RISMEDIA, April 4, 2009-With the deadline for filing federal tax returns fast approaching, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has made information available for qualified home buyers about how and when to claim the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.
The basic eligibility requirements for the credit are: the home must have been purchased on or after Jan. 1 and before Dec. 1, 2009; the buyer may not have owned a home in the three years prior to the purchase; and the buyer must have a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) less than $95,000 for single tax payers or $170,000 for married filers.
Two factors affect the amount of credit qualified buyers can claim: it can only be equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to a maximum of $8,000; and it is reduced for buyers with a MAGI between $75,000 for single taxpayers ($150,000 for married filers) and the upper income limit.
To claim the credit, buyers must complete IRS Form 5405 to calculate the amount of the tax credit, and enter it on line 69 of the IRS 1040 income tax return.
Qualified buyers have several options for when to claim the tax credit, but they can claim it only after the purchase of the home is complete, which in most cases happens when the title of the property transfers.
Buyers who complete their home purchase prior to April 15, 2009, can claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. If the qualifying home purchase will be completed shortly after April 15, buyers can file an extension for tax year 2008 and claim the credit when they file their 2008 return, which must be done by Oct. 15. Or home buyers can claim a qualified purchase on their 2009 income tax return, which they will file in 2010.
Some things qualified buyers should take into consideration when deciding whether to claim the credit on their 2008 or 2009 returns include how quickly they need the refund and their expected income for 2009. There are no restrictions on how home buyers use the money, but they may want it quickly to pay for expenses related to the home purchase such as moving costs, furniture or remodeling. If homeowners expect their income to change next year due to factors such as retirement or a salary bonus, they should calculate how the income limits will affect their credit amount.
This information is provided to familiarize consumers with the first-time home buyer tax credit, and is not intended to serve as tax advice or as a legal opinion on tax status or consequences. Individual tax considerations will vary, and it is recommended that a tax professional be consulted to determine how this information applies to particular circumstances.