The government’s First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit program expires November 30, 2009 — a scant 60 days from today.
Considering it can take up to 60 days to close on a home, first-time buyers have 2 weeks at most to find a home.
Buyers not under contract by October 15 have little chance of meeting the November 30 deadline and, therefore, little chance of claiming the tax credit.
This is especially true for purchases involving short sales and foreclosures.
Congress passed the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program as part of the 2009 economic stimulus plan. IRS Form 5405 outlines the program criteria and includes the following stipulations:
- Buyer may not have owned a “main home” in the past 36 months
- The home may not be purchased from a parent, spouse, or child
- Adjusted gross income for the household must be below $95,000 for single tax filers and $170,000 for joint tax filers
The credit is capped at $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less. And don’t forget — the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit is a true tax credit. It’s not a deduction.
This means that a tax filer who claims the full $8,000 and whose “normal” tax liability is $5,000 would receive $3,000 cash from the US Treasury when their tax return is processed by the IRS.
If you can’t close by November 30, 2009, though, you can’t claim the credit.
The clock is ticking. If you’re planning to use the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, the time to act is now.