Home Buyer Tax Credit:

Do You Qualify?

Q: My husband has owned a home for 35 years. We are newly married (as of April. 2009) and I have not owned a home in 6 years.

We just built a new home together. Can we qualify for the home buyer tax credit? We are thinking of amending our 2009 return and filing separately if necessary. We really think we deserve this home buyer tax credit.

A: If you bought your new home before you were married, then you might have qualified for a first-time home buyer tax credit. But I don’t think you qualify now. And, you’re not alone. This has been a real bone of contention for many taxpayers. There was some discussion about repealing this part of the tax law, but I haven’t heard that it has been done. Still, it’s worth spending the money to have a conversation with your tax preparer or taking a look at the IRS’s information at IRS.gov.

Meanwhile, you and your husband may qualify for a long-term homeowner tax credit of $6,500. But it depends when you closed on your new home and whether you were married at the time you closed on the home. This tax credit was only available for homeowners who met all of the qualifications and closed after November 6, 2009. If you still haven’t closed on the home, you have until September 30, 2010 to get the deal done.

By the way, the extended time to close is true for anyone qualifying for an $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit or a $6,500 long-term homeowner tax credit.

Here’s the link at IRS.gov for more information. And, by the way, the IRS recently released a new form for home buyers to claim a home buyer tax credit. Here’s the link. Don’t forget you’ll have to attach Form 5405 as well as a copy of your settlement statement.