New Home Buyer Tax Credit: 4 Things You Need to Know

by June 10, 2009 • 2 comments

You know I love to spread good news and you will find that this is NO exception. I hear a lot of talk about how awful the economy is and other complaints about the down side of life. Now I admit we are living in some challenging times. But out of challenge comes inspiration, motivation and great ideas by people who are thinking about what can be done instead of what can’t be done.

One of the exciting things that is happening for first time home buyers is a great way to get some money to help you with that thrilling first home purchase. Time is of the essence because you only have until December 1 2009 to take advantage of the New Home buyers tax credit.

So here are some of the questions that people are asking about the tax credit.

  1. What exactly is a first time home buyer?
    The law defines “first-time home buyer” as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the home ownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.
  2. Is there an income limit and what is it?
    Yes. The income limit for single taxpayers is $75,000; the limit is $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The phaseout range for the tax credit program is equal to $20,000. That is, the tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $95,000 (single) or $170,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.
  3. How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?
    Participating in the tax credit program is easy. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on Line 69 of their 1040 income tax return. No other applications or forms are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and first-time home buyer tests. Note that you cannot claim the credit on Form 5405 for an intended purchase for some future date; it must be a completed purchase.
  4. What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?
    Any home that will be used as a principal residence will qualify for the credit. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes (also known as mobile homes) and houseboats. The definition of principal residence is identical to the one used to determine whether you may qualify for the $250,000 / $500,000 capital gain tax exclusion for principal residences.

This is just one more great reason to buy a home right now. Prices are low, inventory is plentiful and you get a tax break to boot. What a country!!!!! Call your favorite lender for more details on how to get qualified for your new home today.

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1 Leslie August 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm

This information is outdated for a person looking to purchase a home with awful credit.
Do you have any updated information?


2 karen Smith August 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm

This was an older article that I wrote a while back. If you give me a shout at 850-527-5651 or e-mail me at I will give you some good info that may help you. I thank you so much for writing!!!!