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In the latest issue of This Old House, check out how a neglected 1928 bungalow makes for a cozy cottage redo. Buying a first house is a personal landmark that often signals the beginning of adulthood. But at 26, Brenna Byerlotzer didn’t have homeownership on her mind when she came upon the small stone house that she would claim as her own. In fact, she decided in a split second to take the major domestic step. Despite that sudden start, nothing else in her home-owning saga would move fast. Grab this issue to read this exciting story, which shows how a first-time homeowner revives a neglected house with patience, perseverance, and a little help from her skilled friends.

Also, don’t miss ‘This Old House 2016 #DIYDARE Challenge’ article, which teaches you how to make a concrete umbrella stand, how to make a hardworking kitchen cart, how to turn a plain sink into a cedar vanity, how to build a PVC planter with a cast-iron look and how to stencil faux inlay on a plain dresser.

This issue also teaches you how to install a critter-proof garden fence. If you’re Elmer Fudd, you thwart carrot thieves by sending an Acme Pest Control robot after Bugs Bunny. If you’re a seasoned gardener, you know that fencing in your tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other edibles is the way to go. Our version fends off two varieties of varmints, with wide, welded-wire mesh panels to keep out rabbits and dogs, and tighter, PVC-coated galvanized wire buried below to stymie subterranean-bound woodchucks and moles. A gate at each end allows you to wheelbarrow in garden amendments like mulch and compost. This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows you how to use common building materials—and not mechanical mercenaries—to preserve and protect your hard-grown produce.

This Old House digital magazine is available on leading newsstands like Magzter, Apple, Google, etc. Users can buy and read not only the current issue, but also any of the archived issues digitally on their favorite devices across various platforms, anytime and anywhere. Users can either buy a single issue of This Old House’s digital version or avail discount on annual subscription of the magazine. Readers can play a vital role in making our Earth more sustainable by choosing digital magazines over physical copies. Subscribe now to This Old House and confidently take up home improvement projects of all sizes and succeed.

How To Get Rid Of Green Home Improvement Politics

Undoubtedly, green home improvement contributes to the maintenance of healthy living and environment. Of course, you won’t be able to obtain and keep an eco-friendly place to live in without putting a little sacrifice. The conveniences of the usage of energy-based appliances and the easiest way of doing things sans an eco-friendly environment are obviously stuff you need to forego to lead a greener lifestyle.

Letting go of the basic conveniences obviously presents some hassles along the way. No longer would you be able to use your energy-based appliances at home anytime you want to, at your own convenience. These sacrifices made in the name of going green, though, proves to be worth it in the long run as more property and lives are saved from the severe massive destruction mother earth may experience in the long run.
Unreliable Rainfall

In order to save energy when generating water, many people have chosen to collect water from rainfall. The challenge is often times not being able to predict when it will rain. If you have not collected enough water when it previously rained, then suddenly rain ceases to come, then you’d be in for a big trouble.

Make it a habit to store extra water when you first collect rainfall, that would have been reserved only for emergency future use. Doing this prevents you from struggling when you suddenly run out of water, and you still wish to maintain your eco-friendly lifestyle at the same time.

Home Improvement for the Beginning Homeowner

One of the upsides of buying a new home is that you can decorate and landscape however you want. Of course, it is still a task. The biggest item affecting how you decorate inside and outside is funds available. What does my budget allow me to do? Once you have your budget, then you have to prioritize what gets done first.

My thoughts on the inside of the home tend to focus on electronics areas only. As long as everyone has a bed to sleep on, we are good for that piece of the house. In the earlier days, budget included the potential use of a credit card. This is not the case anymore. If we can’t pay for it, it doesn’t get done.

Our first project inside was getting an entertainment center built right into the wall. It would be set up where the television fits right into the wall. The outside speakers and stereo system would be routed through the wall and play XM radio outside. My wife picked out a wood color that would be a nice match for the house. The person we hired to do the work was highly recommended. We reviewed all of his different photos. We were impressed.

