There are dozens of articles on this site about the Home Buyer Tax Credit. You can see them all here.
For the most recent news about the Home Buyer Tax credit, please see this article (July 2, 2010).
UPDATE Nov 6: According to UPI, President Obama has signed this legislation. NOW it’s official.
Moments ago, the House of Representatives passed HR 3548 ”“ The Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2009 with a vote of 403 -12.
“Whoa, hold on there Jay. You said the tax credit extension was passed. What’s up with linking to some unemployment legislation?”
That would be because the Senate attached an amendment (SA 2712, Section11) to HR 3548 that extends (and expands) the home buyer tax credit. The Senate passed the amended HR 3548 on Wednesday by a vote of 98 ”“ 0.
The bill now moves to President Obama’s desk for his signature into law. Some mainstream media is reporting the President will sign this on Friday, November 6. THEN, and only then, will the tax credit truly be extended and expanded (regardless of whatever you may read on Twitter, on blogs, and in the press).
So what’s in the bill?
Amendments are difficult to read as they cross-reference multiple documents and contain gobbledygook that looks like this:
(1) by striking “and” at the end of subparagraph (M),
(2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (N) and inserting “, and”, and
(3) by inserting after subparagraph (N) the following new subparagraph:
“(O) an omission of any increase required under section 36(f) with respect to the recapture of a credit allowed under section 36.”.
Good luck deciphering that”¦
Here’s what I’ve gleaned from reading the amendment, cross-referencing it, and digesting various media reports:
The “New” Home Buyer Tax Credit Details
- The existing $8,000 tax credit is extended to May 1, 2010. (The credit is for 10% of the home purchase price, up to $8,000.)
- If a home buyer is “into a written binding contract before May 1, 2010”, and they close on that contract before July 1, 2010, the tax credit can be claimed.
- A new tax credit for “long-time residents of same principal residence” has been created. This has been reported in many places as a tax credit for “move up buyers”. Here is the actual verbiage of the new tax credit for existing home owners:
EXCEPTION FOR LONG-TIME RESIDENTS OF SAME PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE.–In the case of an individual (and, if married, such individual’s spouse) who has owned and used the same residence as such individual’s principal residence for any 5-consecutive-year period during the 8-year period ending on the date of the purchase of a subsequent principal residence, such individual shall be treated as a first-time homebuyer for purposes of this section with respect to the purchase of such subsequent residence.
- The tax credit for existing “long time resident” home owners purchasing a new home is 10% of the purchase price, up to $6,500.
- The old $8K credit had income limits of $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. The income limits have been increased to $125,000 / $225,000.
- No credit shall be allowed for the purchase of any residence if the purchase price exceeds $800,000.
- All of this applies to primary residences only. No second home or investment properties are eligible for the tax credit.
- For members of the Armed Forces deployed on duty outside the United States, the tax credits are extended to May 1, 2011 (must close before July 1. 2011) Must be deployed outside the U.S. for at least 90 days between Dec 31, 2008 ”“ May 1, 2010.
- “Fraud prevention” measures have been implemented. The tax credit can not be claimed by anyone under 18 years of age (some knucklehead tried to put it on the tax return of a four year old). Also, a “properly executed copy of the settlement statement used to complete such purchase” must be attached to the tax return claiming the credit (I take this to mean a copy of the signed HUD-1 Settlement Statement. But check that with your tax advisor!)
That’s it in a nutshell.
Of interest: According to economists at Goldman Sachs, around 70% of all current homeowners would be eligible for the expanded home buyer tax credit. The NAR and other Realtor Associations will no doubt be salivating over the extension and expansion of the tax credit. Some Senators have said that the chances of the tax credit being extended again come next April 30 are virtually zero.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the tax credit extension. I realize that flies in the face of a large majority of my fellow real estate agent / broker brethren, but that’s how I feel. It’s going to cost a TON of money (almost $11 billion by some estimates), and I am far from convinced it encourages people to buy homes (and if it does, that’s one BAD reason to buy a home).
Disclosure: I am clearly not an elected politician and my interpretation of the legislative text could be incorrect. Also, I am not a lawyer nor a tax professional, nor do I have any desire to be either. You should seek their counsel.
AND DON’T FORGET!! Until President Obama signs this bill, it’s not in effect!
National Association of Realtors, Government Affairs: Here is a GREAT summary of the current and proposed home buyer tax credits (PDF file).