First-time homeowners, which includes anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years, may be eligible for a refundable federal tax credit of up to $8,000 if they purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
The first-time homebuyer tax credit was a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and extended by the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009. It applies to the purchase of existing or new homes and can be taken even if the homeowner does not owe any federal taxes (in which case a refund check will be sent to the taxpayer).
Tax Credit Eligibility Requirements
In order to be eligible for the federal first-time homebuyers tax credit, the following conditions must be met:
- The home must be located in the United States.
- It must serve as the taxpayer’s principal residence (vacation homes and rental property are not eligible).
- The purchase price on the home must be $800,000 or less.
- The purchase agreement must be signed between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010, and the sale completed by June 30, 2010.
- The home must serve as the primary residence for at least three years after the purchase was completed.
- It cannot have been purchased from a spouse or close relative (parent, grandparent, child, or grandchild).
- For homes worth less than $80,000, the tax credit is limited to a maximum of 10% of the purchase price.
- The homeowner’s income must be less than the maximum amount allowed.
Tax Credit Income Requirements
In order to be eligible for the federal first-time homebuyers tax credit, the following income limits must be met:
Claiming the Tax Credit
The tax credit can be taken either by:
- Amending your 2008 federal tax return.
- Claiming the credit on your 2009 federal tax return.
To claim the credit, complete IRS Form 5405 and enter the amount determined on line 69 of your 2008 federal 1040 income tax return, or line 67 of your 2009 or 2010 return.