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Contractors may qualify for energy tax benefits

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — At the recent seminar, Go Green and Get Green – Understanding and Taking Advantage of the IRS Energy Tax Benefits, here, attendees learned that contractors, architects and engineers may qualify for energy tax benefits of $1.80 per square foot by installing new green HVAC systems and taking other steps to improve energy efficiency.

According to IRS statistics, less than 1% of eligible owners apply for this tax benefit.

Applying for the tax benefits can significantly reduce the cost of installing a highly efficient HVAC system, according to Larry Clark, LEED AP, director of Corporate Business Development at Hill York.

“Efficient building systems also provide substantial long-term financial benefits since 50% of the cost of ownership is directly associated with operating expenses,” said Clark, who spoke at the seminar.

The $1.80 per square foot tax benefit is based on a combination of energy-efficient lighting and building envelope construction, as well as HVAC systems. For example, an owner who designed, built or improved a 100,000-sq.ft. eligible building in 2007 could potentially receive a $180,000 tax benefit.

The seminar also highlighted another energy tax incentive not many people know about.

“Contractors, architects and engineers who are the primary individuals responsible for the energy-efficient design of public buildings, such as schools and government offices, will be thrilled to learn of a hidden gem within the Energy Policy Act,” said Julio Gonzalez, chief executive officer of Engineered Tax Services. “Congress now allows the tax benefit deduction to be allocated to the ‘person primarily responsible’ for designing the property, in lieu of the public entity."

Gonzalez said certification of a building’s plans by a licensed engineering firm is required to obtain the tax benefits, which are available on energy-efficient systems placed in service between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2013, a four-year extension from the prior 2009 deadline.

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