Americans given tax breaks on water saving tech

A scheme which already offers tax breaks to ordinary Americans when they buy energy efficient goods has been rolled out to cover water-saving technology too.

There was only a small window of opportunity - from October 1 to October 5 - but during that period savvy shoppers wanting to make energy and water savings could avoid the US equivalent of VAT.

The scheme is run by the Energy Star and Water Sense initiatives and most items certified by either of those bodies were exempt from state and local taxes during that period.

It covered everything from energy-saving lightbulbs to low-flow shower heads and dual flush toilets.

Only items costing $1,500 or less are eligible for the tax holiday and must be sold to private individuals rather than companies or contractors.

This is the fourth year that Energy Star certified products have been eligible for the tax break but it's the first time that water-saving devices have been included, showing that water shortages in many US states are pushing water efficiency up the political agenda.

Some city and county authorities embraced the spirit of the tax breaks, offering further concessions in the form of cash back or rebates that went beyond simply waiving the tax, saving people up to $100 more on more expensive items.

As well as marking the start of the tax-break window, October 1 was also Energy Star's Change a Light Day, with 1.8 million Americans pledging to change at least one bulb for its low-energy equivalent.

Sam Bond



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