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15 Home Improvements You Can Claim On Your Taxes And Save Money


15-windows-flickr- Bryn Pinzgauer
Photo credit: Bryn Pinzgauer / Flickr

According to NPR’s Planet Money, in 2011, Americans shelled out a collective 2.3 trillion dollars in taxes to Uncle Samcoming from income, corporations, payroll, capital gains, estates, and other sources of financial gain. What many people fail to realize, however, is that it’s possible to re-coup a lot of the money paid out in taxes by investing in your own property.

By upgrading your home it’s possible to not only write the cost off of your taxes, but to start saving money on electrical, utility, water, or other maintenance bills. What are some of the best improvements that money can (or in the case of the government, can’t) buy?

1. Energy Efficient Windows

A lot of energy passes between the inside of your home and the frigid outdoors, even if it’s completely sealed up. That’s because your standard windows not only have leaks and tears in the sealing, but the simple contact with the great outdoors pulls valuable heat out of your home.

If you’ve stared at the heating bills from the winter months in shock, then it’s high time that you installed a set of energy-efficient windows. There’re several different designs for these fixtures. Some have two panes of glass in order to minimize the direct loss of heat.

Others bind tightly to the window frame in order to ensure that no minute leaks cause the furnace to have to work harder to keep the temperature up. These windows can give you as much as ten percent of the cost in income tax credits back, but the real value comes in dropping your utility bill significantly.

These windows are especially practical for anyone who lives in brutally cold northern winters, or who has a household that’s often open and shut for kids and pets coming through. Best of all, they can be installed and ready to save you money in a single day.

A homeowner needs to choose Energy Star efficiency windows in order to reap the tax benefit rather than simply installing a new set of glass panes. According to the Energy Star site, these windows save as much as $450 per year for those who live in very cold parts of the country like New England.

While there’s less savings to be had for temperate locations like California, it’s still enough to trim down your utility bills by more than the value of the windows themselves in the span of a few years, let alone the tax credit.