Your state's government may pay a nice portion of the cost of a new refrigerator to upgrade your old, clunky one. The federal government, as well, usually offers tax credits — a deduction that takes off the exact dollar amount on your tax bill — for purchasing certain energy-efficient appliances and products. However, refrigerators do not qualify for any type of tax credit. Instead, you may receive a rebate from your state paid for by federal funds.
As of 2011, the IRS does not offer a tax credit for purchasing a new refrigerator. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorized funds to each state to give to consumers rebates for purchasing certain appliances. The federal government gives states the flexibility to structure their rebate programs based on their needs, however, so the actual award amount varies by the previous refrigerator model you own and the purchase price of the new refrigerator. In general, rebates do not exceed $500.
Credit for Producers
In 2010, Congress extended the tax credits included in the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010. This applies to small businesses and the self-employed who manufacturer certain appliances that meet Department of Energy energy-efficiency standards. Every refrigerator produced that beats 2001 DOE refrigerator standard by 30 percent qualified for a $150 tax credit or a $200 credit it beats standards by 35 percent.
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The energy-efficient-appliance rebate program gave a limited amount of funds to the states, so once a state uses all of its fund it cannot continue the program. In 2011, most states do not have any more funds for energy-efficient appliance rebates. Thus, you should check the Energy Star website to ensure your state has funding left. In general, most rebates are or will be reserved for certain demographics, such as low-income families.
Even if you do not qualify for a rebate on your refrigerator, you should upgrade your model. Replacing a clothes washer made before 2000, for instance, typically saves up to $130 in electricity costs. Refrigerators only last about 10 to 15 years, so if you have an old one it may be time to replace it anyway.
Search the Energy Star website for rebates and other offers on refrigerators specific to your community. Some local appliance retailers offer promotions for buying a new refrigerator, such as free pickup for your old fridge or money back if you donate it. Also, check the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for rebates and tax credits on other household appliances.