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Allocation Letters for Section 179D – What are they & Why do They Matter?

Allocation Letters for Section 179D – What are they & Why do They Matter?

Navigate the tax landscape wisely. Section 179D Allocation Letters ensure architects receive their rightful share for green innovations.

By Abby Massey ・ 4 min read
Guides and Tips

If you've done design work for energy-efficient public and non-profit buildings, the 179D allocation letter is particularly relevant to you. This document is your gateway to claiming the 179D tax deduction, a reward for your contribution to energy efficiency.

Understanding allocation letters and why they are necessary to claim the 179D tax deduction is straightforward once you understand the basics. This tax deduction is a significant financial perk for designers (architects, engineers, contractors, energy service providers, etc.) involved in creating energy-efficient buildings. It now offers up to $5.65 per square foot (as Section 179D was enhanced by the Inflation Reduction Act) for work that includes components like heating, cooling, interior lighting systems, or the building's envelope.

Now, if you qualify as a designer and your work results in a tax deduction, you'll need this allocation letter from the owner of the building. This document specifies how much of the deduction you will receive, details about the project, and determines what tax year you would claim the benefit.

It's an official document that not only acknowledges your valuable work but also authorizes you to claim the 179D tax deduction.

Let’s understand it in more detail…

What is a Section 179D allocation letter?

A Section 179D allocation letter is a required document for any AEC organization that designs energy-efficient public or non-profit buildings. This letter, issued by the building owner, is essentially your golden ticket to a tax incentive through the Section 179D deduction. What this means is, after you've put in the hard work to make a building more energy-friendly, the building owner recognizes your efforts by allocating you the deduction through this letter.

In this letter, you'll find details about your energy-efficient project, which dictate how much and when you can claim the benefit. This isn't just a pat on the back; it's a vital part of the process to make sure you can legally claim your share of the tax savings that come from making buildings greener. 

This letter isn't just a formality. It's essential for meeting IRS requirements. Without it, claiming your share of the tax benefits for your green design efforts would be challenging. It ensures that the tax benefits are claimed correctly and in certain instances, shared amongst any parties who are eligible.

So, when you receive this letter, it's a clear sign that your contributions to energy efficiency haven't gone unnoticed and will be tangibly rewarded.

An Expert Guide To: The Section 179D Tax Deduction

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Components of Allocation Letters

Allocation letters, key in claiming the 179D tax deduction, typically include several components which help in meeting IRS guidelines for claiming the 179D tax deduction:

  • Project Description: Details of the project, including address, project cost, and completion dates for the new construction or renovation.
  • Involved Parties: Lists the names and contact information for the designer wishing to claim the deduction as well as the building owner.
  • Amount of 179D Benefit: Includes the agreed upon amount of 179D deduction that the eligible designer can claim.
  • Acknowledgment of Agreement: Both the designer and building owner must sign to acknowledge and agree to the terms of the allocation, solidifying their commitment and understanding of how the deduction will be passed along.

Significance of Allocation Letters in Claiming Section 179D deduction –

Allocation letters are essential for the 179D tax deduction, primarily because they serve two key purposes:

Legal Requirement:

These letters are a legal necessity. Without an allocation letter, a designer cannot legally claim the tax benefits under the 179D tax deduction. This makes the letter a critical document in the deduction claiming process.

Benefit Distribution:

In the case that multiple parties are eligible on a project, the allocation letter specifies how much of the tax deduction is to be allocated to each designer wanting to participate in the allocation process. This is an excellent way for the building owner to provide benefit to all parties for a job well done.

Other Benefits of Section 179D Allocation Letters

Essential for Financial Planning:

For designers, the allocation letter is the green light that they can receive potential tax savings for their work. For organizations that specialize in government or non-profit projects, knowing the potential value they will be able to capture for each project is essential for financial planning and can greatly enhance the bottom line.

Optimize Tax Benefits with Allocation Letters

When you make energy-efficient changes to your building, there are many partners you rely upon to assist with the design and installation of these improvements. Architects, engineers, contractors, and other consultants can influence the project's outcome and overall success.

Allocation letters allow public and non-profit building owners to pass along a tax incentive, which otherwise they would not be able to use. These letters specify who will receive a deduction and how much they can receive for their work. 

Why is this important? Well, by properly allocating the tax benefit, you can help your trusted design partner reduce their tax liability. In other words, they get to keep building and investing in their company, which in turn means better services on your next energy-efficient project.

So, how can you make the most of allocation letters and Section 179D? It's simple - consult the expert tax professionals at TaxTaker.

Don't leave money on the table. Let TaxTaker be your trusted partner in maximizing your tax benefits. Take the first step towards a more energy-efficient and financially rewarding future!

Additional FAQ about Section 179D Allocation Letters

TaxTaker has answered some of the common questions related to allocation letters and Section 179D for you.

Who is eligible to claim a 179D deduction?

The tax code specifies that a designer for that project may receive the allocation letter and resulting tax benefit. The tax code defines a designer as anyone who creates technical specifications for the installation of the energy-efficient equipment. This can include architects, engineers, contractors, energy service providers, or environmental consultants. 

Who should be given the allocation letter?

Ultimately the building owner gets to determine who the allocation letter (or letters) should be given to for a project, as long as all parties qualify as a designer. The building owner can decide to give one allocation letter to the person primarily responsible for the energy efficient design or they can allocate the deduction to several eligible parties.

When should the allocation letter be signed?

It is best to execute the allocation letter once all required information is known. This would include things such as the “placed-in-service” date, cost of property, and the deduction amount. If any of the required information changes after the allocation letter is signed, an updated letter should be drafted and signed by both parties to ensure accuracy.

Register for the webinar here

An Expert Guide To: The Section 179D Tax Deduction

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About the author

Abby Massey
VP of Energy Incentives

Abby Massey is an expert in applying tax incentives for clean energy initiatives. With a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and licenses in 47 states plus the District of Columbia, Abby offers significant expertise to her role at TaxTaker as the Vice President of Energy Incentives. Her experience includes certifying over 1,400 179D deductions, achieving more than $100 million in savings for clients. As a LEED Accredited Professional, Abby is dedicated to sustainable building practices. In her role at TaxTaker, she focuses on optimizing energy incentives for clients by leveraging her in-depth understanding of the 179D program, aiming to improve business sustainability and efficiency.

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