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Federal Green Building Tax Deduction Revived in HR 1424, Oct. 3, 2008

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H.R. 1424 extends the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction for 2009

On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 1424 and extended the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

The tax deduction is not a tax credit (an amount directly subtracted from the tax owed), but a deduction – an amount subtracted from gross taxable income. Tax deductions result in benefits to the taxpayer; thus this newly created program can be used as an incentive to assist in choosing energy efficient building systems.

Commercial Building Tax Deduction:

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included a new tax incentive to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

The "Commercial Building Tax Deduction" establishes a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot is available to owners or tenants (or designers, in the case of government-owned buildings) of new or existing commercial buildings that are constructed or reconstructed to save at least 50% of the heating, cooling, ventilation, water heating, and interior lighting energy cost of a building that meets ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001.

Only buildings covered by the scope of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001 are eligible. Partial deductions of $.60 per square foot can be taken for improvements to one of three building systems—the building envelope, lighting, or heating and cooling system—that reduces total heating, cooling, ventilation, water heating and interior lighting energy use by 16 2/3% (16 2/3% is the 50% goal for the three systems spread equally over the three systems).

Tax Deduction Amount:

The deduction is limited to an amount equal to $1.80 per square foot of the property for which such expenditures are made.

Qualifying Buildings:

  • The building must be located in the United States.
  • Installed on or in any building located in the United States that is within the scope of Standard 90.1-2001, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America;
  • Installed as part of (i) the interior lighting systems, (ii) the heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water systems, or (iii) the building envelope;
  • Certified as being installed as part of a plan designed to reduce the total annual energy and power costs of interior lighting systems, heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water systems of the building by 50 percent or more when compared to a reference building, which meets the minimum requirements of Standard 90.1-2001 (as in effect on April 2, 2003).


IRS Notice 2006-52 requires inspectors to be engineers or contractors licensed in the jurisdictions where the building is sited. Inspections must meet guidelines of the National Renewable Engineering Laboratory.

Government-Owned Buildings:

For energy-efficient commercial building property expenditures made by a public entity, such as public schools, the IRS issued guidance on March 12, 2008 that allows the deduction to be allocated to the person primarily responsible for designing the property in lieu of the public entity (e.g., an architect, engineer, contractor, environmental consultant or energy services provider).

Effective Date:

The provision is effective for property placed in service after December 31, 2005, and prior to December 31, 2013.

To learn more about the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction or to schedule a no-cost, please visit:

About SourceCorp:
Nationally recognized for its service excellence, SourceCorp Professional Services is an industry leader for LIFO Accounting, Green Building Tax Deductions and specialized tax services. For more than 25 years, SourceCorp has worked closely with CPA firms, manufacturers, wholesalers, building owners, architects, and auto dealerships to realize their vision to increase cash flow, reduce taxes, and build lasting value, while striving to maintain the highest level of customer service, communication and overall satisfaction. SourceCorp is owned by Apollo Management, Inc., a private equity firm based in New York. For additional information, please visit our web site at

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| green building | renewable energy |


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