He took the necessary measurements and started working. After he left the first time, we did not hear from him in about three weeks. He did excellent work but did not communicate well. At the three week mark, he had created some of the framework. It looked great. It took about six more weeks to hear from him again. He got it all done. He did not commit to any time frame and we should have asked for one.

The work was excellent when complete. We were happy. The television looked like it was in a frame and the system synched with everything outside also. That was our first priority project. After this was completed, we started to get grief about having the only backyard that was still dirt. It was very easy to set up tables on dirt for a birthday party we had. It was time to upgrade. The easy part was getting a sprinkler system and some sod put in. We negotiated and contracted the father-in-law to put in sprinkler system. That did the job for the main backyard.
We had slopes around the yard that would need some type of vegetation. We put in a waterfall on one part of the slope. This left about 75% of slope that needed something. A few landscapers stopped by and we came up with some palm trees surrounded by some smaller plants. They looked good as they grew up.

One thing that we always realized was that any work in or around new home was based on budget. After the backyard was squared away, we had to save up again for whatever was next. Our tip for all would be to take care of high visibility needs first. We waited a long time before squaring away the backyard. It should have been completed before anything on the inside is done.

What Home Improvements are Tax Deductible?

In this Buzzle article, some key and common channels with the help of which you can claim deductions for home improvement have been explained.

Tagged Under: Tax Deductions
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First off even before we begin, let us recommend you to keep aside a file of all the receipts and invoices of payments made by you in relation with home improvements. They do come in real handy when you are filing your taxes. The following is a brief explanation about the home improvement expenses that are considered to be valid tax deductions by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

These deductions should not be confused with credits. Also, home improvement should also not be confused with tax credit and other tax breaks. A very honest answer to the query is medical expenditure. It is the only deductible expenditure (explanation follows). However you can take advantage of it to claim lawful deductions, in a bit indirect manner.

Tax Deductions and Home Improvements

So what is the exact premise of home improvements in tax deductions. Simple, the IRS, has permitted the income tax filers and tax payers to deduct certain expenditures as a part of their itemized deductions. Tax breaks such as credits and exemptions, or initial discounts have been covered in the home improvement section. However, in the following list the direct deduction has been included.

Direct deduction is the phenomenon where your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), before the amount of tax is levied, drastically decreases. It must be noted that tax slabs of the year are imposed in percentages on the AGI and deductions which are basically all your expenses can be claimed through certain channels, thereby bringing down the AGI and your liability. Now from the total expenditures, only some are viable deductions. A home improvement is an addition to the value of your house. The repairs on the other hand are rectifications of the already existing property. On the whole, when you fill out your Form 1040 for itemized deductions, you will have to make a keen and fine search to see which expenditure is a home improvement and which is a repair.

Tax Deduction List

It must be noted that home improvement tax deductions are directly not valid tax deductions, hence you will need to take differential and indirect deductions. Here are 5 solid paths which you can take.

» Topic 502 Medical and Dental Expenses

The above subheading sounds a bit odd does, isn’t it? Home improvement and medical deductions, are two completely different kinds of expenditures, yet if you have taken up home improvement in your house for medical reasons such as specialized medical, facilities, then the entire cost of improvement that escalates the value of your house is taken into consideration as a deduction. The condition is that the improvement should be permanent in nature, and should be taken up for entire the tax filer, his/her spouse or any other dependent who is resident at said place.

Lastly, as per the IRS, if the value of the improvement does not increase the value of the house, then the entire expenditure incurred is taken up as a deduction. Modification of stairways, doors, railing installations, and other such modifications are connoted to be deductions as per medical and dental expenditure list. It must be noted that these expenditures can be claimed as deductions under the Capital Expenses head of the Medical and Dental Expenses.

» Topic 505 Interest Expenditure

The interest rate of a lot of different loans, credits and money lending facilities that tend to have advantageous deductions if you have undertaken home improvements. Loans such as Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) or student loans, tied down to the appraised equity of your home, have a fully deductible interest rate.

