Congress uses tax deductions and tax credits to influence taxpayers’ actions. For instance, it seeks to stimulate taxpayers to reduce their energy consumption and moving away from the use of fossil fuels. In this article, we explore the benefits and drawbacks of two major incentives: the home-solar credit and the electric-vehicle credit.
Tax credits come in two types: refundable and nonrefundable. Refundable tax credits apply even for taxpayers who owe no tax. On the other hand, nonrefundable tax credit can only offset actual tax liability; any excess is lost (or, in some cases, carried over for a limited number of years until used up).
Solar Power – The credit for installing solar-energy systems for generating electricity or heating water at a first or second home is currently a whopping 30% of the cost of the solar installation. However, the credit amount is scheduled to begin phasing out after 2019, dropping to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021; after that point, the credit will expire. The unused credit does have a limited carryover and can be added to the allowable credit in the subsequent year.