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There's a tax credit available for making energy efficiency upgrades. However, it now has a lifetime limit of $500. If I, as a single person, claimed the credit in the past, can I, now as a joint filer, claim the tax credit again, for a different set of improvements (different house), given that my wife never took the credit?

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This is more comment than answer, but too lengthy for a comment block:

I was intrigued by your question, I don't have a definitive answer, but the instructions for form 5695 mention married taxpayers with more than one home, and how the limit is an individual limit provided they are separate homes. I decided to put a call into IRS tax support who were unable to provide guidance (not a good time of the year for tax questions that aren't straightforward).

Given that the address is different and the credit has never been claimed on a return that your spouse is named on, I think you have a solid argument for your spouse claiming the credit on the new house.

Being a cautious fellow, I would not attempt to claim it without first getting a more definitive answer from the IRS, will update if I get a better response from IRS support.

  • Thanks; I've been trying to find answers online. The document keeps referring to the taxpayer; I can't find any reference to what defines a taxpayer, and what happens when two taxpayers become one; or the reverse. – Kevin McKenzie Apr 8 '17 at 23:48
  • Off topic, when is a good time to ask questions that aren't straightforward? I tried to ask a question in September last year and they wouldn't even listen to the question because it was outside "filing season". – stannius Apr 11 '17 at 18:55
  • @stannius That's odd since people who filed extensions would be filing up until October, but generally early in the standard tax season is best, they get a lot of the "where's my refund?" calls in early February due to EIC returns, but that seems to be a separate group than those that answer more advanced tax questions, so anytime up until mid-March seems easier to get someone who isn't already fried. – Hart CO Apr 11 '17 at 19:21

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