Q: The closing on my house will occur at the end of October or the beginning of November. I should be eligible for the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.
But here’s the wrinkle: I will be inheriting a house in November when my father’s estate comes out of probate. Will that make me ineligible for the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit? I plan to live in the house that I am purchasing.
A: The rules relating to the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit require you to be a first-time home buyer by the date of the closing. If you close on your home at the end of October and at that time qualify for the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you’re inheriting a house the following month. You need only comply with the other requirements of the tax credit.
To qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, you must not have owned a home during the three years prior to the closing. You must live in the home you purchase for three years and must use it as your primary residence.
Your modified adjusted gross income may not exceed $75,000 for single people and $150,000 for married couples. Above those numbers, the tax credit phases out. (Your adjusted gross income is basically what you would see at the bottom of the first page of your federal income tax return.)
To get the full benefit of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, the sales price of the home must be at least $80,000. The way the tax credit works is that you get a credit of 10 percent on the purchase price of the home up to a maximum of $8,000.
Most importantly, you must close on the purchase of your new primary residence no later than November 30, 2009.
There are other rules that provide that the home must be located in the United States. Non resident aliens are ineligible to obtain the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, and you can’t buy the home from a close relative.
In answer to your question, if you inherit the home after you close on your primary residence, you should still be entitled to keep the tax credit as long as you live in the home you purchased for at least three years.