Update: Saturday Feb 14 — here is an article with a chart highlighting the changes in the first time home buyers tax credit.
It is expected to be signed into law by Feb 16. The Stimulus Bill was signed into law by the President on Feb 17.
“It’s $15,000. No wait, it’s $8000. Or is it $7,500? It has to be paid back. No it doesn’t! Yes, it does! It’s only for first time home buyers. Nuh uh!”
That’s about what the conversation sounds like if you are trying to figure out what the latest incarnation of the Stimulus bill contains with regard to a tax credit for home buyers.
It’s confusing as hell. Believe me, I’ve read a lot about it.
Here’s what we know to be the absolute truth so far:
Nothing. The simple fact is, the compromised version of the stimulus bill has not been voted on by either the House or the Senate. Until it is, it can change.
If you try hard enough and read enough of the (literally) tens of thousands of news articles you can find whatever answer you want. Such is the nature of legislation of this magnitude. It is in almost constant flux. But if you read enough, common themes start to come across. . .
Here is the general consensus on the $8000 home buyer tax credit so far:
- The $15,000 tax credit for home buyers that was in the Senate’s version has been reduced to $8,000.
- The $8,000 tax credit will only be for first time home buyers (opinion seems mixed on whether that means you can’t have owned a home for two, or three years).
- Unlike the already existing $7,500 first time home buyer “credit”, the new $8,000 is a true tax credit ”“ it does not have to be repaid.
- There is likely going to be an income cap. Make some level of income and the credit will either be phased out or eliminated. I’ve seen very little speculation on what that limit will be.
- Opinion seems to be split on whether or not the tax credit will be refundable, or can only be applied against your actual tax liability.
I stress “general consensus” because again, nothing has been finalized. Reports yesterday indicated a House vote was likely today. The mainstream media is now reporting a House vote is likely tomorrow (Friday Feb13) with a Senate vote over the weekend and the President signing Monday.
You’d think the House of Representatives would be discussing the stimulus package at this very moment. A quick check of C-Span Live though shows Representatives from Pennsylvania discussing the Pittsburgh Steelers Superbowl win. Yes, the House is debating at this moment in time whether to pass House Resolution 110 congratulating a football team. Whether to support “National Wear Red Day” is up next.
You can’t make this stuff up.