US Treasury: homes must be 'zero energy ready' to get full tax credit

FILE PHOTO: The U.S Treasury building in Washington.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury on Thursday released new guidance on energy efficient home tax credits worth up to $5,000 per dwelling, showing that for builders to receive the full amount, the homes must be fully capable of supporting solar power, electric heat pumps, electric vehicles and other efficiency enhancements.

The Internal Revenue Services guidance is among a series of clarifications of Inflation Reduction Act clean energy tax credit rules due before the end of 2023, including a provision aimed at deterring companies from relying on Chinese supply chains.

The "45L" tax credit for energy efficient homes acquired from 2023 through 2032 ranges from $500 to $5,000 per dwelling, with the homes meeting lesser Energy Star efficient appliance standards qualifying for the low end, and those meeting Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home requirements qualifying for the maximum.

For homes in multi-family buildings to qualify for the full $5,000 credit, builders also must pay workers the area's prevailing wage, according to the IRS guidance.

To meet the Zero Energy Ready Home requirements, the dwellings must meet certain requirements for insulation, duct work, appliances and other features that make it "so energy efficient that a renewable energy system could offset most or all the home's annual energy use," according to the Department of Energy.

These include facilities to accommodate potential solar power systems, electric heat pumps for heating, cooling and hot water, and electric vehicle charging. The homes must be certified by third parties to verify that they meet the requirements, the Treasury said.

For homes acquired before 2023, the credit amount is $1,000 or $2,000 depending on the standards met.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Marguerita Choy)