How to Claim 179D Tax Deduction on Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings?


When you are involved in real estate, there are a lot of ways that can be used to save money. One such popular one is tax deduction through 179D commercial building energy efficient tax deduction.

The bill has been made permanent, which provides great tax benefits for engineering, architecture, and construction companies. For example, the entities can easily claim the deduction from the construction completed on the design projects meant for a government building or real estate.

But for the deduction, there are specific rules and regulations that the companies must be aware of. This will vary based on the contract terms and timing. If you are new to this or need to learn how to make the most of it, then the guide here is just for you.

Once you check out the guide, you will know how to slash a turn off money on the tax liability for energy-efficient improvements that you will be doing in your industry or commercial facility.

The 179D deduction

Congress first passed the deduction bill in 2005. This was a response to energy consumption and usage concerns arising since then. Back then, it was just a temporary provision but was extended repetitively open the years.

Finally, it was made permanent under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Now the law allows the owners of existing or new commercial buildings to enjoy tax-saving benefits by making them more energy efficient.

Taxpayers can receive as much as $1.8 per square foot when they choose to make energy-efficient improvements above the energy thresholds to the commercial building. The amount will also increase slightly every year based on inflation.

So the companies who choose to include energy-efficient strategies in their plan right from the start or make changes later on, will get the tax saving benefits.

Who can get the benefits?

The 179D deductions are available for the owners of all the architecture, engineering, or construction entities responsible for the design components or for bringing in any energy efficiency in the building.

Herein, the main purpose is to motivate the designers or the building owners to use energy-efficient systems or upgrades. The entity must be considered responsible for the design. It helps create a technical specification for the building.

Any entity that repairs, restores, or maintains the property but doesn’t meet the definition of a designer or the purpose of the deduction will not be able to make the most of it.

There have been changes made in a lot of ways. Typically, the law applies to commercial buildings that include office buildings, industrial buildings, warehouses, apartment buildings with at least four stories, etc.

The improvements made in the interior lighting, building envelope, HVAC system, or updating the water system comes under the law. So one will be able to enjoy the benefits of the same if they choose to make such a move.

An important point here is that the energy efficiency of the upgrades must be capable of reducing the power cost and energy by 50% or more compared to meeting the building’s minimum requirements.

Herein cost saving is required to be qualified with special software. Building owners can claim a tax credit of up to $1.80 per square foot. In addition, there can be a partial deduction of $0.60 per square foot when updates are made in one of the systems mentioned above.

For instance, an upgrade to the interior lighting can qualify for more deductions as it can save energy and power. Thus, going to the energy-efficient means will be quite beneficial for you.

But if you are still worried about the same or require additional information, then details have been mentioned here regarding how you can file for tax-saving benefits. Remember, you have to meet all of the criteria.

Thus, you must check out the eligibility and other essentials before you choose to apply for it. Also, it would help if you had proper documentation ready to prove you have made changes to the building and that it is meeting the requirements.

How to claim the benefits?

When you have made necessary changes in the property and are hoping to claim the 179D deduction, you need to connect with a qualified third-party professional engineer or contractor who makes use of approved computer software for modeling the energy performance of your upgrades.

The software will compare your energy performance model to the building and see if it meets the minimum requirement of ASHRAE 90.1.

The third-party will also go ahead to assess the facility physically. They will analyze and review the results of the digital energy model and verify the finding during the physical work of the site.

It is a long process, so you must ensure that everything is well taken care of. You must have met the standards, right? After all, if you get a no, there won’t be any chance to apply for the claim.

Also, it is important to note that the third party you are considering is licensed and certified in the state of the building. Therefore, they must have a certification document for a section 179D deduction stating that they have examined the energy model and the deductions are right.

Besides, there will be a need for an allocation letter signed by both the designer and someone from the government entity who has the authority to do so. Thus, you will get all the benefits of the 179D law.

170D tax deduction also allows the non-profit owner or government to allocate deductions without a contractor or the architect being involved in the energy efficiency improvements of the building. However, to receive any benefit of the deduction, the entity engaged in the 179D must provide two documents which include.

  • Allocation letter provided by a non-profit organization or the government entity that holds the property. The letter must have the signature of the authorized representative of the organization or the agency.
  • A report showcasing that the building qualifies for tax deductions and meets all criteria.

The process is going to be quite a tough one. So having an idea about things in detail is extremely important. You can even consider connecting with a good professional who will make that experience easy.

As professionals are aware of things, they will guarantee that they take care of the aspects so that you can make the most of the available opportunity and enjoy the cost-saving benefits.

Retroactively claiming the 179D deduction

Yes, you can claim the 179D tax deduction as far back as 2006 if you are the building owner. But to do so, you will have to file an accounting method change.

While you must know the other entities planning to file retroactively must have a file of the amended tax return. Besides, you should be able to claim the 179D deduction in the same tax year of the first use.

But the process will be a bit tough and complicated to understand l. So it will be helpful to contact your tax professional for advice or assistance.

They will be able to help you get the energy efficiency grades you require for qualifying for the tax incentives, even if it seems to be relatively easy things to be tough.

Having support from someone with experience will make the job comfortable for you and will avoid putting in all the difficulty and stress. Research here will be quite beneficial for you to understand the key aspects and know how or when to use the plan to enjoy the benefits.

Even if you think the process is long and complicated, staying consistent and positive is important to see major benefits and save money. Once you are prepared, make sure to analyze your property and stay prepared for the physical check of the same.


The 179D tax-saving law has benefited the building owners as they can enjoy major tax-saving benefits. But one must be aware of the essentials before taking any step. After all, this is the key to properly moving ahead with the process.

You need to do everything from keeping all the documentation ready to your property appearing well for the physical analysis. While if you are a need of any assistance, then you can consider connecting with Private Capital Investors.

They have got the best professionals. They will make the experience easy for you. The experts guarantee timely support no matter what type of support you need. They will make the entire experience better for you.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with us today.

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