How To Claim Your $8,000 Tax Credit

Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 80000formerly known as the “stimulus bill,” first-time home buyers are eligible for a refundable tax credit of up to $8,000 this year. Here is what you need to know in order to claim the credit.

Who qualifies as a first-time homebuyer? A “first-time homebuyer” is anyone who has not owned a house in the past three years. Furthermore, if you don’t live in the house purchased this year for the three years following the purchase, you will have to pay the credit back to the government. This credit is intended for people who live in their own houses, not house flippers or speculators.

What is a refundable tax credit? When tax professionals and the IRS talk about “refundable tax credits,” they do not mean that you have to pay the credit back to the government. A refundable tax credit means that if you owe less tax than the amount of the tax credit, you will receive a refund — even if you have no other tax liability for 2008. That’s not a bad deal. In other words, if you owe $200 to the government before claiming the credit, and you qualify for $8,000 for the first-time home buyer credit, rather than paying the government, you will receive a check for $7,800. Even if you had no income in 2008, owed no tax, and purchased a qualifying house in 2009, the government will send you a check for $8,000.

What if I bought the house last year? If you purchased a house in 2008 and were a first-time buyer, you qualify for the older refundable tax credit with a maximum of $7,500. This does require that you pay the $7,500 tax credit back over the course of fifteen years, starting two years after the date of the purchase. This is still a good deal. As time goes on, thanks to inflation, you are paying back this “loan” with money that has smaller purchasing power.

To qualify for the new credit with the maximum of $8,000, you must be a first-time home buyer and the sale must take place between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009.

Do I qualify for the full $8,000? The actual credit you will receive is 10% of the purchase price of the home or $8,000, whichever amount is lower. If your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) as a single taxpayer is over $75,000 or if your income as a married couple is over $150,000, your credit will be phased out. The credit will be eliminated if your income is above $95,000 (single) or $170,000 (married).

For more interesting information please go to The Truth About Loan Modification.

Allow me to help you find the home of your dreams Contact Eddie Perez at (201) 344-2886, www.investhoboken.com.

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