Homebuyer Tax Credit: How to Claim It

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homebuyer tax credit updateThe first-time homebuyer tax credit encouraged many buyers to take the leap in 2010. Though the deadline to close on a qualifying home purchase was Sept. 30, 2010, those buyers who did qualify now have to figure out how to collect. Kelly Phillips Erb of our sister site, WalletPop.com, did the hard work, so you don't have to.


The Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama in July 2010, modified the terms of the existing first-time homebuyer's credit. The new law extended the closing deadline for home purchases from June 30, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2010; binding contracts for the sale of the home must have been entered into by April 30, 2010.

For purposes of the credit, a first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the last three years. For married taxpayers, you have to consider the history of both the homebuyer and the homebuyer's spouse. If one spouse is disqualified, neither can claim the credit. This means, so long as you are considered married (even if you weren't married to your spouse for the entirety of the past three years), you don't qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit if your spouse doesn't qualify.

The same rule doesn't apply for unmarried individuals who purchase a home together. The law allows those taxpayers to split the credit or allocate the amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer. See Notice 2009-12 for more details.

Read more at WalletPop.com.
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