More FAQs about the Tax Credit

Does the tax credit ever have to be repaid?

Neither the first-time home buyer tax credit nor the repeat home buyer tax credit have to be repaid unless the home is sold or ceases to be used as the buyer’s principal residence within three years after the initial purchase.

How is the amount of the tax credit determined?

The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $6,500. Purchases of homes priced above $800,000 are not eligible for the tax credit.

How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application? Are there documentation requirements?

You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on line 67 of the 1040 income tax form for 2009 returns (line 69 of the 1040 income tax form for 2008 returns).

No other applications are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and repeat home buyer tests. Note that you cannot claim the credit on Form 5405 for an intended purchase for some future date; it must be a completed purchase. Home buyers must attach a copy of their HUD-1 settlement form (closing statement) to Form 5405 as proof of the completed home purchase.

What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?

Any home that will be used as a principal residence will qualify for the credit, provided the home is purchased for a price less than or equal to $800,000. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes (also known as mobile homes) and houseboats.

Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?

Yes. For the purposes of the home buyer tax credit, a principal residence that is constructed by the home owner is treated by the tax code as having been “purchased” on the date the owner first occupies the house. In this situation, the date of first occupancy must be after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or by June 30, 2010, provided a binding sales contract was in force by April 30, 2010).

I am a first-time buyer but my husband previously owned a home that he sold two years ago. Will I qualify for the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit?

No. Married couples are not eligible to claim the first-time home buyer tax credit if either spouse has previously owned a home within the past three years. They may, however, qualify for the repeat home buyer tax credit.

I would like to purchase my grandmother’s home. Will I be eligible for the tax credit?

No. Home purchases from relatives of the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse do not qualify for the tax credit. The IRS defines relatives as ancestors (parent, grandparent, etc.), lineal descendants (child, grandchildren, etc.) and spouses.

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