This might not be significant in volume or even at the time being. However, at a later stage, the small annual interest rate would prove to be instrumental in bringing down the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on your income tax return. The key to claim such a deduction is that the equity of the house increases substantially after home improvement. It is abstract but is also relevant, at least indirectly.

» Topic 509 Business Use of Home

Based upon the fact that if home improvement increases your homes equity value, the value of certain related deductions is probable to go up by a couple of dollars. If you are using your house for business purposes then expenditures that are involved in the business use of house are deducted from the AGI. The advantage is that it increases your house’s value, and thus this expenditure of business use of house also increases, substantially.

» Depreciation

The last deduction that you can claim with the help of home improvement is the depreciation deduction. Like the aforementioned home deductions, the depreciation deduction takes advantage of the increased value of the house. Depreciation is imposed by a percentage value. Value addition in the home’s value, tends to boost up the total amount of depreciation.

Thus, on the whole, home improvement based tax deductions are to be availed using indirect methods. The basic premise is that it pushes up the value or equity of your home. Thus the monetary value of deductions that you used to claim earlier also increases and your AGI thus, gets reduced. A reduced AGI means a reduced income tax liability.

Home Improvement Plans Qualifying for Tax Deductions

Many people would want to know if the home improvements done for their home are deducted from taxes at the end of the year or not. Well, there are a number of home improvements that qualify for Qualifying for Tax Deductionstax credits and tax deductions. Read this article to clear your doubts right here.

Tagged Under: Home Improvement Loans
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It is important not to get confused between home repair and improvement, particularly from the point of view of taxes. Home repairs, like renovating a home or making permanent additions to the home, increase the value of the house while making it more habitable. This does not count towards tax deduction or credit.

However, if you replace energy-efficient windows or doors for your home (falls under home improvement) or apply for home improvement loans, for the purpose of making certain improvements, then it qualifies for tax deductions.

A tax deduction reduces the amount of taxable income. A tax credit, on the other hand, reduces the actual amount of tax that a person has to pay. Hence, a tax credit is better than a tax deduction, as the former reduces the actual tax liability. The following equation will explain it to you in a short and precise way:
Expenses for Home Improvement – Increase in the value of the home because of improvements = Amount that qualifies for a tax deduction

Home Improvement Plans That Qualify for Tax Deductions

Interest and Points on Home Improvement Loans
Interest paid on a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit availed for the purpose of making capital improvements on the home, are fully tax deductible. Capital improvements are those that increase the worth of the home, prolong its depreciable life or adapt it to new uses. Points purchased for obtaining a home improvement loan, at a favorable rate of interest, are also fully tax deductible provided the following conditions are met:
✔ The loan or the line of credit is secured by the main home.
✔ Points purchased are in accordance with the established practice of buying points.
✔ Points purchased were not more than the points usually paid for availing such loans.
✔ The taxpayer uses the tax method of accounting.

Expenses on Home Improvements on Account of Medical Reasons
Medical expenses, that one pays for oneself, one’s spouse and dependents, qualify for tax deductions. Home improvements that have been undertaken for medical reasons, also qualify as medical expenses and are thus, tax deductible. For instance,

✔ People suffering from heart ailments can install an elevator in the house, to avoid climbing the stairs, and can claim a tax deduction citing medical reasons.
✔ Improving the home’s air filtration system by installing central air conditioning or removing a drywall that may be damp and moldy can help abate the symptoms of asthma in people experiencing breathing difficulty. The doctor may have to provide a letter stating the necessity of making these improvements.
✔ All reasonable costs incurred to accommodate a handicapped individual, qualify for deductions.

