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Congressman Higgins Explains Incentives Available to Homeowners Through Economic Recovery Act

Mar 9, 2009
Press Release

Today Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, announced additional details on the provisions included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which will provide tax credits and savings for local homeowners. 

“The Recovery Act includes new incentives for residents to make improvements to or purchase a home,” said Congressman Higgins.  “These credits save homeowners money during this difficult financial time, encourage energy efficient investments and create jobs for contractors, realtors, manufacturers and others.” 

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009 will be eligible to claim a tax credit of up to $8,000 either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or their 2009 tax returns next year.  Homebuyers will not have to repay the credit as long as they remain in the home for at least 36 months. 

For the purpose of the credit, you are considered to be a first-time homebuyer if you, and your spouse if you are married, did not own any other home during the three-year period ending on the date of the purchase.  Homebuyers can claim 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to $8,000.  The amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is more than $75,000 or $150,000 for those filing jointly.  The home must be your primary residence but may include a house, houseboat, housetrailer, cooperative apartment or condominium.  The credit is claimed using the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 5405.  For more information go to 

Energy Star Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

Tax credits are now available for energy efficient home improvements made between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.  The maximum tax credit for most home improvements is $1,500.  Geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells and windmills are not subject to this cap and are in effect through 2016.  Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500 for windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC (furnaces, fans and air conditioners), water heaters and biomass stoves.  Homeowners must have a Manufacturer Certification statement to qualify.  Improvements made in 2009 can be claimed on your taxes filed by April 15, 2010 using IRS tax Form 5695.  Not all Energy Star products qualify for a tax credit.  For additional details go to 

Energy Star Appliance Tax Credits

The Recovery Act included an additional $300 million for the Energy State Appliance Rebate program.  Energy Star qualified appliances use 10–50% less energy and water than standard models.  The Department of Energy will administer these rebates through the Energy Star program. Please visit  for more information as the program is implemented.

Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Referral and Packaging Program (WRAP) is a federally funded program that enables families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.  New York will receive over $403 million in Weatherization Assistance funds which will save families who take advantage of the program on average $350 per year on their heating and air conditioning bills and put people to work doing the improvements.  Eligibility is based on income and household size.  For additional information on the Erie County program go to Department of Senior Services website at:  Residents in Chautauqua County can visit the Office for the Aging website at: