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IRS Patrol: Home Buyer Credit – Closing Deadline Extended

Well, I’m a bit late in my reporting of this extension.  Sorry about that.  We’ve just returned from a really great vacation visiting the grand-baby.

So here it is:

The deadline for the completion of qualifying First-Time Homebuyer Credit purchases has been extended. Taxpayers who entered into a binding contract before the end of April now have until September 30, 2010 to close on the home.

The Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010, enacted on July 2, 2010, extended the closing deadline from June 30 to Sept. 30 for eligible homebuyers who entered into a binding purchase contract on or before April 30 to close on the purchase of the home on or before June 30, 2010.

Here are five facts from the IRS about the First-Time Homebuyer Credit and how to claim it.

  1. If you entered into a binding contract on or before April 30, 2010  to buy a principal residence located in the United States you must close on the home on or before September 30, 2010.
  2. To be considered a first-time homebuyer, you and your spouse – if you are married – must not have jointly or separately owned another principal residence during the three years prior to the date of purchase.
  3. To be considered a long-time resident homebuyer, your settlement date must be after November 6, 2009 and you and your spouse – if you are married – must have lived in the same principal residence for any consecutive five-year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased.
  4. The maximum credit for a first-time homebuyer is $8,000. The maximum credit for a long-time resident homebuyer is $6,500.
  5. To claim the credit you must file a paper return and attach Form 5405, First Time Homebuyer Credit, along with all required documentation, including a copy of the binding contract. New homebuyers must attach a copy of the properly executed settlement statement used to complete the purchase. Long-time residents are encouraged to attach documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period such as Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.

For more information about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and the documentation requirements, visit IRS.gov/recovery.

IRS Presents: Homebuyer Credit Documentation Facts

Stacie says:  Unless you have lived under a rock for the last few months, you know that last year there were issues with taxpayers fraudulently claiming the homebuyers credit.  As a result, the IRS has some new requirements.  Check out this information on what you should attach to your tax return if you are claiming this credit.

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Claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit on your 2009 tax return might mean a larger refund but it can seem complex. Are you confused about the documentation requirements? The IRS recognizes that the settlement documents can vary from location to location, so here are five tips to clarify the documentation requirements.

  1. Settlement Statement: Purchasers of conventional homes must attach a copy of Form HUD-1 or other properly executed Settlement Statement.
  2. Properly Executed Settle Statement: Generally, a properly executed settlement statement shows all parties’ names and signatures, property address, sales price and date of purchase. However, settlement documents, including the Form HUD-1, can vary from one location to another and may not include the signatures of both the buyer and seller. In areas where signatures are not required on the settlement document, the IRS encourages buyers to sign the settlement statement when they file their tax return — even in cases where the settlement form does not include a signature line.
  3. Retail Sales Contract: Purchasers of mobile homes who are unable to get a settlement statement must attach a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties’ names and signatures, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.
  4. Certificate of Occupancy: For a newly constructed home, where a settlement statement is not available, attach a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.
  5. Long-Time Residents: If you are a long-time resident claiming the credit, the IRS recommends that you also attach documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period such as Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or substitute mortgage interest statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.

For more information about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and the documentation requirements, visit IRS.gov/recovery.

Links:

YouTube Videos:

IRS Presents: Seven Important Facts about Claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Credit

If you purchased a home in 2009 or early 2010, you may be eligible to claim the First-Time Homebuyer Credit, whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a long-time resident purchasing a new home.

Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about claiming the credit:

  1. You must buy – or enter into a binding contract to buy – a principal residence located in the United States on or before April 30, 2010. If you enter into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, you must close on the home on or before June 30, 2010.
  2. To be considered a first-time homebuyer, you and your spouse – if you are married – must not have jointly or separately owned another principal residence during the three years prior to the date of purchase.
  3. To be considered a long-time resident homebuyer you and your spouse – if you are married – must have lived in the same principal residence for any consecutive five-year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased. Additionally, your settlement date must be after November 6, 2009.
  4. The maximum credit for a first-time homebuyer is $8,000. The maximum credit for a long-time resident homebuyer is $6,500.
  5. You must file a paper return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit with additional documents to verify the purchase. Therefore, if you claim the credit you will not be able to file electronically.
  6. New homebuyers must attach a copy of a properly executed settlement statement used to complete such purchase. Buyers of a newly constructed home, where a settlement statement is not available, must attach a copy of the dated certificate of occupancy. Mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement must attach a copy of the retail sales contract.
  7. If you are a long-time resident claiming the credit, the IRS recommends that you also attach any documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period, including Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or substitute mortgage interest statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.

For more information about these rules including details about documentation and other eligibility requirements visit IRS.gov/recovery.

Links:

YouTube Video:

IRS Patrol: New Homebuyer Credit Form Released; Taxpayers Reminded to Attach Settlement Statement and Other Key Documents Form 5405

New Homebuyer Credit – Claim It: English | Spanish
New Homebuyer Credit – Military: English
For these and other videos: YouTube/IRSVideos

WASHINGTON — [Last week] The Internal Revenue Service [] released the new form that eligible homebuyers need to claim the first-time homebuyer credit this tax season and announced processing of those tax returns will begin in mid-February. The IRS also announced new documentation requirements to deter fraud related to the first-time homebuyer credit.

The new form and instructions follow major changes in November to the homebuyer credit by the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009. The new law extended the credit to a broader range of home purchasers and added new documentation requirements to deter fraud and ensure taxpayers properly claim the credit.

With the release of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit, and the related instructions, eligible homebuyers can now start to file their 2009 tax returns. Taxpayers claiming the homebuyer credit must file a paper tax return because of the added documentation requirements.

The IRS expects to start processing 2009 tax returns claiming the homebuyer credit in mid-February after it completes the updating and testing of systems to meet the law’s new requirements. The updates allow the IRS to put in place critical systemic checks to deter fraud related to the homebuyer credit.

Some of these early taxpayers claiming the homebuyer credit may see tax refunds take an additional two to three weeks.

In addition to filling out a Form 5405, all eligible homebuyers must include with their 2009 tax returns one of the following documents in order to receive the credit:

  • A copy of the settlement statement showing all parties’ names and signatures, property address, sales price, and date of purchase. Normally, this is the properly executed Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement.
  • For mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement, a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties’ names and signatures, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.
  • For a newly constructed home where a settlement statement is not available, a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.

In addition, the new law allows a long-time resident of the same main home to claim the homebuyer credit if they purchase a new principal residence. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. The IRS has stepped up compliance checks involving the homebuyer credit, and it encouraged homebuyers claiming this part of the credit to avoid refund delays by attaching documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period:

  • Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,
  • Property tax records or
  • Homeowner’s insurance records.

The IRS also reminded homebuyers that the new documentation requirements mean that taxpayers claiming the credit cannot file electronically and must file paper returns. Taxpayers can still use IRS Free File to prepare their returns, but the returns must be printed out and sent to the IRS, along with all required documentation.

Normally, it takes about four to eight weeks to get a refund claimed on a complete and accurate paper return where all required documents are attached. For those homebuyers filing early, the IRS expects the first refunds based on the homebuyer credit will be issued toward the end of March.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to use direct deposit to speed their refund. In addition, taxpayers can use Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov to track the status of their refund.

More details on claiming the credit can be found in the instructions to Form 5405, as well as on the First-Time Homebuyer Credit page on IRS.gov.

More on This Topic From the IRS – Yet Again -10 Important Facts about the Extended First-Time Homebuyer Credit

[Stacie says: Boy the IRS is really bombarding us with the rules on the extended homebuyers credit. Do you think they are worried that taxpayers are going to get it wrong – again?]

If you are in the market for a new home, you may still be able to claim the First-Time Homebuyer Credit. Congress recently passed The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act Of 2009, extending the First-Time Homebuyer Credit and expanding who qualifies.

Here are the top 10 things the IRS wants you to know about the expanded credit and the qualifications you must meet in order to qualify for it.
You must buy – or enter into a binding contract to buy a principal residence – on or before April 30, 2010.

If you enter into a binding contract by April 30, 2010 you must close on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

For qualifying purchases in 2010, you will have the option of claiming the credit on either your 2009 or 2010 return.

A long-time resident of the same home can now qualify for a reduced credit. You can qualify for the credit if you’ve lived in the same principal residence for any five-consecutive year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased and the settlement date is after November 6, 2009.

The maximum credit for long-time residents is $6,500. However, married individuals filing separately are limited to $3,250.

People with higher incomes can now qualify for the credit. The new law raises the income limits for homes purchased after November 6, 2009. The full credit is available to taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes up to $125,000, or $225,000 for joint filers.

The IRS will issue a December 2009 revision of Form 5405 to claim this credit. The December 2009 form must be used for homes purchased after November 6, 2009 – whether the credit is claimed for 2008 or for 2009 – and for all home purchases that are claimed on 2009 returns.
No credit is available if the purchase price of the home exceeds $800,000.

The purchaser must be at least 18 years old on the date of purchase. For a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age requirement.

A dependent is not eligible to claim the credit.

For more information about the expanded First-Time Home Buyer Credit, visit IRS.gov/recovery.

