Living December 24, 2013

Last minute holiday gifts (with added tax benefits)

The holidays are in full throttle and the year is quickly coming to an end. You have a few days left to get some last minute gifts/improvements for your home and reap the rewards of the tax benefits in your 2013 taxes. Some credits will be expiring at the end of the year, so you may not get the benefit if you wait. Here is a list of some of the home-related deductions and credits you may be able to take advantage of (be sure to check with your accountant if you have questions about eligibility for deductions and credits).

Home improvements:

Residential Energy Property Credit: 

The US government will reward certain home improvements that increase energy efficiency.  If you are willing to make major improvements to your primary residence, you can get credit for 10-30 percent on some improvements. Improvements include energy-efficient windows, roofs and doors, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and adding insulation, geothermal heat pumps, solar energy systems, small residential wind turbines, and residential fuel cells. 

Here is the complete list of qualifying EnergyStar improvements and their associated tax credits. 

Home Office Deduction:

Give yourself the gift of dedicated workspace! Homeowners and renters can deduct $3 per square foot, up to 500 square-feet of your home office. You must be able to prove that you use your office regularly and consistently and that it is your primary place of business. For more information about simplified and regular deductions go here.


Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Credit: 

Some new plug-in electric vehicles qualify for a credit of $2,500 to $7,500 depending on the battery capacity. 

Transit parity tax break:

If you commute, you may be able to put aside $245 per month tax-free for public transportation fees or parking. This tax break will be adjusted in 2014

Property Donations:

If you donate a portion of your property or an easement to a conservation agency you can receive an enhanced tax break. This break primarily benefits modest-income landowners and farmers, helping to ease rural development. More information is available here

For more information about 2013 taxes, deductions, breaks and credits and view forms go to, or consult with your trusted CPA.