Solar, wind tax credit may end Jan 1st

If you're thinking about installing wind or solar power units to your home, time may be running out. The federal alternative energy tax credit, allowing you up to a $2,000 tax credit to help cover the cost of going green, will expire at the end of the year and renewal legislation is currently gridlocked in the Senate. Democrats want to include fees adequate to offset the expense of the program, $1.7 billion or more and sure to climb with the higher proposed cap in the new energy bill. Republicans are opposed to such charges and in favor of other issues in the bill, including expanded oil drilling.

Most experts believe the tax credit will be renewed before the end of the year, but time is running out; Congress adjourns in October.

If you decide to move forward with your own project, you might find qualified installers in short supply, as commercial builders rush to complete large solar and wind projects.

Even if this incentive should disappear, however, a number of state incentives will still be available. This database pulls together the info on where you might turn for help in funding your own windmill or solar farm.

Tax Tips for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Most real estate agents and brokers receive income in the form of commissions from sales transactions. You're generally not considered an employee under federal tax guidelines, but rather a self-employed sole proprietor, even if you're an agent or broker working for a real estate brokerage firm. This self-employed status allows you to deduct many of the expenses you incur in your real estate sales or property management activities. Careful record keeping and knowing your eligible write-offs are key to getting all of the tax deductions you're entitled to.

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What is the Educator Expense Tax Deduction?

The Educator Expense Tax Deduction allows teachers and certain academic administrators to deduct a portion of the costs of technology, supplies, and certain training. Here’s what teachers need to know about taking the Educator Expense Deduction on their tax returns.

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Self-Employed Less Than a Year? How to Do Your Taxes

Have you been self-employed less than a year? If you’re just starting out, it’s possible you worked at a job earlier in the tax year before making the switch to self-employment, or you’re working multiple jobs. In this case, you may have more than once source of income you’ll need to report on your income tax return.

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Taxes for Grads: Do Scholarships Count as Taxable Income?

Heading off to college to broaden your horizons is exciting, but funding your education via scholarships? That's even better. Scholarships often provide a path to education that might not be feasible otherwise, which is why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be generous in minimizing students' tax obligations. But sometimes scholarship money does count as income, and it’s better to find out now if your scholarship adds to your tax liability than to have a surprise later. Here’s how to decode your scholarship taxation.

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