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$7,500 tax credit for home buyers

July 29, 2008

“The housing rescue bill, soon to become law, is full of goodies and not-so-goodies for homeowners and those who aspire to be homeowners. Here are some highlights.

First-time homeowner tax credit
The law will extend a tax credit of up to $7,500 to first-time home buyers. A first-time home buyer is defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home in three years.
The tax credit is for 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $7,500, but phases out for higher-income homeowners. Homeowners are eligible for the tax credit if they bought after April 8 of this year and before July 1, 2009.
This is a tax credit, not a deduction. It reduces the homeowners’ tax bill by up to $7,500 for the tax year in which the purchase was made. If you buy a house this year, you get the tax credit for the 2008 tax year — the one with a filing deadline of April 15, 2009. If you buy a house next year by the end of June, you get the tax credit for the 2009 tax year. It’s a one-time credit; you don’t get to keep taking it year after year.
There is a catch, and that is that the money has to be repaid over 15 years, starting two years after you buy the house. That makes the tax credit an interest-free loan. If you take the full $7,500 tax credit, your income tax bill will increase by $500 a year for 15 years. If you sell the house before then, you’ll have to pay Uncle Sam the remaining balance.
Complex issues, such as divorce, death, sale of the house at a loss and conversion of the house into a vacation home are accounted for in the law.”

Originally posted as What the housing bill means for you
By Holden Lewis, Bankrate.com

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