Q: Recently, you said we could not file e-file if we’re filing for the first-time home buyer tax credit. I am a first time home buyer, and I want to get the tax credit. Do I have to mail in my federal income tax form? Should I file with e-file, and then do an amended return or get an extension to get the tax credit that way? Should I talk with a tax advisor?

I’m using one of the e-file options through the IRS.gov website. And, my refund is ready except for the first time home buyer tax credit because I haven’t filed form 5405 yet. Can you please explain what I have to do to get my tax credit money?

A: The IRS recently issued the final form 5405 for those homeowners filing for either the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit or the $6,500 trade up tax credit.

You can download the form for free at IRS.gov. However, the IRS is requiring all taxpayers who are filing for a home buyer tax credit to print out their return, print out the 5405 and other documentation that is required to prove you are eligible for the tax credit, and mail it in to the IRS.

You can use the online tax preparation software but instead of filing your return electronically, you’ll have to print it and send it via the U.S. postal service.

Since you have a refund coming, I understand why you might think you’ll get your money (or some of your refund) faster by e-filing rather than by mailing in the form. However, filing a return and then immediately filing an amended return sounds like a waste of time and money.

Filing the first return will not get you the tax credit refund and you’ll still have to prepare the amended return and attach the necessary documents to get the tax credit relating to the purchase of your home.

It will take 6 to 8 weeks for your return to be processed and for you to receive your refund. I suggest you request that your refund be direct deposited into your bank account. That way, you’ll know exactly when you’re getting it.

For more information on the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit or the Move Up or Existing Home Buyer Tax Credit, read the following articles:

$6500 Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit Has Time Restrictions

$8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Qualifications Issues

$8000 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit: Must Live in House To Qualify

8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Has Rules Against Buying From Close Relatives

8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Qualifications: Do You Qualify?

Home Buyer Tax Credit Requires Tax Forms To Be Submitted