Stimulus Package Offers Some Hope for Window Film
so much news lately swirling around energy and the economic stimulus package,
it stands to reason that many of these provisions could find their way
into window film sales. On February 17th, President Obama signed a $789
billion stimulus bill that includes tax credits for homeowners choosing
to make energy-efficient home improvements. Window film is considered
an insulation material under the Act, so should homeowners decide to take
advantage of this offering, part of the money spent could end up in the
pockets of window film dealers, distributors and manufacturers.
Under section 25C of the Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.), homeowners can
receive a 10 percent credit on the costs of "qualified energy efficiency
improvements," including solar control window film on windows, doors,
and skylights. This tax credit applies to improvements made to a primary
residence from January 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2009.
Do Your Homework
Window film manufacturers have begun a stimulus plan of their own, urging
dealers to help their customers take advantage of these tax offerings.
But, before rushing out to promote these options, dealers will need to
consult with their manufacturers first, as not all products qualify. Window
film products are able to qualify for the tax credit only if the manufacturer
certifies that, similar to insulation, the film meets the statutory criteria.
San Diego-based Bekaert Specialty Films issued a press release informing
its dealers that homeowners who install the company's Panorama window
film on their windows and glass doors are eligible for a credit of 10
percent of the cost, up to $500. CPFilms issued a similar release, explaining
that consumers who purchase "most types" of LLumar, Vista, and
Gila solar control window film brands from professional distributors or
dealers for residential use are eligible for the 2009 tax credit.
Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax,
a tax credit directly reduces the amount of income tax owed. To receive
the tax credit, consumers are required to submit IRS Form 5695 with their
2009 Income Tax Return and manufacturers are urging their customers to
retain copies of the dealer invoice and a manufacturer's certification
HERE for a copy of form 5695).
On the commercial side of things, a deduction is available to property
owners under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), which has been extended
for commercial buildings through 2013. The deduction equals the cost of
the energy-efficient improvement, with a maximum deduction of $1.80 per
Other Promising Signs
In addition to tax credits for improvements, an $8,000 tax credit aimed
at first time homebuyers and those purchasing primary residences offers
some promise of jarring real estate markets back into action. And, if
these measures serve to stimulate the market enough, excess new home stocks
could begin to dwindle, bringing builders back to life-representing yet
another potentially revived customer base. To add to the builder-window
film relationship, home builders are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit
for a new energy efficient home that achieves 50 percent energy savings
for heating and cooling over the 2004 International Energy Conservation
Code (IECC) and supplements. At least one fifth of the energy savings
must come from building envelope improvements and it is possible that
window film could serve a contributing factor.
Stimulus plan aside, some property owners will continue to seek energy
improvements, even without tax breaks. Mike Feldman, the Tampa, Fla.-based
president of Advanced Film Solutions Inc, says local energy companies
are providing a stimulus package of their own.
"Energy costs are rising and our local power companies have just
hiked our rates by a huge percentage in January, 2009," Feldman explains.
Feldman hopes this will move property owners to improve efficiency. "Solar
control window films reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent," he
says. "There has never been a better time for our solutions."