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The Latest Budget and Environmental Tax Credits

budget pie chartPresident Obama has several “last times” coming up. Among his most recent “last” was his final proposed budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

President Obama’s budget still has not been enacted. Many of the components of the budget may not survive the upcoming expected legislative wrangling, including the House-Senate conference procedures. But the budget does represent the President’s wish list.

Receiving extra emphasis this year are elements that encourage renewable energy projects. Perhaps most noteworthy is the extension of the renewable energy production tax credit, changing it from needing to be extended every year to be being a permanent tax credit. This would be a complement to the permanent status that Congress afforded the research and experimentation credit.

The production tax credit will affect the following renewable energy production facilities: wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, hydroelectric as well as waste facilities that produce energy like municipal solid waste, landfill gas and biomass.

One caveat: in order to claim these tax credits, production of the facilities must begin by January 1, 2017 except for wind facilities, which must commence construction by January 1, 2020. The tax credit for wind facilities is being phased out, and will reduce each year between now and 2020. The tax credit for solar facilities will also decrease yearly beginning in 2020.

Additional tax credits are proposed for qualifying advanced energy projects, which are defined as products that make substantial changes to existing manufacturing facilities or construct new ones that do the following:

  • Produce energy from renewable resources
  • Creates components for use with electric or hybrid vehicles
  • Creation of electric grids that support renewable energy sources
  • Creation of blended fuel technology

It will be interesting to see which of these budgetary items will become law and which will end up on the cutting room floor.

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