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Are you eligible for the expanded 45L energy-efficient home credit?

Dec 21, 2022

Since 2006, Section 45L has provided a tax credit to eligible contractors who construct a qualified, new, energy-efficient home. Homebuilders, as well as owners of multifamily housing apartment complexes, have been able to qualify.

On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which expanded the 45L energy-efficient home credit starting January 1, 2023.

Below is a direct comparison between the newly expanded residential energy credit and the old one:

New 26 U.S. Code § 45L tax credit Previous 26 U.S. Code § 45L tax credit
Effective date January 1, 2023 January 1, 2006 – December 31, 2022
Eligibility For qualified single family and manufactured homes first acquired for use as a residence in 2023, the credit is:

- $2,500, with Energy Star becoming the new base qualification standard.
- $5,000, with the Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) qualification.

For qualified multifamily units first acquired for use as a residence in 2023, the credit is:

- $500 per unit with the Energy Star base qualification and potentially up to $2,500 if the taxpayer meets the additional prevailing wage requirement.
- $1,000 per unit with the ZERH qualification and potentially up to $5,000 with the prevailing wage requirement.

All residential developments are now potentially eligible, whereas under previous law, only low-rise residential developments were eligible. 
- Developers/owners and builders of energy-efficient homes, condos and apartment units can qualify.

- Buildings must meet residential requirement and be three stories or fewer above grade. (Buildings more than three stories are eligible for 179D instead.)

- Units must be sold or leased by December 31, 2022.

- The credit must be claimed by the developer or homebuilder in the year the unit is occupied or sold.

- For retroactive credits, an amended return/administrative adjustment request is required and must be filed within the three-year statute of limitations. 
Tax deduction range $500 – $5,000 tax credit  $2,000 or $1,000 per unit

45L tax credit requirements

Since the qualification requirement, prevailing wage requirement and credit amounts can differ, here’s a summary of the new 45L credit rules:

Home type Qualification requirement
Prevailing wage requirement
Credit amount
Single family* Energy Star No $2,500
Single family* ZERH No $5,000
Manufactured home Energy Star No $2,500
Manufactured home ZERH No $5,000
Multifamily Energy Star No $500
Multifamily ZERH No $1,000
Multifamily Energy Star Yes $2,500
Multifamily ZERH Yes $5,000

*Single family includes site-built and modular single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes.

With that in mind, let’s look at two examples of the 45L credit in action:

Example 1: Old 45L credit

During 2021, a new three-story apartment complex with 208 units is built and completely leased out. The following credit is available: $2,000 per unit for a $416,000 tax credit.

Example 2: Expanded 45L credit

In 2023, a new four-story apartment complex is built and completely leased with 208 units. The units also qualified for ZERH and meet prevailing wage requirements. The following credit is available: $5,000 per unit for a $1,040,000 tax credit.

Looking to qualify for the residential energy credit?

Here’s a list of energy-efficient features to consider:

  • Wall insulation R-13 through R-19+
  • Roof insulation R-38+
  • Double- or triple-pane windows
  • Low-E vinyl windows
  • Insulated exterior doors
  • Extra-insulated foundations and slabs
  • Air conditioning with SEER rating of 13 – 18
  • 80 – 95% efficiency gas furnaces
  • 80% of lighting is Energy Star
  • Ventilation units are Energy Star
  • Programmable thermostat

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli can help you claim the 45L tax credit. We offer a complimentary preliminary analysis to determine whether your building qualifies for green building tax incentives. If it does, we can also provide the necessary certification study. 

Contact us to get started.

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Teri Samples, CPA
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