Links:
First-Time Homebuyer Credit
IR-2009-108, First-Time Homebuyer Credit Extended to April 30, 2010; Some Current

Homeowners Now Also Qualify

YouTube Videos:
Recovery: New Homebuyer Credit – November 2009
Consejo Tributario: Consejos Tributarios de Fin de Año Noviembre 2009

Some More Info on The Homebuyer Credit

[Stacie says: although I did summarize this information in earlier posts here, this is a good breakdown of the Homebuyers Credit.]

WASHINGTON — A new law that went into effect Nov. 6 extends the first-time homebuyer credit five months and expands the eligibility requirements for purchasers.

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extends the deadline for qualifying home purchases from Nov. 30, 2009, to April 30, 2010. Additionally, if a buyer enters into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, the buyer has until June 30, 2010, to settle on the purchase.

The maximum credit amount remains at $8,000 for a first-time homebuyer –– that is, a buyer who has not owned a primary residence during the three years up to the date of purchase.
But the new law also provides a “long-time resident” credit of up to $6,500 to others who do not qualify as “first-time homebuyers.” To qualify this way, a buyer must have owned and used the same home as a principal or primary residence for at least five consecutive years of the eight-year period ending on the date of purchase of a new home as a primary residence.

For all qualifying purchases in 2010, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 tax returns.

A new version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, will be available in the next few weeks. A taxpayer who purchases a home after Nov. 6 must use this new version of the form to claim the credit. Likewise, taxpayers claiming the credit on their 2009 returns, no matter when the house was purchased, must also use the new version of Form 5405. Taxpayers who claim the credit on their 2009 tax return will not be able to file electronically but instead will need to file a paper return.

A taxpayer who purchased a home on or before Nov. 6 and chooses to claim the credit on an original or amended 2008 return may continue to use the current version of Form 5405.

Income Limits Rise

The new law raises the income limits for people who purchase homes after Nov. 6. The full credit will be available to taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes (MAGI) up to $125,000, or $225,000 for joint filers. Those with MAGI between $125,000 and $145,000, or $225,000 and $245,000 for joint filers, are eligible for a reduced credit. Those with higher incomes do not qualify.

For homes purchased prior to Nov. 7, 2009, existing MAGI limits remain in place. The full credit is available to taxpayers with MAGI up to $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers. Those with MAGI between $75,000 and $95,000, or $150,000 and $170,000 for joint filers, are eligible for a reduced credit. Those with higher incomes do not qualify.

New Requirements

Several new restrictions on purchases that occur after Nov. 6 go into effect with the new law:

    Dependents are not eligible to claim the credit.No credit is available if the purchase price of a home is more than $800,000.A purchaser must be at least 18 years of age on the date of purchase.

For Members of the Military

Members of the Armed Forces and certain federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and still qualify for the credit. An eligible taxpayer must buy or enter into a binding contract to buy a home by April 30, 2011, and settle on the purchase by June 30, 2011.

For more details on the credit, visit the First-Time Homebuyer Credit page on IRS.gov.

Related Items:
IRS YouTube Videos:
New Homebuyer Credit
Consejo Tributario: Consejos Tributarios de Fin de Año

More on the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009

Here is an expanded outline on how the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 may affect some businesses (this outline does not include all the provisions of the act). Click here to read the bill as passed by both the House and the Senate.

  1. Allow for a 5 year carryback of 2009 NOLs
    1.  
        i. Small business will be exempt from the 1 election rule. Thus small business claiming the 5 year carryback for 2008 losses can still elect 5 year carryback for 2009 losses
    2. a. Removes the small business requirement
      b. Offset 50% of taxable income in 5th prior year
      c. Offset 100% of taxable income in 4th thru 1st prior years
      d. Only 1 election allowed (either for fiscal years beginning in 2008 or fiscal years beginning in 2009)

  2. Homebuyer credit
    1.  
        i. If using binding contract rule – must close by July 1, 2010
    2. a. Extended for purchases (binding contracts entered into by) through 4/30/2010b. Recapture waived for 2009 purchases
      c. Credit = lesser of 10% of purchase price or $8,000.
      d. Credit phases out for modified agi between $125k and $145k ($225k and $245k for married joint returns.)
      e. Can elect to treat 2009 purchases as if made in 2008 and claim credit on 2008 return
      f. Need not be a new buyer

        i. Existing homeowners living in current residence for at least 5 consecutive years during 8 year period ending on date of purchase are eligible for credit
        ii. Must live in new home for at least 3 years
        iii. Credit reduced to $6,500

      g. Limitations

        i. Purchase price must be < $800,000 ii. Skip buying a house for the kids – no credit allowed if can be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer iii. No credit for taxpayers under 18 1. Emancipated minors out of luck unless one is at least 18

      h. MUST attach copy of settlement statement to the return

  3. Penalty for failure to file partnership or s corp returns increased to $195 per partner/shareholder per month beginning with 2010 returns.
  4. Electronic filing mandate
      a. Must use efile if preparing at least 10 individual income tax returns
      b. Individual income tax returns means returns for individuals, estates & trusts
  5. Large Corporation estimated tax payments increased to 100.58% for payments due in July, August or Sept.
      a. Large corporation is a corporation with at least $1b in assets at the end of the preceding tax year.

