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ENERGY INVESTMENT TAX CREDITS James F. Duffy, Esquire Nixon Peabody LLP 100 Summer Street Boston, MA 02110-2131 (617) 345-1129

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Presentation on theme: "ENERGY INVESTMENT TAX CREDITS James F. Duffy, Esquire Nixon Peabody LLP 100 Summer Street Boston, MA 02110-2131 (617) 345-1129"— Presentation transcript:

1 ENERGY INVESTMENT TAX CREDITS James F. Duffy, Esquire Nixon Peabody LLP 100 Summer Street Boston, MA (617) LEARNING THE BASICS: HOUSING TAX CREDITS 101 IPED, INC. San Francisco, California July 24-25, 2008

2 2 CALIFORNIA SOLAR EMPHASIS Over the last decade, California has been the nations leading state in promoting solar energy The California Qualified Allocation Plan and tax credit application encourage and reward sustainable building methods – and every point counts in a 9% application Californias solar rebate program (essentially a grant) encourages the use of solar energy

3 3 CALIFORNIA SOLAR EMPHASIS Recently, other states have jumped on the green bandwagon, and others are planning to follow suit, so the concepts here are by no means limited to California Solar energy can be used for common areas to reduce property operating expenses or can be master metered to the tenants To the extent that using solar energy reduces tenant utility allowances, that generally allows rents to increase by an equal amount

4 4 FEDERAL ENERGY TAX CREDITS Start with the federal tax credit for solar Energy Tax Credits (sometimes called ETCs) under Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code are investment tax credits which constitute the principal federal incentive for developing and installing solar power

5 5 SECTION 48 TAX CREDITS Available, generally, for energy property using solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat (except for swimming pools), or to produce, distribute or use solar energy to illuminate using fiber-optic distributed sunlight, or qualified fuel cell property, or qualified microturbine property So this is a primarily described as a solar energy tax credit -- Photovoltaic PV, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and fuel cells

6 6 As an investment tax credit, the ETC (for solar, etc.) is based on the cost of the energy facility, not on how much electricity is produced In contrast, Federal tax credits for wind, biomass, geothermal, etc. are under Section 45 of the Internal Revenue Code and are based upon electricity production) For the ETC, there is no requirement that electricity be sold, just that the facility generate electricity for heating, cooling or lighting

7 7 The ETC is generally 30% of the cost of the facility (which does not include ancillary aspects like transmission lines and substations, but can include a reasonable development fee) The ETC is claimed in full in the year the facility is placed in service (although in certain circumstances it could be claimed based on progress expenditures over more than one year) Recapture possible for 5 years (credit vests 20% per year)

8 8 ETCs are generally claimed by the owner of the solar facility A lease can be used so that the tenant claims the tax credits, but most solar facilities are too small to justify the additional transaction costs of documenting a transaction as a lease, at least under the master lease structures used for historic tax credits ETCs follow profits – Unlike LIHTCs which generally follow depreciation losses (be careful with any incentive fees)

9 9 The use of grants, bonds, subsidized energy financing and other tax credits can reduce the ETCs pro rata based on the percentage of the facility funded by these items ETCs (like LIHTCs) cannot reduce Alternative Minimum Tax liability There is a basis reduction of 50% of ETCs claimed, which reduces depreciation losses

10 10 Facilities are generally depreciated over 5 years (5-year MACRS) Facilities placed in service in 2008 can claim 50% of the total depreciation in 2008 Under current law, the facility must be placed in service prior to January 1, 2009, or ETCs are reduced from 30% to 10% – Credit extension legislation is under consideration now in the Congress

11 11 ETCs ON LIHTC PROPERTIES The same property can take advantage of both ETCs and LIHTCs If the solar facility is being included in the initial construction or rehabilitation of a LIHTC property, then the solar property can be included in the basis for both tax credits If the solar facility is being added to an up and running LIHTC property, the LIHTC basis is already established, so only the ETCs can be claimed on the solar facility

12 12 To qualify for both LIHTCs and ETCs, the tenants cannot be charged for the electricity, as that would cause the panels to be commercial property and excluded from LIHTC basis When combining LIHTCs and ETCs, make sure the ultimate investor (which may be the syndicators investor) is in the deal before the solar property is placed in service (possible 3-month lease exception under Code Section 50(d)(4))

13 13 The LIHTC partnership could own the solar facility and the LIHTC investor could pay additional capital for the ETCs An affiliate of the developer could own the solar panels and (i) sell electricity to the LIHTC partnership or (ii) lease the panels to the LIHTC partnership; in either case, the developer could syndicate the ETCs to a tax investor

14 14 ADDING SOLAR TO AN EXISTING LIHTC PROPERTY The LIHTC partnership could own the solar facility and the LIHTC investor could pay additional capital for the ETCs An affiliate of the developer could own the solar panels and (i) sell electricity to the LIHTC partnership or (ii) lease the panels to the LIHTC partnership; in either of these situations, the developer could separately syndicate the ETCs to a tax investor

15 15 Example: Combining ETC and LIHTC Amount of Credits Available 9% Housing Credit4% Housing Credit Solar Panel Cost$1,000,000 Solar Credit at 30%$300,000* $150,000** assumes 50% tax-exempt debt LIHTC Basis (reduced by ½ of solar credit) $850,000$925,000 LIHTC Percentage (assumed) 8.1% x 10 = 81%3.5% x 10 = 35% LIHTC Amount$689,000$324,000 Total Credits$989,000$474,000 *Plus 5-year MACRS (and **Plus S/L depreciation 50% bonus depreciation if PIS in 2008)

16 16 Often, the ideal transaction structure depends on whether or not the solar facility can be included in LIHTC basis and on the available state incentives Also, some LIHTC investors and syndicators are more receptive than others to also investing in ETCs

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