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Top 5 Facts You Need to Know about the Expanded Home Buyers Tax Credit

Top 5 Facts You Need to Know About the Expanded Home Buyers Tax Credit
On November 6, President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law, extending and expanding the important home buyer tax credit, and thereby providing many Americans with just the break they need to buy a first home or move up to a new home.
One of the requirements for becoming a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network® is to provide my community with critical real estate information so you can make the best possible decision when buying or selling a home. To that end, I wanted to pass along some key facts about the extended and expanded tax credit that are critical for you to understand in order to take advantage of this opportunity:

1. Eligibility: The tax credit is now available for first-time home buyers and eligible current homeowners. A first-time home buyer is an individual who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. This law applies for both parties in a married couple; if you haven’t owned a home for three years, but your husband has, then neither one of you can qualify for the tax credit. A qualified current homeowner who wished to move to a different home, must have owned and resided in their residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight.

2. Salary requirements:
Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with a joint income up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit. Single taxpayers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000, and married couples who earn between $225,000 and $245,000 are eligible to receive a partial credit.

3. Amount of credit: The maximum credit amount for first-time home buyers is $8,000; the maximum credit amount for current homeowners is $6,500. The federal tax credit amounts to 10% of the cost of the home, up to a maximum credit of $8,000 for first-time home buyers and $6,500 for current homeowners. Under the new legislation, a tax credit may only be issued for homes purchased for $800,000 or less. The tax credit is a true credit—it does not have to be repaid unless the homeowner sells or stops using the home as their principal residence within three years after the purchase.

4. It’s refundable:
The tax credit is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if you owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed. The credit is claimed using Form 5405, which you file with your original or amended tax return.

5. Timeline. The credit is available for homes purchased on or after November 7, 2009 and before May 1, 2010. The federal income credit can be claimed on one’s individual or joint tax return for the purchase of any single-family home (newly-constructed or resale, single-family detached, townhomes or condominiums) between the dates of November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Home purchases subject to a binding sales contract signed before May 1, 2010 will also qualify for the tax credit as long as closing occurs by June 30, 2010.

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