What’s Happening With The Homebuyers Credit – Well I’m Going to Tell Ya

By Stacie Clifford Kitts

The House has voted to extend the Homebuyers credit as part of H.R.3548 Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009

What’s new for the credit? Well if President Obama signs the bill here is a quick outline of what we get: (The entire section of the bill that relates to the Homebuyers credit is listed below my outline)

  • The applicable period is extended until April 30, 2010. (see binding contract rules below)
  • If you are on qualified official extended duty outside the US the applicable period is extended until April 30, 2011. (Members of the military serving outside the US for at least 90 days)(see also binding contract rules below)
  • There is a new election to treat a purchase after December 31, 2008 as if it happened at the end of the preceding year. (see details below)
  • There is an enhanced definition of a first time homebuyer (see special rule for Long-Time residents below – if you owned your former home for at least 5 consecutive of the 8 prior years you are eligible for a credit up to $6,500)
  • There has been a modification of dollar and income limits. No credit is allowed if the house cost is more than $800,000. The income phase out is $125,000 for single tax payers and $225,000 for married taxpayers. (See below for more dollar limits)
  • A taxpayer must be at least 18 years old to claim the credit
  • A settlement statement must be attached to the tax return when claiming the credit
  • Restriction on married individuals acquiring a residence from a family member or spouse from claiming the credit
  • If a credit is incorrectly claimed on a tax return it will be treated as a mathematical or clerical error. I guess this means they aren’t going to put you in jail if you screw it up.

