Do you qualify for the $8,000 tax credit?

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Have you heard? If you are a first-time home buyer, you might be able to get an $8,000 tax credit if you buy a home this year.

And this tax credit never has to be paid back. In fact, people who claim this credit will actually get a check from the government, just for buying a home.

Here's how you qualify:

1 You cannot have owned a home for three years.

2 You must buy a home between Jan. 1 2009 and Dec. 1, 2009.

3 Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

4 You have to agree to live in the house for three years.

Because this tax credit is 'refundable' many people will get a check from the government for the amount they qualify to receive. Most will get this check when they file their 2009 taxes, but there are other ways to get the money sooner.

You could choose to have reduced tax taken out of your paycheck until you reach the $8,000 mark. Consult a tax professional if you wish to give yourself a temporary raise in this manner. But remember, if you don't complete the home purchase, you will owe the IRS every penny that was not withheld. So be sure you are going to buy.

You may also be able to apply the $8,000 to your 2008 taxes and get the refund earlier. Consult a tax professional.

Maria Smith-Alvira


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