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Federal tax credits of up to $500 on qualifying energy-efficient HVAC purchases are back.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was a real cliff hanger. Spoiler alert: the Federal government did it and the tax-paying consumer gets the credit.

For those of you who upgraded your system in 2012, you need not feel left out. The Act made these tax credits retroactively effective for qualifying purchases going back to January 1, 2012. So you can benefit too"that is unless you've already made other energy efficiency improvements for which you've received prior tax credits of $500 or more.

For those of you planning an HVAC purchase now or in the near future, your potential for tax credits of up to $500 are just one more reason why buying a higher-efficiency system is the way to go.

Just know this isnt a forever thing. Unless congress writes a sequel, these tax credits end December 31, 2013.

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