Friday, June 28, 2013

Energy Tax Credits Still Available to Savvy Taxpayers

Generous tax credits resulting from energy-saving purchases are still available to taxpayers, even after the so-called fiscal cliff legislation passed earlier this year.
On the low end of the spectrum, homeowners can receive a tax credit equal to 10% of the cost to upgrade their windows, doors, and other energy efficient household items. On a grander scale, you can receive a credit for major purchases such as air conditioners, furnaces, biomass stoves, and special metal roofs. The maximum lifetime credit is generally $500, but some items are capped at a lower amount. For instance, windows are maxed out at $200 and furnaces at $150. Air conditioners limit out at $300.
Businesses can also get in the energy tax credit game. Some of the tax perks available include credits for constructing wind, biofuel, or ethanol facilities, as well special vehicle refueling stations and highly efficient appliances. The IRS’s qualifications for these big-ticket items are very specific, so you would be smart to consult a tax professional before launching such a project.
But large-scale energy upgrades aren’t limited to just businesses. Individuals can receive a credit of 30% of the cost to upgrade their home with a qualified geothermal heat pump, solar electricity generator, or wind harnessing device. Eligible costs can include labor and site preparation in addition to the equipment. What’s more, the credit for these types of projects is available for vacation homes too. And there is no lifetime limit, so the bigger project, the bigger the saving. Again, check all the rules to qualify.
Recordkeeping plays an important role in claiming these tax credits, so be sure to obtain all manufacturer certifications for the equipment you buy and keep all records of expenditures made. If an energy-saving project is on your mind, contact our office for the latest rules.

Call us at (219) 769-3616 with your questions, or email them to

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Health Insurance Marketplace Notices

The Affordable Care Act states that an employer must provide a written notice regarding the Health Insurance Marketplace to each existing employee and new hires. 

Employers Subject to the Notice Requirement

Most employers will be subject to this requirement as it applies to employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  In general, the FLSA applies to employers that have
1)      one or more employees who are engaged in commerce and
2)      gross annual sales of $500,000 or more 
Providing Notice to Employees

Employers must provide a notice of coverage options to each employee, regardless of plan enrollment status or of part-time or full-time status. 

Content of the Notice

The notice should have the following information:
1)      Inform the employee about the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange), including a description of the services and contact information.
2)      Inform the employee that they may be eligible for a premium tax credit and further describes the qualifications.
3)      Inform the employee that if they purchase a qualified health plan through the Exchange, they may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health plans offered by the employer, and that all or portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for federal income tax purposes.
The Department of Labor has provided a model notice for employers who offer a health insurance plan to some or all employees, as well as a model notice for employers who do not offer a health plan.  The model notices can be found at 

Timing and Delivery of the Notice

The notices have to be given to existing employees no later than October 1, 2013.
Starting as of October 1, 2013, the notices have to be given to new employees on the day they are hired. 
Call us at (219) 769-3616 with your questions, or email them to