Help Extend EPAct 179D with a Letter to Your Senators

As you likely know, EPAct 179D is currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. From our discussions with our contacts in Washington, 179D’s extension could potentially come about in two different ways: One option would be a simple tax extender bill that extends all 57 expiring tax items for a year and gets us to the other side of the election; the other possibility for extension is as part of Sen. Baucus’ Comprehensive Tax Reform.

Portions of Senator Baucus’ plan have already been released and EPAct 179D was not included. In the release, the Senate Finance Committee is looking for comments related to “Unaddressed Issues” and specifically, incentives for “clean energy.” Therefore we are asking you to do the following items:

  • Read our suggested letter to the Senate Finance Committee (see below).
  • Edit the letter by adding specifics about your company, how many employees you have, and how EPAct 179D has helped you become more energy efficient and/or maintain/add new jobs.
  • Email your version of the letter to [email protected].
  • Using the links below, find your state’s senators and copy and paste your letter in each senator’s submission page. In addition, add a statement to your letter, ”Dear Senator X, Please find my letter recently submitted to the Senate Finance Committee related to inclusion of Section 179D as part of Comprehensive Tax Reform.”
  • Thank you for helping us save EPAct 179D.

    Subject: RE: Sec179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction should be Included as Part of Comprehensive Tax Reform

    Senate Finance Committee,

    We are writing to you today in support of including former Sen. Snowe’s sponsored Extension of Section 179D, Extension and Modification of Deduction for Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings, (Introduced 9/20/12 as S.3591) as an essential element of Comprehensive Tax Reform. We were surprised to see its inclusion on a list titled “Sec. __02. Repeal of certain specialized expensing provisions.” We are hopeful that it will be reinstated as part of the “credits for clean energy” mentioned in the “Unaddressed Issues and Request for Comments” section of the Summary of Staff Discussion Draft: Cost Recovery and Accounting (11/21/13).

    As you know, 179D directly supports two national priorities: job creation and energy independence. 179D was introduced into the tax code with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It was further extended in 2008, with current expiration set for Jan. 1, 2014. Since the inception of 179D, it has assisted thousands of building owners in retaining jobs and increasing profitability; it has also increased job creation in the trades, where energy efficiency retrofits create large numbers of high-paying jobs for a labor pool that was particularly impacted by the economic downturn. At the same time, 179D helps reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, thereby increasing America’s energy security.

    Jobs

    Energy-efficiency projects require enormous skilled and semi-skilled work forces. By cost-justifying projects, EPAct therefore plays a direct role in supporting a major source of employment in our state.

    Lighting retrofits require lighting designers, laborers to remove and dispose existing fixtures, distribution centers to store the new lighting material, laborers to stage the new material near the job site and electricians to install the new fixtures.

    HVAC retrofits require engineers for project system design, substantial U.S. manufacturing activity (most HVAC equipment is heavy and made in the U.S.), U.S. steel procurement and HVAC mechanics to install.

    The building envelope involves a wide variety of manufactured and workshop materials including roofs, walls, windows, doors, foundations and insulation. In addition to the labor required to create these products, large numbers of roofers, carpenters, installers and laborers are needed to handle the material and incorporate it into a building.

    In addition, reduced building expenses allow for the retention of jobs on the building owner’s end.

    Energy Security

    Our nation’s goal of becoming energy independent cannot be achieved through domestic oil and natural gas production alone. Energy Efficiency is an untapped natural resource. Commercial Buildings represent 20 percent of our nation’s energy use. “Drilling” for building energy efficiency is the least costly natural resource we have. For building owners, the upfront cost of retrofitting is expensive, but with utility and government assistance working together with building owners, energy use reductions between 20 and 50 percent can be obtained.

    Commercial building energy efficiency is a critical way by which utilities can meet newly established national guidelines for carbon emission reductions. By improving the cost benefit equation of an energy efficiency retrofit, Section 179D thereby plays an important role in helping utilities comply with national policy while simultaneously reducing the need for the construction of costly new power plants.

    Looking Ahead

    Today, taxpayers and industry understand how to prospectively use 179D to achieve the greatest possible energy reduction far better than they did eight years ago. Using the Snowe-sponsored extension as a base, many leading organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Institute of Architects and the Real Estate Roundtable have been working on a proposal to extend 179D, as well as expand the maximum tax deduction. This extension will empower our country to realize major energy efficiency gains and will not represent a material cost to treasury since efficiency gains increase taxable income over time for commercial building owners.

