Monday, February 13, 2012

Tax Software Unhelpful for Wood Stove Tax Credit

Taking that 10% tax credit for a high efficiency wood stove you bought last year?  If you use tax software, it can be difficult.  TurboTax and Tax Act don’t mention wood stoves, and you have to learn from another site that you need to put it under “energy efficiency building property.”  H&R Block is the worst; providing no obvious place to enter “energy efficient building property” and telling users they are not entitled to a credit.

2015 update: Turbo Tax still does not list qualified biomass burning stoves in its main list of equipment eligible for the tax credit, but a later page does, if you know to click on "energy efficient building property.

Here is the experience of a New York Times reporter who bought a wood stove last year and tried all three tax soft ware packages:

"We’d bought a high-efficiency wood stove, which entitled us to the tax credit. TurboTax didn’t seem to mention wood stoves anywhere. All sorts of energy-efficiency improvements, including better windows and solar electric panels, qualify for credits. I found entry blanks and explanations for each but nothing for stoves. At the site, I learned that a wood stove should be entered in the category of “energy efficient building property” and that the agency considered it a biomass-burning device. Thus schooled, I entered it and received the $300 credit in both TurboTax and TaxAct. But Block stymied me. It provided no obvious place to enter “energy efficient building property” via its interview and told me that we were entitled to no credit."  

The full NYT story has more comparisons of the three tax softwares, but nothing more about biomass heaters.

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