    H.R.3548 click here to read the entire bill

SEC. 11. EXTENSION AND MODIFICATION OF FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT.
(a) Extension of Application Period-
(1) IN GENERAL- Subsection (h) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended–
(A) by striking `December 1, 2009′ and inserting `May 1, 2010′,
(B) by striking `Section- This section’ and inserting `Section-
`(1) IN GENERAL- This section’, and
(C) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(2) EXCEPTION IN CASE OF BINDING CONTRACT- In the case of any taxpayer who enters into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010, to close on the purchase of a principal residence before July 1, 2010, paragraph (1) shall be applied by substituting `July 1, 2010′ for `May 1, 2010′.’.
(2) WAIVER OF RECAPTURE-
(A) IN GENERAL- Subparagraph (D) of section 36(f)(4) of such Code is amended by striking `, and before December 1, 2009′.
(B) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The heading of such subparagraph (D) is amended by inserting `AND 2010′ after `2009′.
(3) ELECTION TO TREAT PURCHASE IN PRIOR YEAR- Subsection (g) of section 36 of such Code is amended to read as follows:
`(g) Election To Treat Purchase in Prior Year- In the case of a purchase of a principal residence after December 31, 2008, a taxpayer may elect to treat such purchase as made on December 31 of the calendar year preceding such purchase for purposes of this section (other than subsections (c), (f)(4)(D), and (h)).’.
(b) Special Rule for Long-time Residents of Same Principal Residence- Subsection (c) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(6) EXCEPTION FOR LONG-TIME RESIDENTS OF SAME PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE- In the case of an individual (and, if married, such individual’s spouse) who has owned and used the same residence as such individual’s principal residence for any 5-consecutive-year period during the 8-year period ending on the date of the purchase of a subsequent principal residence, such individual shall be treated as a first-time homebuyer for purposes of this section with respect to the purchase of such subsequent residence.’.
(c) Modification of Dollar and Income Limitations-
(1) DOLLAR LIMITATION- Subsection (b)(1) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
`(D) SPECIAL RULE FOR LONG-TIME RESIDENTS OF SAME PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE- In the case of a taxpayer to whom a credit under subsection (a) is allowed by reason of subsection (c)(6), subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) shall be applied by substituting `$6,500′ for `$8,000′ and `$3,250′ for `$4,000′.’.
(2) INCOME LIMITATION- Subsection (b)(2)(A)(i)(II) of section 36 of such Code is amended by striking `$75,000 ($150,000′ and inserting `$125,000 ($225,000′.
(d) Limitation on Purchase Price of Residence- Subsection (b) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(3) LIMITATION BASED ON PURCHASE PRICE- No credit shall be allowed under subsection (a) for the purchase of any residence if the purchase price of such residence exceeds $800,000.’.
(e) Waiver of Recapture of First-time Homebuyer Credit for Individuals on Qualified Official Extended Duty- Paragraph (4) of section 36(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
`(E) SPECIAL RULE FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES, ETC-
`(i) IN GENERAL- In the case of the disposition of a principal residence by an individual (or a cessation referred to in paragraph (2)) after December 31, 2008, in connection with Government orders received by such individual, or such individual’s spouse, for qualified official extended duty service–
`(I) paragraph (2) and subsection (d)(2) shall not apply to such disposition (or cessation), and
`(II) if such residence was acquired before January 1, 2009, paragraph (1) shall not apply to the taxable year in which such disposition (or cessation) occurs or any subsequent taxable year.
`(ii) QUALIFIED OFFICIAL EXTENDED DUTY SERVICE- For purposes of this section, the term `qualified official extended duty service’ means service on qualified official extended duty as–
`(I) a member of the uniformed services,
`(II) a member of the Foreign Service of the United States, or
`(III) an employee of the intelligence community.
`(iii) DEFINITIONS- Any term used in this subparagraph which is also used in paragraph (9) of section 121(d) shall have the same meaning as when used in such paragraph.’.
(f) Extension of First-time Homebuyer Credit for Individuals on Qualified Official Extended Duty Outside the United States-
(1) IN GENERAL- Subsection (h) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by subsection (a), is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(3) SPECIAL RULE FOR INDIVIDUALS ON QUALIFIED OFFICIAL EXTENDED DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES- In the case of any individual who serves on qualified official extended duty service (as defined in section 121(d)(9)(C)(i)) outside the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010, and, if married, such individual’s spouse–
`(A) paragraphs (1) and (2) shall each be applied by substituting `May 1, 2011′ for `May 1, 2010′, and
`(B) paragraph (2) shall be applied by substituting `July 1, 2011′ for `July 1, 2010′.’.
(g) Dependents Ineligible for Credit- Subsection (d) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking `or’ at the end of paragraph (1), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (2) and inserting `, or’, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(3) a deduction under section 151 with respect to such taxpayer is allowable to another taxpayer for such taxable year.’.
(h) IRS Mathematical Error Authority- Paragraph (2) of section 6213(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended–
(1) by striking `and’ at the end of subparagraph (M),
(2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (N) and inserting `, and’, and
(3) by inserting after subparagraph (N) the following new subparagraph:
`(O) an omission of any increase required under section 36(f) with respect to the recapture of a credit allowed under section 36.’.
(i) Coordination With First-time Homebuyer Credit for District of Columbia- Paragraph (4) of section 1400C(e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking `and before December 1, 2009,’.
(j) Effective Dates-
(1) IN GENERAL- The amendments made by subsections (b), (c), (d), and (g) shall apply to residences purchased after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) EXTENSIONS- The amendments made by subsections (a), (f), and (i) shall apply to residences purchased after November 30, 2009.
(3) WAIVER OF RECAPTURE- The amendment made by subsection (e) shall apply to dispositions and cessations after December 31, 2008.
(4) MATHEMATICAL ERROR AUTHORITY- The amendments made by subsection (h) shall apply to returns for taxable years ending on or after April 9, 2008.
SEC. 12. PROVISIONS TO ENHANCE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT.
(a) Age Limitation-
(1) IN GENERAL- Subsection (b) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(4) AGE LIMITATION- No credit shall be allowed under subsection (a) with respect to the purchase of any residence unless the taxpayer has attained age 18 as of the date of such purchase. In the case of any taxpayer who is married (within the meaning of section 7703), the taxpayer shall be treated as meeting the age requirement of the preceding sentence if the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse meets such age requirement.’.
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Subsection (g) of section 36 of such Code, as amended by this Act, is amended by inserting `(b)(4),’ before `(c)’.
(b) Documentation Requirement- Subsection (d) of section 36 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by striking `or’ at the end of paragraph (2), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (3) and inserting `, or’, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(4) the taxpayer fails to attach to the return of tax for such taxable year a properly executed copy of the settlement statement used to complete such purchase.’.
(c) Restriction on Married Individual Acquiring Residence From Family of Spouse- Clause (i) of section 36(c)(3)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting `(or, if married, such individual’s spouse)’ after `person acquiring such property’.
(d) Certain Errors With Respect to the First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit Treated as Mathematical or Clerical Errors- Paragraph (2) of section 6213(g) the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended by this Act, is amended by striking `and’ at the end of subparagraph (N), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (O) and inserting `, and’, and by inserting after subparagraph (O) the following new subparagraph:
`(P) an entry on a return claiming the credit under section 36 if–
`(i) the Secretary obtains information from the person issuing the TIN of the taxpayer that indicates that the taxpayer does not meet the age requirement of section 36(b)(4),
`(ii) information provided to the Secretary by the taxpayer on an income tax return for at least one of the 2 preceding taxable years is inconsistent with eligibility for such credit, or
`(iii) the taxpayer fails to attach to the return the form described in section 36(d)(4).’.
(e) Effective Date-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the amendments made by this section shall apply to purchases after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENT- The amendments made by subsection (b) shall apply to returns for taxable years ending after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(3) TREATMENT AS MATHEMATICAL AND CLERICAL ERRORS- The amendments made by subsection (d) shall apply to returns for taxable years ending on or after April 9, 2008.