Expenses on Home Improvements for Energy-efficient Upgrades
There are several home improvements and upgrades to enhance energy efficiency, but it is tough to be aware of the discounts and tax incentives that an individual is entitled for, the reason being there are many federal and state regulations applicable in some cases. Following are some instances, which could affect your income taxes:

✔ Constructing entrance and exit ramps for the home and widening the doorway at the entrance and the exit to the home, in order to help handicapped people to live at home
✔ Installing railings and support bars along the stairway and in the bathroom
✔ Modifying the kitchen to make it easily accessible to people with disabilities
✔ Modifying electric outlets and fixtures
✔ Installing lifts and leveling the ground

Other home improvement expenses that qualify for tax credits till 2016 (this include new and already existing homes) are:

✔ Installing geothermal heat pumps
✔ Setting up solar water heaters and panels
✔ Installing wind energy systems or fuel cells

In addition to tax deductions for home improvements, the government is also giving tax credits for making the home environment friendly. Energy Star was initiated as a voluntary labeling program in 1992, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, to identify and promote energy-efficient products in order to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. A number of new homes qualify as Energy Star homes since the appliances used in these homes bear the Energy Star label.

Home Improvement Tax Credit

The home improvement tax credits were first introduced by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as part of the home energy tax credit scheme. It has so far been extended to 2013 and this article takes a look at the tax credits allowed by the IRS under this category.

Tagged Under: Tax Credit
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases a large amount of tax deductions every fiscal year for the benefit of taxpayers. Such deduction lists are principally used to reduce the amount of taxable income. After calculation of the tax component on income, a good way to manage the burden is to avail of these tax deductions, provided the requirements have been complied with. Even the smallest deductions go a long way in reducing the overall taxable income of an individual.

Tax credit on the other hand is a way to reduce the exact tax that you will have to pay for a particular fiscal year. In the case of a valid home improvement made by the taxpayer, he/she can claim the credit for it and reduce the net tax payable by the dollar amount permissible under the Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency. Suppose the total tax payable in a fiscal year comes down to $1000 and home improvements have been made to the tune of $300, the net tax payable by will be $700. For homeowners looking to gain some tax advantage while cutting their energy footprint and also costs, this is a good way to go about the yearly tax management.

Home Improvement Energy Tax Credits under the ARRA Act, 2009

Tax credits for home improvements was first enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This was part of the stimulus package released by the President to boost the flailing economy after the financial crises of 2008. Under the provisions of the Act, the IRS and the United States Treasury Department have granted several tax credit provisions to tax payers. Primarily, the tax credits are given to individuals who have made improvements in their home’s energy consumption by installing appliances or making structural changes.

In their original form these provisions were of two categories, one that expired in 2010 and the other that will be active till 2016. Although one of the provisions was set to expire in 2010 it was further extended into 2011, 2012 and now to 2013. Let’s take a look at the various categories under which the tax credits for home improvements are offered and the paperwork required to file the credit return to the IRS.

Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency – 2013 Update

Tax Credit Allowed: 10% of the cost of the improvement, to a limit of $500. The amount can also be a specific one between $50-$300.
Qualification: The home must be an existing one and the principal residence of the credit claimant. A principal residence here means the home one owns and lives in for the greater part of the year.

The following is a list of inclusions in the tax credits for the year of 2012, extended into 2013. The type and class of energy products under which a credit can be claimed remain the same as in the original act of 2009, with changes only in the credit limits. The two categories of provisions also remain unchanged with one extending into the tax year of 2016. Here is a breakup of the product categories under which the federal tax credit can be claimed in 2013.

Biomass Stoves
Equipment that heats homes or water or generates energy, when installed as part of the changes made during home improvement. The stove must burn residue, agricultural crops, grasses and fibers.

Tax Credit Limit: $300
Requirement: Must have an energy efficiency rating of at least 75%.

Heating, Air conditioning, Ventilating
Products such as an advanced main air circulating fan or air source heat pumps can become valid grounds for tax exemption. Similar credits are available for central air conditioning, gas and propane, water boiler, natural gas and propane furnace and also an oil furnace.

