The first chance homeowners will have to file for stimulus-related energy-efficiency tax credits is with their 2009 taxes. Those with energy-efficient upgrades would fill out form 5695 and include that information on their standard 1040 form in the area under tax credits (line 53 in 2008). However, tax preparation software companies are researching the bill to update their software and help clients claim the credits.

“We do all the hard work behind the scenes. Our analysts are working to update the various tax forms -- writing the 'interview' or plain English questions,” says Bob Meighan, vice president of TurboTax by Intuit, in Mountain View, Calif. These will be included in the section of the software that begins by asking if a taxpayer owns his or her home. This section also covers property tax and mortgage interest. “This section will be much more extensive this year with all the various credits,” Meighan says. The 2009 version of TurboTax will be available around November 2009.

TaxCut from H&R Block, in Kansas City, Mo., will update its software, and will include FAQs around the topics, as well as access to an H&R Block professional (via e-mail or chat) to answer additional questions or to provide clarification. “We want to make sure H&R Block digital clients receive every deduction and credit they are eligible for and receive the maximum refund possible,” says Denise Sposato, director, Communications & Communities/Digital Tax Marketing.

TaxACT by 2nd Story Software, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, releases a free preview version in mid-October so taxpayers can use the software for planning and tax estimation. The company says that all provisions of the ARRA will be covered in the preview version and that the final version of TaxACT will be released in early January. --Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.