15% Tax Credit on Aging-in-Place Home Renovations

creative commons image of Canada Maple Leaf from WikipediaHere’s a stimulus idea that I borrowed from Canada, which should be considered in Obama’s Jobs Plan. It addresses jobs, home construction, energy, and  health care for Seniors. What do you think of the idea, and how would you change it? Please leave a Reply below.

The basic idea is to give a 15% tax credit on Energy Star and Aging-in-Place home  renovations for seniors over age 65. Such a program has numerous benefits:

  • Creates immediate jobs for home construction workers and manufacturers of products related to home modifications, universal design, and energy conservation and management.
  • Helps reduce energy costs for seniors on fixed incomes.
  • Prepares homes for aging to keep seniors to in their homes as long as possible and avoid forced moves into more expensive institutional care such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Improves home values.
  • Sets the stage for innovation in health care aimed at home care.

Qualifying renovations, with expense caps, could include things like:

  • Widening doorways for wheelchair access
  • Installing stair ramps (and stair lifts or elevators in multistory homes)
  • Installing grab bars and lever-style door and sink handles
  • Providing knee space under sinks in kitchen and one bath
  • Installing monitored security systems, intercoms, remote lighting controls, and electronic door locks
  • Replacing light bulbs with new energy-efficient ones that last longer, generate more light, and need less replacement

Yes, the idea is half-baked with no funding source yet, but that’s where YOU come in. Does it have merit? What do you Like or Dislike about it? How Should it be funded? Should it be expanded to also include tax credits for in-home health care and property tax deferrals for seniors? Who would qualify and under what conditions? Are measures needed to prevent abuse of seniors or by seniors? It seems that installing unneeded features could reduce a home’s value rather than enhance it, so seniors may have little incentive to cheat the system. Contractors are another story.