There’s just 30 days remaining to use the federal home buyer tax credit.
The credit ranges up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers, and up to $6,500 for existing homeworkers who have lived in their main home for 5 of the last 8 years.
Claiming the federal tax credit is a two-step process. First, you must be under contract for a new home on or before April 30, 2010. Then, you must close on said home on or before June 30, 2010.
There are no exceptions on the dates (except for certain members of the military).
Timeline aside, homebuyers and the subject property must also meet minimum requirements in order to be tax credit-eligible:
- You can’t purchase the home from a parent, spouse, or child
- You can’t purchase the home from an entity in which the seller is a majority owner
- You can’t acquire the home by gift or inheritance
- Each buyer in the purchase must meet eligibility requirements
- The home sale price may not exceed $800,000
- Buyers may not earn more than $125,000 as single-filers; $225,000 as joint-filers
The complete eligibility checklist is published on the IRS website. Or, if you find IRS-speak too difficult, make a phone call to your accountant. Asking a tax professional’s advice on a tax-related matter is never a time-waster.
And lastly, don’t forget that if you’re claiming to federal tax credit for home buyers, it’s a tax credit and not a deduction. This means that a tax filer who qualifies for the full $8,000 and for whom the “normal” federal tax liability is $8,000, will owe no federal taxes in 2010 to the IRS.
If you’re an active buyer , mark your calendar for April 30, 2010. It’s 30 days from now and, as the date gets closer, buyer traffic will increase. The likely result is higher home prices and more difficult negotiations. The best time to act may be today.