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Tax Credits Provide Opportunities for Home Buyers.

relocationguide contributorBy Doug Davis
Publisher: RelocationGuide.com

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The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has extended the tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence. It also authorized a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified repeat home buyers. For more info go to http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.

Frequently Asked QuestionsAbout the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has extended the tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence. The tax credit now applies to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, a home purchase completed by June 30, 2010 will qualify.

For sales occurring after November 6, 2009, the Act establishes income limits of $125,000 for single taxpayers and $225,000 for married couples filing joint returns.

The income limits for sales occurring on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before November 6, 2009, are $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing joint returns.

1. Who is eligible to claim the $8,000 tax credit?
First-time home buyers purchasing any kind of home-new or resale-are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs and the title to the property transfers to the home owner. A limited exception exists for certain contract for deed purchases and installment sale purchases. See the IRS website for more detail.

However, the law also allows home sales occurring by June 30, 2010 to qualify, provided they are due to a binding sales contract in force on or before April 30, 2010.

Persons who are claimed as dependents by other taxpayers or who are under age 18 are not qualified for the tax credit program.

2. What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?
The law defines "first-time home buyer" as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse.

For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, IRS Notice 2009-12 allows unmarried joint purchasers to allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.

3. How is the amount of the tax credit determined?
The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.

4. Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?
Yes. For sales occuring after November 6, 2009, the income limit for single taxpayers is $125,000; the limit is $225,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $125,000 for single taxpayers and $225,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The phaseout range for the tax credit program is equal to $20,000. That is, the tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $145,000 (single) or $245,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Move-Up/Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has established a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up/ repeat home buyers (existing home owners) purchasing a principal residence after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or purchased by June 30, 2010 with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010).

1. Who is eligible to claim the $6,500 tax credit?
Qualified move-up or repeat home buyers purchasing any kind of home are eligible to claim this credit.

2. What is the definition of a move-up or repeat home buyer?
The law defines a tax credit qualified move-up home buyer ("long-time resident") as a person who has owned and resided in the same home for at least five consecutive years of the eight years prior to the purchase date. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. That is, both spouses must qualify as long-time residents, with at least five years of principal residency for each. Repeat home buyers do not have to purchase a home that is more expensive than their previous home to qualify for the tax credit.

3. How is the amount of the tax credit determined?
The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home's purchase price up to a maximum of $6,500. Purchases of homes priced above $800,000 are not eligible for the tax credit.

4. Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?
Yes. The income limit for single taxpayers is $125,000; the limit is $225,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) above those limits. The phaseout range for the tax credit program is equal to $20,000. That is, the tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $145,000 (single) or $245,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.