Rev. date: 03/2009
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008
created a new refundable tax credit, beginning in 2008, for individuals who are qualified first-time homebuyers of a principle residence in the United States. Tax Topic 611
explains the general rules that apply to this credit for 2008. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
made changes to the credit for qualified purchases made in 2009.
Original Rule Changes For 2009:
- Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home after December 31, 2008, and before December 1, 2009, can claim a first-time homebuyer credit of 10% of the home's purchase price, up to $8,000 ($4,000 for married filing separately).
- Qualified 2009 homebuyers do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their main home for 36 months after the purchase date.
- Taxpayers who qualify for the 2009 credit can elect to claim the credit either on their 2008 tax return or on their 2009 tax return.
The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extended the First-time Homebuyer Credit deadline to include qualifying purchases made by taxpayers who enter into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010, to close on the purchase of a principal residence before July 1, 2010.
Rule Changes For Qualified Purchases Made After November 6, 2009:
- Credit Limitation: The credit limit remains $8,000 for qualified first-time homebuyers, however, long-time residents who owned and used the same principal residence for any 5 consecutive years of the last 8 years prior to purchasing a subsequent new principal residence, may now qualify for a tax credit of up to $6,500.
- Income Limitation Is Increased: The Modified Adjusted Gross Income Limitation at which the credit will begin to be phased-out is increased to $125,000 for single taxpayers and $225,000 for joint taxpayers.
- Purchase Price Limitation: No credit shall be allowed for the purchase of any residence if the purchase price of such residence exceeds $800,000.
- Restriction for Age and Dependents: No credit shall be allow for the purchase of any residence unless the homebuyer (or spouse if married) has attained age 18 as of the date of such purchase. In addition, no buyer may take a credit if he or she can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.
- Documentation Requirement: Buyers will be required to submit a copy of their settlement statement to claim the tax credit.
- Claiming the Credit: Under the new law, as under the old, 2009 homebuyers may claim the credit on either their 2008 or 2009 returns, and 2010 buyers may claim their credit on either their 2009 or 2010 returns.