax credits for windows and doors? Plan ahead before purchasing materials.

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Do you qualify for 2013 tax credits for windows and doors? Photo by JD Hancock on Flickr.The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 is, in many ways, a splendid thing. It provides fiscal-year 2013 tax credits for windows and doors that meet Energy Star standards.

When it comes to motivating homeowners, Washington knows that there's nothing quite like a home tax credit to get things moving. So, how exactly do you go about claiming this bonanza, and is it worth the time, trouble and expense?

Ask a contractor about 2013 tax credits for windows and doors! Do your part for your home and planet!

Things to be considered before taking the plunge and deciding to go green with your home's points of entry include the cost of installation, the potential energy savings (ideally expressed in dollars), and the potential rewards of the 2013 tax credits for windows and doors.

One thing to note before continuing, however, is that this article is intended as an overview only. Any serious tax questions should be directed toward a trained and licensed tax professional.

Installing new windows and doors represents a serious investment in your home and should probably not be undertaken if the only reason is a one-time tax break. There are plenty of reasons to upgrade a home's energy profile, but a federal tax credit is really intended to urge on homeowners who are already considering taking the plunge for their own reasons.

The 2013 tax credits, taken together, amount to approximately 10 percent of the total cost of installing eligible windows and doors up to a whopping $500. The credit can be claimed in sequential fiscal years if you split up the work. But gaming the tax code in this way should probably be attempted only after consulting with a certified tax professional.

Energy Star compliance is critical to getting the credits. To qualify, the windows and doors must be manufactured by an Energy Star partner, meet the independent standards of something called the National Fenestration Rating Council and meet the Department of Energy's efficiency guidelines. A qualified contractor should have the details for each product and can confirm if it is Energy Star.

It's worth noting here that the credits are somewhat higher for renovation contractors and for builders of new homes. This is good to know if you're looking to buy a new or recently refurbished home. As the credit can be as much as $2,000 for professionals, and considering that sneaky dodge of splitting the work between fiscal years, it certainly might be worth keeping all of this in mind when negotiating a final price for a property. 

The 2013 tax credits for windows and doors are there if you're eligible for them. Read over the details of the credit before you decide on your new windows and have them installed. You'll definitely want to hang on to the receipt. Whether the credit is worth it for your home will, of course, depend on your circumstances.

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Photo credit: JD Hancock via Compfight CC.