The recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or ARRA, commonly referred to as “The Stimulus Bill,” created a tax credit for first time Home Buyers. Most first time home buyers wonder what the specific qualifications are for this $8,000 tax credit. Below are six steps to determining your eligibility:
1. Who is a First-Time Buyer? The bill defines a first time home buyer as anyone who has not owned a property/home/real estate for the past three (3) years.
2. How does the Tax Credit Work? The tax credit is received when you file your taxes the year after your home/real estate purchase. In other words, the first time home buyer does not receive any cash at the time escrow closes, nor does the 1st time home buyer receive any assistance with closing costs through the escrow. Instead it is added to any refund you would be due on your taxes in the year following your home purchase.
3. Can I Receive theTax Credit of $8,000 Even If I Owe No Taxes?: You, as a first-time home buyer, can still qualify even if you own little or no taxes.
4. Do I Have to Pay Back the $8,000 Tax Credit?: In a previously conceived bill, the first time homebuyer had to repay the $8,000 tax credit. In the current Stimulus Bill, the 1st time home buyer need not repay the $8,000 tax credit as long as the home buyer resides in the property for at least three (3) years.
5. Are There Time Limitations Attached to the $8,000 Tax Credit?: The $8,000 Tax Credit is available to buyers who purchase a property/home/condo/residence between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.
6. Are There Income Limitations Attached to the $8,000 Tax Credit? If you are single, first time home buyers must make less than $75,000 Adjusted Gross Income; if you are married, first time home buyers must earn less than $150,000 combined Adjusted Gross Income. If you earn more than this amount, then the total tax credit is reduced.
In sum, if you are a first time homebuyer and are considering purchasing a home, you may want to take advantage of this tax credit. Home values have declined on average between 25% and 40% from the highs, interest rates are extremely low (hovering around 5%), and the government is giving you an $8,000 tax credit to purchase a home.
Here is A First Time Home Buyer Fact Sheet on the major changes that have occurred as of January 1, 2009.
Here is the IRS Form you will need to complete in order for you to receive the first time homebuyer credit.
Here are some tips from the IRS on First-Time Homebuyer options in order to maximize the new tax credit