When it first came out:
First-time homebuyers may be able to take advantage of a tax credit for homes purchased in 2008 or 2009. The credit:
Applies to purchases that close after April 8, 2008, and before Dec. 1, 2009.
Applies only to homes used as a taxpayer's principal residence.
Reduces a taxpayer's tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar.
Is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.
The credit is claimed using Form 5405.
For 2008 Home Purchases
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 established a tax credit for first-time homebuyers that can be worth up to $7,500. For homes purchased in 2008, the credit is similar to a no-interest loan and must be repaid in 15 equal, annual installments beginning with the 2010 income tax year.
Then it was revised to this:
For 2009 Home Purchases
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded the first-time homebuyer credit by increasing the credit amount to $8,000 for purchases made in 2009 before Dec. 1.
For home purchased in 2009, the credit does not have to be paid back unless the home ceases to be the taxpayer's main residence within a three-year period following the purchase.
First-time homebuyers who purchase a home in 2009 can claim the credit on either a 2008 tax return, due April 15, 2009, or a 2009 tax return, due April 15, 2010. The credit may not be claimed before the closing date. But, if the closing occurs after April 15, 2009, a taxpayer can still claim it on a 2008 tax return by requesting an extension of time to file or by filing an amended return
Now the IRS issues this notice:
First-Time Homebuyer Credit Provides Tax Benefit to 1.4 Million Families to Date, More Claims Expected
With the deadline quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded potential homebuyers they must complete their first-time home purchases before Dec. 1 to qualify for the special first-time homebuyer credit. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act extended the tax credit, which has provided a tax benefit to more than 1.4 million taxpayers so far. The credit of up to $8,000 is generally available to homebuyers with qualifying income levels who have never owned a home or have not owned one in the past three years.