Qualifications For First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Affected By Spouse

Q: Could you please tell me if I qualify for either of the home buyer tax credits or none?

I got married on April 2, 2010. I sold my house on June 11, 2010, which I purchased in 2003 for $525,000. I had a capital gain of $100,000, but there’s no tax because I had owned it for so long.

We signed a purchase contract on June 28, 2010, and closed at the end of July.

My wife has never owned a home. I trust this info will be sufficient.

A: I don’t believe you qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. There was a weird quirk in the law that said if you already owned a home and your spouse was a first-time buyer, you would not qualify for even half of the $8,000 first-time home buyer credit.

You might qualify for a long-term homeowner credit because you owned your home for at least 5 years, so you should check on that. The long-term home buyer tax credit could net you $6,500.

If you had bought your new home before you and your wife got married, she would have qualified for maybe all of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. But if you can get even $6,500, that’s pretty good.

One good place to check: www.homebuyertaxcredit.com. There’s an excellent tool that will walk you through 10 questions that helps you figure out whether or not you qualify. And, of course, talk to your accountant or tax preparer for more details.

Unfortunately some of the homebuyer tax credit rules caught some newly married people off guard and prevented them from getting the tax credit, while other people that you’d think would not qualify do.

The answer to your question will really depend on when you got married, whether either or both of you qualified for one of the homebuyer tax credits, the amount of money each of you make and certain other requirements. You’ll find that the eligibility test at www.homebuyertaxcredit.com works pretty well for most situations.


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