Sunday, May 29, 2011

30% of home energy tax credit recipients have no record of home ownership

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One part of the program offers 30% credits — with no dollar limit — for solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines and fuel cells installed before Dec. 31, 2016. A second part of the program — for energy-efficiency home improvements — offered credits up to $1,500 for qualifying exterior windows and doors, insulation and roofing materials.

Both credits have been popular. More than 6.8 million taxpayers received credits during tax year 2009, totaling $5.8 billion through December 2010. But substantial numbers of the filings had problems that went undetected by the IRS, according to the inspector general's investigation. In a review of 5 million returns, auditors found that more than 302,000 taxpayers, who received a total of $234 million in credits from the IRS, showed no evidence of owning a home — the minimum requirement for eligibility.

A review of a smaller sample of returns, supplemented with local real estate property deed information, found that 30% "had no record of owning a home."