Air Source Heat Pumps
Such pumps are energy efficient because unlike air conditioners they don’t use CFCs to cool the air. The pumps pull in cool air from the outside to where it is need. They work in reverse when required to heat the room or living space.
Tax Credit limit: $300

Central Air Conditioning
Always ask your manufacturer for a Manufacturer Certification Statement while purchasing a central air conditioner. Also make sure you purchase one which is certified by Energy Star.
Tax Credit Limit: $300

Gas, Propane, or Oil Water Boilers
These are a range of heating units which heat water by circulating it throughout the house and via a system of heating units and radiators.
Tax Credit Limit: $150

Natural Gas Furnace or Oil Furnace
A system that uses air and fuel mixture to heat homes.
Tax Credit Limit: $150

Insulation
One can also claim tax credits under home improvement criteria by installing insulation in the house. This is also a very cost-effective method of saving tax as it is easily available and the costs of installation are also not very high.

Tax Credit Limit: 10% of the cost incurred in insulation up to a limit of $500.
Requirements: There are several types of products which can qualify for the tax credit such as batts, rolls, blow-in fibers, rigid boards and expanding spray. However, products that have air sealant properties have to come with a Manufacturers Certification Statement to be able to qualify.
Installation costs are not covered under the tax credits.

Roofs (Metal & Asphalt)
Such roofs are made with special materials or layered with coating of paint which reflects back much more of the sun’s rays than conventional roofing.

Tax Credit Limit: 10% of the cost of the roofing is covered by the tax credits but only up to a limit of $500.
Requirements: Metal roofs require certified pigments and coatings as do the asphalt roofs which need to be embedded with cooling crystals. The roofs also need to be compliant with Energy Star guidelines on cooling and energy efficiency.

Gas, Oil, Propane, Electric Water Heater
The water heating costs can also be covered to some extent by the home tax credit advantage as both electric and non-electric water heaters get a tax credit limit of $300.

Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency valid till 2016

Tax Credit Allowed: 30% of the cost with no upper limit.
Qualification: The credits are claimable for both homes in existence and also for newly constructed residences. They are for principle residences only and are not allowed for rental property.

Geothermal Home Systems
The tax credit is applicable for geothermal heating and cooling systems which can be installed in homes and use the heat of the earth for their functioning. They are considered to be one of the most efficient of modern sustainable energy platforms.

Requirement: The geothermal pump or system must be certified by Energy Star to be eligible for the tax credit.
The credit will also include any cost of installation incurred.

Residential Wind Turbines
A modern and clean way of generating some extra electricity is to install a wind turbine on your roof. These turbines can integrate with the homes electrical systems and are effective cost cutters. The credit will also include costs of installation.

Requirement: The wind turbine installed should not be of a greater capacity than 100 Kilowatts.

Solar Water Heater/Panel
Solar water heaters are also a popular mode of alternate energy. Tax credits can be availed on these systems too as they are a clean renewable source of energy.

Requirement: The solar heater or any such equipment for which the credit is being claimed must generate at least half the energy from the sun. Also it must be certified by local or government bodies such as the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC). They must also comply with building codes and fire regulations. The cost of the installation is also included in the tax credits. This is the same set of requirements for solar panels.

Filing for Home Improvement Tax Credits

The IRS website is the place to visit if one needs forms for filing tax returns.

The requisite form for filing tax credits for home improvements is the Form 5695.
It can be found under the Resources section of the website. You can follow the instructions given on the form and list the details of the improvements you have made, resulting in energy efficiency for your home.
Make sure you include the costs of installation in the tax credits where applicable and mention the installation of appliances which use alternate sources of energy.
Obtain Manufactures Certificates where necessary and attach them to the form.
This form must then be attached to your tax statement and submitted to the IRS.

The IRS website is a repository of accurate information regarding the processing of tax credits. It will provide you with the necessary step-by-step instructions regarding various compliance procedures, and also the filing of your income tax return.

