Q: I’m planning on buying a home this summer. I bought a home in July of 2006 and had to sell the house because of a job transfer in July of 2008. I’ve been renting for the past year.

The question I have is: Would I be eligible for the $8,000 tax credit if I buy a house after July of this year? I thought I heard that to qualify, you had to be a “first-time” home buyer.

Thanks for your time.

A: No, you would not be eligible. The tax credit is only for first-time home buyers or those who have not owned a property in 3 years. If you are married, you and your spouse both must not have owned a home during the 3 years preceding the purchase of the new home.

Feb. 26, 2009

Clarification: In a recent column discussing the $8,000 tax credit, I misstated how the tax credit would be applied to single buyers. According to the IRS.gov website, a single, unmarried buyer would be able to claim up to an $8,000 tax credit on the purchase of a first home that closes by December 1, 2009. Couples who are married, but filing separately, can each claim up to $4,000.

According to Chet Burgess, an enrolled agent who owns Brookwood Tax Service, in Atlanta, the $8,000 tax credit is available to a single house purchase. Unmarried couples who purchase their first home before December 1st, can each take up to $4,000 as a tax credit on each of their income tax returns. If two friends buy a single family home together and both are going to use it as their primary residence, they would each get a $4,000 tax credit on each of their tax returns. However, if each friend buys a different home to use as his or her primary residence, each can take a $8,000 tax credit on each of their federal income tax returns.

Please note that this only applies to first-time home buyers who are purchasing their primary residence. And the buyer must keep the home as his or her primary residence for at least three years.

April 3, 2009