The (Not Just) First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, Expanded & Explained
Morgan Hill, CA – December 23, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — After much speculation by the general populace (and the real estate industry) and much consternation by Congress, the much-anticipated extension of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit has been passed.
Passed, not to mention greatly expanded.
Whether you’re in favor of or opposed to the credit, it’s now been made available to a host of Americans not included in the initial offering, so how can you take advantage of it? Let’s break it down, shall we?
The original tax credit, which was a part of the economic stimulus package put into effect in February 2009, was made available to first-time homebuyers (people who hadn’t owned a home for three or more years) and applied to home purchases that closed on or before November 30, 2009. With the passage of the expansion bill into law, that credit has been extended to purchases made by May 1, 2010 and that are closed prior to July 1, 2010 (that means escrow is closed, all papers signed and keys are in-hand on or before June 30th).
For first-time homebuyers, the credit amount, as it was in the original plan, remains at 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum credit of $8,000. Originally, to be eligible for the credit, single (not married) purchasers could have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of no more than $75,000/year; married couples with an AGI of $150,000 or less were eligible. Under the new plan, singles with an AGI of up to $125,000 and married couples with an AGI of up to $225,000 are eligible.
For those of you who had previously been ineligible to claim the credit at all because you already owned a home, there may be good news for you. Under the new plan, homeowners who have lived in their homes for 5 consecutive years of the past 8 years are eligible to receive a credit toward a new home purchase. Meant to give a boost to “move-up” buyers, this credit amount can be 10% of the purchase price, up to $6,500. The income caps referenced above are the same.
If you’re a member of the Armed Services and were/will be deployed outside the United States for at least 90 days between December 31, 2008 – May 1, 2010, you may claim the credit until May 1, 2011 (with settlement all wrapped up before July 1, 2011).
One peculiarity of which it’s important to take note: even if you purchase a new home in 2010, you can claim the credit on your 2009 tax return. If you file for an extension of time to file your income taxes, or if you amend your already-filed 2009 tax return, you may include the tax credit (this would put the cash in your pocket much sooner than if you were to claim the credit on your 2010 tax return). Be sure, however, to take heed of the income limitations, as they apply to the year in which you claim the credit.
Finally, it’s important that you understand that if the purchase price of the home exceeds $800,000, no tax credit may be claimed, regardless of your income levels. The credit only applies to primary residences. Investment properties or vacation homes don’t qualify.
Whether the expansion and extension of this credit is the shot in the arm that the US Economy needs remains to be seen, but it’s here, it’s ready and, if you’re planning on purchasing a new home, you should most certainly take advantage of it. Talk to your Realtor or consult your financial advisor to discuss how this affects YOU.
About Will Klopp
Will Klopp is Vice President/Managing Officer for Alain Pinel Realtors in Morgan Hill, CA. Will is widely respected for his extensive knowledge of the real estate business. His extensive sales and marketing experience and the results he has achieved for his clients speak volumes. He takes pride in his “Customer First, Maximum Value” approach, offering clients a higher level of service and advertising exposure than his competitors.
Will represents Buyers and Sellers in the purchase and sale of all types of real estate, including residential homes, lots and land, horse/equestrian properties, estates and condominiums.