    Section 179D supports a key investment in the American economy: energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is a force-multiplying investment that saves energy, saves money, and sustains and creates American jobs. Comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades drastically improve the reliability and performance of the nation’s building stock while reducing demand on our energy supply. We strongly support its inclusion as the Senate Finance Committee contemplates Comprehensive Tax Reform.

    Sincerely,
    [Your name/business]

    Locate your senators’ online contact forms:

    Alabama: Sen. Sessions , Sen. Shelby
    Alaska: Sen. Begich, Sen. Murkowski
    Arizona: Sen. Flake, Sen. McCain
    Arkansas: Sen. Boozman, Sen. Pryor
    California: Sen. Boxer, Sen. Feinstein
    Colorado: Sen. Bennet, Sen. Udall
    Connecticut: Sen. Blumenthal, Sen. Murphy
    Delaware: Sen. Carper, Sen. Coons
    Florida: Sen. Nelson, Sen. Rubio
    Georgia: Sen. Chambliss, Sen. Isakson
    Hawaii: Sen. Hirono, Sen. Schatz
    Idaho: Sen. Crapo, Sen. Risch
    Illinois: Sen. Durbin, Sen. Kirk
    Indiana: Sen. Coats, Sen. Donnelly
    Iowa: Sen. Grassley, Sen. Harkin
    Kansas: Sen. Moran, Sen. Roberts
    Kentucky: Sen. McConnell, Sen. Paul
    Louisiana: Sen. Landrieu, Sen. Vitter
    Maine: Sen. Collins, Sen. King
    Maryland: Sen. Cardin, Sen. Mikulski
    Massachusetts: Sen. Cowan, Sen. Warren
    Michigan: Sen. Levin, Sen. Stabenow
    Minnesota: Sen. Franken, Sen. Klobuchar
    Mississippi: Sen. Cochran, Sen. Wicker
    Missouri: Sen. Blunt, Sen. McCaskill
    Montana: Sen. Baucus, Sen. Tester
    Nebraska: Sen. Fischer, Sen. Johanns
    Nevada: Sen. Heller, Sen. Reid
    New Hampshire: Sen. Ayotte, Sen. Shaheen
    New Jersey: Sen. Menendez, Sen. Booker
    New Mexico: Sen. Heinrich, Sen. Udall
    New York: Sen. Gillibrand, Sen. Schumer
    North Carolina: Sen. Burr, Sen. Hagan
    North Dakota: Sen. Heitkamp, Sen. Hoeven
    Ohio: Sen. Brown, Sen. Portman
    Oklahoma: Sen. Coburn, Sen. Inhofe
    Oregon: Sen. Merkley, Sen. Wyden
    Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey, Sen. Toomey
    Rhode Island: Sen. Reed, Sen. Whitehouse
    South Carolina: Sen. Graham, Sen. Scott
    South Dakota: Sen. Johnson, Sen. Thune
    Tennessee: Sen. Alexander, Sen. Corker
    Texas: Sen. Cornyn, Sen. Cruz
    Utah: Sen. Hatch, Sen. Lee
    Vermont: Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders
    Virginia: Sen. Kaine, Sen. Warner
    Washington: Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray
    West Virginia: Sen. Manchin, Sen. Rockefeller
    Wisconsin: Sen. Baldwin, Sen. Johnson
    Wyoming: Sen. Barrasso, Sen. Enzi

About the Author

Charles R. Goulding, CPA
Charles R. Goulding is an attorney, certified public accountant and president of Energy Tax Savers, Syosset, N.Y.

2 Comments on "Help Extend EPAct 179D with a Letter to Your Senators"

  1. retrofitadmin | March 17, 2014 at 10:10 am |

    UPDATE from Energy Tax Savers:

    The section 179D commercial building energy tax incentive expired as of Dec. 31, 2013. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) the new head of the Senate Finance Committee has stated he will introduce legislation to extend 55 expired tax provisions including EPAct as of April 2014. President Obama’s recently released budget also contains funding for extending section 179D. Those interested in extension should continue writing in support to their state U.S. Senators and Congressmen.

  2. Done! I contacted both of my Senators. What a shame it would be to lose these great tools to encourage energy efficiency.

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