There has been some debate and confusion whether or not radiant barriers are included in the new energy efficiency improvements tax credits.
Radiant Barriers do qualify for the tax credit under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
If you recall there was much excitement when the energy tax credits were extended or revised for 2009-2010. The 10% tax credit was raised to 30% and the maximum of all tax credits for the period between 2009-2010 was raised from $500 to $1500.
Then, in the Spring of 2009 it was determined that the definition of insulation was expanded to reference the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Since radiant barrier is not specifically mentioned in the building code, it has been unclear whether or not they qualify.
In December 2009, there was a meeting between the representatives of the reflective insulation industry and the IRS. In this meeting, representatives presented the case for how radiant barriers should be included to be eligible for the tax credit.
Based on this information, the IRS will allow the tax credit to be taken for products put into service between January 1st, 2009 and December 31st, 2010
It should be noted now that the IRS has NOT made a final ruling on this subject and that this information is NOT binding until a final ruling is made.
The manufacturer’s claim for the tax credit is valid until (and if) the IRS denies the claim. If the claim is denied, it will NOT be retroactive meaning that you will not be able to claim the tax credit for purchases after the date of the ruling.
Here is my opinion on this. The IRS probably never intended for radiant barriers NOT to be included. It’s just how the law was written that because radiant barriers are not specifically mentioned, the fell into a grey area. Radiant barriers DO help control heat loss/gain and this is really the criteria used to determine if a product contributes to “Energy Efficiency”. The whole purpose of giving a tax credit is to give incentives to taxpayers to make their homes more energy efficient. Radiant barriers can be an excellent product to move towards these improvements.
I've written several other posts on this that you might be interested in. Check these posts below: