$8,000 first time home buyer credit makes it a perfect time to buy!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Century 21 Turner Brokers

$8,000 First time home buyer credit

On February 25th, The Internal Revenue Service announced that taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit and purchase a home this year before Dec. 1 have a special option available for claiming the tax credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year. Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home this year before Dec. 1 can get up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married filing separately.


"For first-time homebuyers this year, this special feature can put money in their pockets right now rather than waiting another year to claim the tax credit," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "This important change gives qualifying homebuyers cash they do not have to pay back."
The IRS has posted a revised version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, on IRS.gov. The revised form incorporates provisions from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The instructions to the revised Form 5405 provide additional information on who can and cannot claim the credit, income limitations and repayment of the credit.


This year, qualifying taxpayers who buy a home before Dec. 1, 2009, can claim the credit on either their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. They do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their main home for 36 months after the purchase date. They can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately.


The amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is more than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers.  For purposes of the credit, you are considered to be a first-time homebuyer if you, and your spouse if you are married, did not own any other main home during the three-year period ending on the date of purchase.


The IRS also alerted taxpayers that the new law does not affect people who purchased a home after April 8, 2008, and on or before Dec. 31, 2008. For these taxpayers who are claiming the credit on their 2008 tax returns, the maximum credit remains 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $7,500, or $3,750 for married individuals filing separately. In addition, the credit for these 2008 purchases must be repaid in 15 equal installments over 15 years, beginning with the 2010 tax year.

Use the $8,000 credit for your down payment!  Certain restrictions apply, call one of our agents or your lending institution for details.  

Consumers across the country can now take advantage of a Federal Housing Administration program to allow qualified home buyers to apply the $8,000 tax credit when purchasing a home. FHA will now permit its lenders to provide a short-term bridge loan that will let qualified home buyers use the tax credit to either make a larger down payment above the FHA required 3.5 percent, cover closing costs, or buy down their interest rate.

"A true housing recovery depends on buyers returning to the market and reducing inventory," said National Association of Realtors® President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. "Since many of the homes available are lower priced starter homes, the ability for individuals to use the tax credit at closing should have a meaningful impact on home sales and values and will allow thousands of families to achieve the dream of homeownership."

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced the change today. In an address to several thousand Realtors® gathered two weeks ago at NAR's Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy, Donovan announced HUD's plan to offer the tax credit as down payment assistance. Donovan detailed the modifications to that original proposal and announcement.

"We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans," Donovan said. According to Donovan, the FHA's approved lenders will be permitted to "monetize" the tax credit through short-term bridge loans allowing eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.

NAR has supported monetization of the tax credit, which was part of an Obama administration housing stimulus plan enacted earlier in the year. NAR petitioned HUD to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit to help them cover down payment or closing costs to bring new home buyers to the market and stimulate home sales.

"We think this is a good program; our members have been getting many inquiries from potential buyers about it," McMillan said. "NAR is pleased that this enhancement has been made to the administration's housing recovery program. As we have heard before, there can be no economic recovery without a housing recovery. With an abundance of inventory, reduced home prices, historically low interest rates and now the availability of the tax credit at closing, we expect to see the housing market further stabilize and improve."

Below is a list of FAQ's from the IRS website:

First-Time Homebuyer Credit Questions and Answers: Homes Purchased in 2009

 

Q. Is the IRS currently accepting e-filed returns that claim the new $8,000 homebuyer credit in/for the 2008 tax year?

A. Yes. Taxpayers can file Form 5405, First Time Homebuyer Credit, electronically for home purchases in 2008 to claim the first-time homebuyer credit. IRS began processing these returns electronically on March 30, 2009.

Q. I plan to build a home and occupy it in 2009. Can I claim the first-time homebuyer credit now and use the funds toward the down payment or other ongoing construction costs?

A. No. To qualify for the first time home buyer credit, the residence must be purchased. By statute, a residence which is constructed by the taxpayer is treated as purchased on the date the taxpayer first occupies the residence. (05/06/09)

Q. I bought my home in 2009 (early) and filed my 2008 tax return claiming the $7,500 first-time homebuyer credit that has to be repaid. Now the expanded law provides for an $8,000 credit that doesn't have to be repaid. What do I need to do to get the $8,000 credit that doesn't have to be paid back?

A. You can file an amended return.

Q. If I purchase a home in June 2009, and have already filed my 2008 tax return, can I amend my 2008 return or will I have to claim it on my 2009 return?  

A. You can either file an amended return to claim it on your 2008 return or claim it on your 2009 return.

Q: When must I pay back the credit for the home I purchased in 2009?

A:  Generally, there is no requirement to pay back the credit for a principal residence purchased in 2009. The obligation to repay the credit on a home purchased in 2009 arises only if the home ceases to be your principal residence within 36 months from the date of purchase. The full amount of the credit received becomes due on the return for the year the home ceased being your principal residence.

Q. If I claim the first-time homebuyer credit for a purchase in 2009 and stop using the property as my principal residence before the 36 month period expires after I purchase, how is the credit repaid and how long would I have to repay it?

A. If, within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full amount of the credit is due at that time the income tax return for the year the home ceased to be your principal residence is due. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year's tax return. Form 5405 and its instructions will be revised for tax year 2009 to include information about repayment of the credit.

If anyone has a comment or a question, please use the comment section below.  This blog will be monitored and questions will be answered.  If you would rather contact an agent who can help you understand your options, please call 716-763-7506 and speak with one of our knowledgeable agents at Century 21 Turner Brokers. 

 

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Anonymous
Brian McCourt

Great information, thank you.  I am starting the process of buying my first home and appreciate the help.  

Jun 16, 2009 02:02 AM #1
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