$15,000 homebuyer tax credit could come back on its own

Prospective homebuyers were deeply disappointed when the $15,000 tax credit for homebuyers was removed from the final version of the economic stimulus package and replaced with a much more modest $8,000 tax credit, available only to first-time buyers.

But that $15,000 package may not be off the table just yet. Senator Johnny Isakson, the Georgia Republican who sponsored the amendment, says the credit might yet yet find its way into law as a stand-alone bill. "Quite frankly there is so much outward support for what we did ... that I wouldn't at all be surprised if you didn't see it come back in some form with a Democrat's name on it," he told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

While the idea of using such an enormous credit to artificially prop up housing seems crazy, it's actually probably smarter than a lot of other ideas that made it into the stimulus bill. The administrative costs of a tax credit are essentially zero, compared with layers and layers of bureaucracy associated with so many of the other projects that did make their way into the final package.

The tax credit -- which was 10% of the purchase price up to $15,000 -- would have essentially offered Americans 50% of the down payment on a home worth as much as $150,000.

It's expensive, but it does a lot more for ordinary people than tossing money at AIG and Bank of America so that they can pay bonuses. Bring it back!

A Tax Filing Factsheet for eBay Sellers

You can find almost anything for sale on eBay, from a piece of fine art to clippings of Justin Bieber’s hair. So it's no surprise that the IRS doesn't view all sellers alike in the online marketplace. You may not have to pay tax at all if you are essentially hosting an online garage sale, but if you run your eBay account more like a business, you should be reporting your sales to the IRS.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Video: The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Explained

Originally created to make sure the wealthy paid taxes even after using tax breaks and loopholes, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) has never been updated and continues to impact middle class Americans more and more each year as a result of inflation. To compensate for inflation, the AMT now includes an exemption amount. This exemption is indexed for inflation so it changes every year.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Should You and Your Spouse File Taxes Jointly or Separately?

Married couples have the option to file jointly or separately on their federal income tax returns. The IRS strongly encourages most couples to file joint tax returns by extending several tax breaks to those who file together. In the vast majority of cases, it's best for married couples to file jointly, but there may be a few instances when it's better to submit separate returns.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Tax Tips for New College Graduates

Before you climb that first rung of the career ladder, there are some basic rules to understand about income taxes. Think of it as Taxes 101.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story