Tax Credits and Incentives You Should Know About

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, people purchasing new cars, those interested in making their homes more energy efficient, and parents and students paying for college.

Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about ARRA tax incentives for individuals:

First-Time Homebuyer Credit Taxpayers who haven’t owned a principal residence during the past three years prior to the purchase date of a home before Dec. 1 of this year may be eligible to receive a credit of up to $8,000 on an original or amended 2008 tax return. They can also wait and claim the credit on their 2009 return.

New Vehicle Purchase Incentive Qualifying taxpayers can deduct the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. The deduction per vehicle is limited to the tax on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of each qualifying vehicle and phases out for taxpayers at higher income levels.

Making Work Pay and Withholding The Making Work Pay Credit lowered employees’ tax withholding rates this year and has already put more money into the pockets of wage earners. Self-employed individuals will have an opportunity to claim this credit when they file their 2009 return. Taxpayers who fall into any of the following groups should review their tax withholding rates to ensure enough tax is currently being withheld: multiple job holders, families in which both spouses work, workers who can be claimed as dependents by other taxpayers, workers without a valid social security number, some social security recipients who work and pensioners. Failure to adjust your withholding in these situations could result in potentially smaller refunds or in limited instances may cause you to owe tax rather than receive a refund next year.

Tax Credit for First Four Years of College The American Opportunity Credit can help parents and students pay part of the cost of the first four years of college. The new credit modifies the existing Hope Credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

Certain Computer Technology Purchases Allowed for 529 Plans ARRA adds computer technology to the list of college expenses that can be paid for by a qualified tuition program, commonly referred to as a 529 plan. For 2009 and 2010, the law expands the definition of qualified higher education expenses to include expenses for computer technology and equipment or Internet access and related services.

Energy-Efficient Home Improvements The credit for nonbusiness energy-efficient improvements is increased for homeowners who make qualified improvements to existing homes. Qualifying improvements include the addition of insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems.

For more information on this and other key tax provisions of the Recovery Act, visit the official IRS Website at IRS.gov/Recovery.

Links:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Information Center
YouTube Videos:
First-Time Homebuyer: English Spanish ASL
Check Your Withholding; Making Work Pay: English ASL
Home Energy Credit: English ASL
Education Credits (Parents): English ASL
General Recovery (ARRA) Message: English Spanish ASL

Tax Break Expiration Reminder – Be Sure to Take Advantage

WASHINGTON — With 2009 now half over, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to take advantage of the numerous tax breaks made available earlier this year in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The recovery law provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, people purchasing new cars, those interested in making their homes more energy efficient and parents and students paying for college. But all of these incentives have expiration dates so taxpayers should take advantage of them while they can.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit
The Recovery Act extended and expanded the first-time homebuyer tax credit for 2009.

Taxpayers who didn’t own a principal residence during the past three years and purchase a home this year before Dec. 1 can receive a credit of up to $8,000 on either an original or amended 2008 tax return, or a 2009 return. But the purchase must close before Dec. 1, 2009, and an eligible taxpayer cannot claim the credit until after the closing date. This credit phases out at higher income levels, and different rules apply to home purchases made in 2008.

New Vehicle Purchase Incentive
ARRA also provides a tax break to taxpayers who make qualified new vehicle purchases after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010.

Qualifying taxpayers can deduct the state and local sales and excise taxes paid on the purchase of new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. There is no limit on the number of vehicles that may be purchased, and you may claim the deduction for taxes paid on multiple purchases. But the deduction per vehicle is limited to the tax on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of each qualifying vehicle and phases out for taxpayers at higher income levels. This deduction is available regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions on Schedule A.

Phase out: The deduction is phased out for joint filers with modified adjusted gross income between $250,000 and $260,000 and other taxpayers with modified AGI between $125,000 and $135,000. If you are married and make between $250,000 and $260,000 you will get a portion of the credit. But if you make over $260,000 you will not get any credit. If you are not married and you make between $125,000 and $135,000 you will get a portion of the credit. If you make over 135,000 you will not get a credit.

Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
The Recovery Act also encourages homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. The credit for nonbusiness energy property is increased for homeowners who make qualified energy-efficient improvements to existing homes. The law increases the rate to 30 percent of the cost of all qualifying improvements and raises the maximum credit limit to a total of $1,500 for improvements placed in service in 2009 and 2010.

Qualifying improvements include the addition of insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems.

Tax Credit for First Four Years of College
The American opportunity credit is designed to help parents and students pay part of the cost of the first four years of college. The new credit modifies the existing Hope credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. Tuition, related fees, books and other required course materials generally qualify. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

Certain Computer Technology Purchases Allowed for 529 Plans
ARRA adds computer technology to the list of college expenses (tuition, books, etc.) that can be paid for by a qualified tuition program (QTP), commonly referred to as a 529 plan. For 2009 and 2010, the law expands the definition of qualified higher education expenses to include expenses for computer technology and equipment or Internet access and related services to be used by the designated beneficiary of the QTP while enrolled at an eligible educational institution. Software designed for sports, games or hobbies does not qualify, unless it is predominantly educational in nature.

Making Work Pay and Withholding
The Making Work Pay Credit lowered tax withholding rates this year for 120 million American households. However, particular taxpayers who fall into any of the following groups should review their tax withholding rates to ensure enough tax is withheld, including multiple job holders, families in which both spouses work, workers who can be claimed as dependents by other taxpayers and pensioners. Failure to adjust your withholding could result in potentially smaller refunds or in limited instances may cause you to owe tax rather than receive a refund next year. So far in 2009, the average refund amount is $2,675, and 79 percent of all returns received a refund.

Related Information
For more on the Recovery provisions that may apply to individual taxpayers see the ARRA page on IRS.gov.

Audio Files for Podcast
Tax Breaks for 2009 & 2010: In English and in Spanish

Videos
First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit
Home Energy Credit
Education Credits – Parents
Making Work Pay Credit
Unemployment Compensation

Seven Things You Should Know When Selling Your Home

People who sell their home may be able to exclude the gain from their income. Here are seven things every homeowner should know if they sold, or plan to sell their house.

Amount of exclusion. When you have gain from the sale of your home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income. For most taxpayers filing a joint return, the exclusion amount is $500,000.

Ownership test. To claim the exclusion you must have owned the home for at least two years during the five year period ending on the date of the sale.

Use test. You also must have lived in the house and used it as your main home for at least two years during the five year period ending on the date of the sale.

When not to report. If you are able to exclude all of the gain from the sale of your home, you do not need to report the sale on your federal income tax return.

Reporting taxable gain. If you have gain which cannot be excluded, it is taxable and must be reported on your tax return using Schedule D.

Deducting a loss. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your home.

Rules for multiple homes. If you have more than one home, you may only exclude gain from the sale of your main home and must pay tax on the gain resulting from the sale of any other home. Your main home is generally the one you live in most of the time.

For more information see IRS Publication 523, Selling Your Home, available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:
Publication 523, Selling Your Home (PDF 194K)
Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses (PDF 136K)
Tax Topic 701 — Sale of Your Home

First Time Home Buyers New Tax Credit Options

WASHINGTON — As part of the Treasury Department’s consumer outreach effort and with the April 15 individual tax filing deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service today began a concerted effort to educate taxpayers about additional options at their disposal to claim the new $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit for 2009 home purchases. For people who recently purchased a home or are considering buying in the next few months, there are several different ways that they can get this tax credit even if they’ve already filed their tax return.
The Treasury Department encourages taxpayers to explore these options to maximize their credit and get their money back as fast as possible.
“The new credit can get money in the pockets of first-time homebuyers quickly,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “For people who recently purchased a home or are considering buying in the next few months, there are several different ways that they can get this tax credit even if they’ve already filed their tax return.”
First-time homebuyers represent a significant portion of existing single-family home sales. The expansion in the first-time homebuyer credit will make it easier for first-time homebuyers to enter the housing market this year.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, qualifying taxpayers who purchase a home before Dec. 1 receive up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately. People can claim the credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year.
The filing options to consider are:
File an extension — Taxpayers who haven’t yet filed their 2008 returns but are buying a home soon can request a six-month extension to October 15. This step would be faster than waiting until next year to claim it on the 2009 tax return. Even with an extension, taxpayers could still file electronically, receiving their refund in as few as 10 days with direct deposit.
File now, amend later — Taxpayers due a sizable refund for their 2008 tax return but who also are considering buying a house in the next few months can file their return now and claim the credit later. Taxpayers would file their 2008 tax forms as usual, then follow up with an amended return later this year to claim the homebuyer credit.
Amend the 2008 tax return — Taxpayers buying a home in the near future who have already filed their 2008 tax return can consider filing an amended tax return. The amended tax return will allow them to claim the homebuyer credit on the 2008 return without waiting until next year to claim it on the 2009 return.
Claim the credit in 2009 rather than 2008 — For some taxpayers, it may make more financial sense to wait and claim the homebuyer credit next year when they file the 2009 tax return rather than claiming it now on the 2008 tax return. This could benefit taxpayers who might qualify for a higher credit on the 2009 tax return. This could include people who have less income in 2009 than 2008 because of factors such as a job loss or drop in investment income.
The IRS reminds taxpayers the amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is more than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers. Taxpayers can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately.
IRS.gov provides more information, including guidance for people who bought their first homes in 2008. To learn more about the overall implementation of the Recovery Act, visit http://www.recovery.gov/.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit -Update

