What is Section 45L?

Section 45L of the Internal Revenue Code provides a tax credit (dollar for dollar savings on any tax liability) for qualified residential properties. The credit was set to expire on December 31, 2021, however, through the Inflation Reduction Act, the credit has been extended through December 31, 2032.

Residential properties that may qualify for the credit are single and multifamily properties that meet certain energy requirements. The incentive provides a tax credit of up to $2,000 per dwelling unit placed into service prior to 12/31/2022, and a credit of up to $5,000 per dwelling unit placed into service between 1/1/2023 and 12/31/2032.

Is this credit for you?

Eligible contractors, as defined by the IRS, who construct or substantially renovate residential dwelling units within the United States are eligible for the credit. There is no credit limit amount that you can apply for or limit to the number of times that you can claim the credit.

Developers that are involved with affordable housing projects can claim the Section 45L credit along with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) without lowering the basis in the LIHTC.

Advantages of the credit

Section 45L gives developers the opportunity to offset the costs associated with energy-efficient residences. Additional benefits include:

  • Building sustainable homes for the community.
  • Increased marketability.
  • Opportunity to minimize tax liability.
  • Ability to offset costs for energy-efficient building materials.

What are the new requirements?

Prior to 2023, developers had to meet the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code standards and were also subject to a three-story limitation on the height of the building.

Beginning in 2023, the available credit amounts vary based on the types of property (single family or multifamily) and the type of certification. The new standards to meet are either the Energy Star or Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH). For developers of multifamily properties, they can earn higher credits by meeting prevailing wages (PW). The chart below illustrates how these factors affect the credits.

Home TypeEnergy StarEnergy Star with PWZERHZERH with PW
Single Family$ 2,500.00$                  2,500.00$ 5,000.00$    5,000.00
Multifamily$     500.00$                  2,500.00$ 1,000.00$    5,000.00

Additionally, the three-story limitation has been removed.

Who certifies the dwelling unit?

A site visit is conducted by a qualified individual, who has been licensed as a Professional Engineer or as a Registered Architect, to study the eligible unit(s). The individual uses software that has been approved by the Department of Energy (DOE) to calculate the energy savings over the applicable energy standards.

If a project is pursuing DOE ZERH certification, additional reporting is required.

Is Section 45L worth it?

According to an Elevate Rapid City housing study done in 2022, it is projected that the Rapid City region will need a net addition of about 2,979 – 4,021 rental units and 6,084 – 7,149 ownership units. This presents a real opportunity to serve the community with sustainable housing while receiving a tax credit.

If you are interested in the Section 45L credit, speak with your tax professional at Ketel Thorstenson to see how it may benefit you.