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Going green with your banking and life

Spotlight On Finance

— Better yet, all these tasks can be done from your mobile phone as well as your computer. In addition to monitoring and managing your accounts, you can also deposit checks via mobile phone.

You can also request automatic deposit for your paychecks. Not only will you save paper, your deposit will be available sooner than if you were to make a physical deposit—also saving you time and fuel you would have spent going to the bank. And for the times when you find that you need to visit the local ATM or branch, don’t take the receipt.

Green tax credits and deductions

Over the past few years there have been many tax incentives for consumers choosing to purchase specific energy efficient products or technologies. Several of these tax incentives have been extended and changed through the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, also known as the “Fiscal Cliff Bill,” with some extending through 2016.

The residential tax incentives for existing homes purchased in 2012 and 2013 include a 10 percent federal tax credit off the product cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 to $300 for the following specific energy efficient products: biomass stoves; heating, ventilating, air conditioning (HVAC) units; insulation; roofs (metal and asphalt); non-solar water heaters; windows; and doors. There is also a federal tax credit for 30 percent of the product cost with no upper limit for geothermal heat pumps, small residential wind turbines and solar energy systems.

Going electric with your vehicle could also lower your taxes. The Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Credit, which stays intact through 2014, offers drivers of qualified electric vehicles a $2,500 to $7,500 credit, depending on battery capacity. You can search your vehicle by make, model and year to check whether it qualifies at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fuel Economy website. In addition, some lenders, including KeyBank, offer reduced rate loans and relationship rewards for purchasing a qualifying “green” vehicle.

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