Home Improvement Tax Deduction

With the financial year coming to a close, people start wondering about the different tax deductions they could file for. Home improvement tax deduction is one that people use while filing for their annual tax return.

Tagged Under: Tax Deductions
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The state and federal government collects a variety of taxes at the end of every financial year. The Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Treasury play a very important role in the collection of these taxes. The IRS, and Treasury Department have made several provisions, and rules and regulations, in order to provide people with tax exemptions, and deductions for legitimate reasons. The home improvement tax break is a one such provision for deduction, that can be freely used by people.

Understanding Home Improvement and Tax Deductions

When elaborating on concepts related to finance, business and law; the best way to grasp the fundamentals is to simplify and sort them accordingly. Adhering to the aforementioned policy, we try to simplify the concepts in order to understand them well. Explicated below is the meaning of home improvement, and tax deductions, respectively;

Home Improvement
The meaning of home improvement is extremely simple and can be described in just a single statement – ‘beautifying and renovating your home’. It must be noted that home improvement is different from home repair. For tax deduction purposes, the IRS has systematically defined the term ‘home improvement’. The IRS portal proves to be a very effective source if you want to know whether your property qualifies for home improvement or not.

Tax Deductions
A tax deduction is an exemption from a particular tax bracket, or category. Tax deduction also means the reduction in the amount of income – for income tax, or sales – for sales tax, that is to be included in tax returns. The tax liability of a particular person, or an organization is reduced, as a result of the tax deduction. The tax deduction is often refunded by way of tax relief checks.

Tax Deduction Provisions for Home Improvement

A description of tax deduction is specified on the IRS.portal interface with the help of an extremely complex set of deductions. The following are some important points that have been specified with respect to such deductions. It must be noted that these deductions are included under the category of itemized deductions (as on Topic 500, IRS portal). One must also note that standard tax deductions, and itemized deductions cannot be availed simultaneously. These deductions are often a part of depreciation reduced from an asset.

An improvement is an addition to the total value of the property, contributing to the longevity of the property in question. It is considered as an addition to the monetary value of the property, irrespective of the total home improvement costs. Tax deduction for such additions can be availed through a variety of provisions. The IRS tax deductions become applicable for three basic types of home improvements:

Home improvement for medical purposes;
Home improvement for energy conservation, and installation of energy-efficient systems;
Home improvement with the help of home equity loan, or home equity line of credit.

The IRS as well as state tax laws are applicable when it comes to home improvement. Sales tax deduction is, at times, considered by the IRS where a property with substantial home improvement is sold.

The following are some common provisions for home improvement tax deduction:

Home improvement lowers the amount of income that is to be taxed, due to the itemized deductions that are mentioned in topics 501 to 515 of the IRS.
Home improvement costs are included in the asset value of the property; thus, it is subject to depreciation for the current, and subsequent years.
While claiming tax deductions for medical facilities, the total improvement cost has to exceed at least 7.5% of the total value of the claimant’s gross earnings of that year. Publication 502 specifies the deductions.
The laws regarding energy conservation utilities changes every year in accordance with the Energy Policy Act, 2005; hence, one needs to avail the income tax calculator, and tax forms to stay informed with regards to the qualifying norms.
While home improvement is being considered, tax deductions would be applicable exclusively on the costs incurred for the product purchased. Remember that the costs for installation procedures conducted are not liable for any coverage whatsoever.
The federal government has introduced tax incentives to conciliate home improvements found compatible with the environment. Environmentally friendly installations are incurred at higher costs. Equipping your home with solar panels and its related systems have had the homeowner requiring assistance; as these upgrades demand capital inputs in bulk. Thus, with the help of tax credit assistance, some of these costs are covered.
The tax incentive provision made by the federal government is applicable to your current residence and the new property you have recently invested in. However, tax incentives are not meant for leave and license properties. Most importantly, the federal tax incentives are applicable to the task realized up to the 31st day of December of the year 2016.