With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August of 2022, several changes to the tax laws have been made in response to green initiatives pushed forth by the legislative and executive branches of government. One of these new guidelines is a change to the Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings tax deduction, also known as the Section 179D tax deduction, which originally took effect in 2006. The tax deduction was made permanent in 2020 through legislation, and for calendar year 2023, has been incentivized further with the Inflation Reduction Act.
Section 179D is primarily comprised of three different sections of improvements: building envelope, HVAC, and lighting. To qualify for the tax deduction, the improvements must meet ASHRAE standards and be certified by a qualified individual sanctioned by the IRS. If the plans are to “retrofit” an already existing building, then the building must be located within the United States and be at least five years old at the time of the retrofit planning.
For 2023, the scope and value of the tax deduction will be increased, allowing for a greater deduction amount along with a lower bar for entry for some eligible taxpayers. The new act has made three meaningful changes to Section 179D:
- Modifying the efficiency standard from 50% down to 25%,
- Altering the maximum allowable deduction per square foot, and
- An alternate election deduction for energy efficient retrofitting.
The new law aims to improve building energy efficiency by a minimum of 25%, but any improvements in efficiency over the 25% but not exceeding a credit rate of $5.00 per square foot will increase the benefit for the taxpayer. The new law also allows for taxpayers to take the tax deduction in the year the retrofitting plan is solidified into a qualified retrofit plan, opting for an earlier benefit than previously allowed.
Finally, tax-exempt entities are also allowed to allocate the credit to the person primarily responsible for designing the property in lieu of the ownership of the property, which will give tax-exempt entities an effective discount.
For more information on this and other energy tax incentives, give us a call at (401)-921-2000 or fill out our online contact us form to get started.