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SPN APR 2010 WorldNews



New US legislation may extend tax credits for solar heaters added to commercial pools.

The Renewable Energy Incentive Act’s main purpose is to fund solar-energy developments through to 2012, and to include public pools in the funding. Senate Bill 2899 also includes commercial swimming pools in an existing solar tax credit currently only allowed for homes and buildings.

If the bill passes, a 30% credit will be granted to commercial- pool owners who fit their facilities with solar heating that meets Government standards. The credit will apply to pools updated after the law’s passage. Currently, the code states that the existing tax credit may not be given for pools of any kind.

Congress excluded pools initially because they’re considered luxury items.

Approximately 189,000 commercial pools in the United States use fossil fuel or electricity to heat an estimated 27.25 billion gallons of water. If the heating systems were replaced with solar

water heating systems, there would be 1.23 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided annually, equivalent to taking 237,000 cars off the road.

Solar systems generally pay for themselves in less than five years, but the substantial upfront cost prevents many customers from signing on the dotted line.


Unless the pool, spa and hot tub industry can find answers in 2010 to rectify the problem, tens of thousands of swimming pools, spas and hot tubs could be ordered to shut down in California as part of state and local drought conditions. John Norwood, President of California Spa and Pool Industry Education Council said new regulations that went into effect on 1 January 2010 define “water features” to include swimming pools and hot tubs. If water features, such as decorative fountains and ponds, are ordered to shut down as part of a local drought response initiative, swimming pools and spas will be

included. If this were to happen, hundreds of individuals in the pool and spa industry could be put out of business and homeowners could incur thousands of dollars in damages to their swimming pools and spas. The Water Conservation and Landscaping Act, required the Department of Water Resources to adopt by regulation a statewide system on how they defined water features.

California is now in the fourth year of a drought, and the pool industry is more vulnerable than ever. SPEC’s position is that swimming pools and spas should not be included in any local law that seeks to regulate the use of water relative to landscaping. “Unless pools and spas are removed from the model

ordinance by statute there is a real danger that thousands of swimming pools and spas could be ordered to be shut down if local agencies tie their drought response initiative to the model landscape ordinance now in effect throughout the state,” says Norwood. “Pools and spas that are shut down for long periods of time will potentially create enormous damage resulting in financial hardships, while creating safety and health hazards.

“Shutting down tens of thousands of pools and spas could be catastrophic for this industry,” notes Jerry Wallace, SPEC Vice Chairman and owner of SwimChem. “To do so would put hundreds, even thousands, of companies and product distributors out of business,” says Wallace.


Can you claim a swimming pool as a taxable benefit if the pool has been built to help chronic pain?

That’s the debate being argued in Canada where the tax rules permit a non- refundable credit for “eligible medical expenses”.

To qualify, the service or item must be listed as an “eligible” medical expense under the Income Tax Act. The Canada Revenue Agency formally responded to taxpayer requests whether the cost of installing an indoor swimming pool could qualify as a medical expense. One taxpayer’s physician “prescribed the swimming pool” for the purpose of alleviating chronic pain and the taxpayer indicated that there would be “little to no other personal use of the swimming pool” by the individual’s family.

Under the rules, in order to claim, it must be “exclusively designed to assist an individual in walking where the individual has mobility impairment”. Since a swimming pool is not considered to be a device exclusively designed to assist an individual in walking, the agency concluded it doesn’t qualify for the credit.

The Tax Act also allows renovation expenses to qualify for the medical expense credit if they permit an individual with a severe impairment to be mobile within their home. But the renovations must not generally increase the value of the home; and second, they must not be renovations that would normally be incurred by someone without mobility impairment.

Since an indoor swimming pool may increase the value of the home and swimming pools are normally built by individuals “for general health, fitness and entertainment reasons”, the cost of such an installation didn’t qualify. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100
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