Q: My wife and I have been in our current home for 7 years. I am listed as the sole owner. If we buy a new home and put it in my wife’s name only, would we qualify for the first time home buyers credit?
A: I’ve received several emails from readers asking about various relationships and who might qualify for the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit.
Current IRS tax law defines a “first time home buyer” as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. If you’re married, the law looks at the home ownership history of both the home buyer and his or her spouse.
In your case, you’ve owned a home for seven years, but your wife isn’t on title. Regardless, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit. If your state offers a general home buyer credit, you might qualify for that.
Unmarried purchasers, such as a father and child or unmarried partners, where one of the buyers has owned a property but the other has not, may allocate up to $4,000 each of the credit amount to the first time buyer. My understanding is that the $8,000 total amount runs with the house, not the individual. So a single first time buyer would qualify for a tax credit of up to $8,000. Two first time buyers purchasing the same property would qualify for a total of up to $4,000 each, or up to $8,000 for the single property.
For those home buyers who own a vacation property or a rental property, but not a primary residence, the law considers you to be first-time buyers as well.
Learn more about the first time home buyer tax credit and who qualifies and other criteria for the first time home buyer tax credit.
First time home buyers: take a look at our eBook, 10 Things You Need To Know Before You Buy a New House.