Reminder from the IRS.

First-time homebuyers should begin planning now to take advantage of a new tax credit. Available for a limited time, the credit:

Applies to home purchases after April 8, 2008, and before July 1, 2009.

Reduces a taxpayer’s tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar.

Is fully refundable, meaning that the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax that they owe.

The credit operates much like an interest-free loan because it must be repaid in equal installments over a 15-year period. Taxpayers will claim the credit on new IRS Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit.

Only the purchase of a main home located in the United States qualifies. Vacation homes and rental property are not eligible. For a home that you construct, the purchase date is the first date you occupy the home.

Taxpayers who owned a main home at any time during the three years prior to the date of purchase are not eligible for the credit. This means that first-time homebuyers and those who have not owned a home in the three years prior to a purchase can qualify for the credit.

If you make an eligible purchase in 2008, you claim the first-time homebuyer credit on your 2008 tax return. If you make an eligible purchase in 2009, you can choose to claim the credit on either your original or amended 2008 return, or on your 2009 return.

The credit is 10 percent of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $7,500 for either a single taxpayer or a married couple filing jointly. The limit is $3,750 for a married person filing a separate return. In most cases, the maximum credit will be available for homes costing $75,000 or more. The credit normally must be repaid over a 15-year period starting the second year after the year the credit is claimed.

The credit is reduced or eliminated for higher-income taxpayers. The credit is phased out based on your modified adjusted gross income. In general, for a married couple filing a joint return the phase-out begins at $150,000 and is completely phased out at $170,000. For other taxpayers, the phase-out range is between $75,000 and $95,000.

Not everyone will qualify for the credit. There are other rules that may impact your eligibility and decision to claim the First-Time Homebuyer Credit. Get all the information at IRS.gov.

Notice 2009-12 explains how to allocate the first-time homebuyer credit under section 36 of the Code between unmarried co-purchasers of a principal residence.
Notice 2009-12 will appear in IRB2009-6, dated February 9, 2009.

Are You a First Time Home buyer?

By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA

If you are a first time homebuyer – that is- if you are a taxpayer who had no ownership interest in a principal residence in the United States for the three year period prior to the purchase of your principal residence and you purchased your residence after April 8, 2008 and before July 1, 2009, then you are entitled to a refundable tax credit equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of your residence not to exceed a total credit amount of $7,500. For married individuals filing separately, the total credit amount cannot exceed $3,750.

However, based on your income level there are limitations on the amount of the credit that can be taken. During the year of purchase, the credit begins to phase out for married couples filing jointly with modified adjusted gross income (AGI) of $150,000 and is completely phased out at $170,000. Simply put, if you are married filing jointly and your AGI is over $170,000 you will not receive a tax credit. If your income is over $150,000 but less than $170,000 the credit is reduced for every dollar of AGI over $150,000 based on a formula specified for the phase out. For single taxpayers the phase out is between $75,000 and $95,000.

If the house ceases to be the taxpayers principal residence for any reason including disposition of the residence, during the tax year that the credit is claimed, then the IRS will disallow the credit.
The credit is meant to be a loan and not a permanent reduction of income tax. Taxpayers must repay the loan over a 15 year period – interest free. However, if the house ceases to be the taxpayer’s principal residence, any unpaid balance must be recaptured (paid back) in the year the residence is sold or no longer is the taxpayer’s principal residence. The amount of the credit recapture (the amount that must be paid back) can not exceed the amount of the gain from the sale of the residence to an unrelated person.

The credit must be claimed on the taxpayers 2008 or 2009 tax return. Taxpayers should consider the impact of the credit and adjust wage withholding or estimated tax payments if appropriate.
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