First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

There has been a lot of talk (and confusion) about the economic stimulus bill and what it means to home buyers. Who qualifies? What year can I claim the credit? How much of a refund would I get back? What are the criteria to receive the credit? So I'm going to attempt to answer the most common questions about the bill. Keep in mind, I am NOT a tax professional or accountant and always recommend when it comes to your taxes to seek the advice of an accredited tax professional.

That being said, the bill states that first time home buyers can claim a tax credit worth $8,000 OR 10% of the home's value, whichever amount is less. So, if you bought a condominium for $65,000, your tax credit under the bill would be $6,500, not $8,000.


In order to qualify for the credit, the home purchase must be made between January 1st and November 30th of 2009 (so if you buy a home on December 1, 2009 you are not eligible). In addition, there are income restrictions as well. To qualify, a single person must make less than $75,000 a year. Married couples must make under $150,000 a year. However, higher income buyers may receive a partial credit. You must also live in the house purchased for at least three years or you will be required to pay back the credit. The property being purchased can not be owned by a close relative like a parent, grandparent or one of your children. The definition in bill for a first time home buyer is anyone that has not owned a home in the last three years.

Tax Filing

The credit can be claimed on your 2008 or 2009 income taxes. Now as I said you can claim the credit on your 2008 tax filing. If you have already filed them, you can file an amended return to claim the credit if you wish to do so. Based on the feeback we've been getting, the process takes about 12 weeks. Another great thing about the credit it that it is fully refundable, so even if your total tax bill (refund) is less than $8,000 (and you qualify for that amount of a credit), you would still receive the full $8,000 back plus the amount you had overpaid.

For example, John's taxes showed that he had paid $5,000 in taxes over the year. He filed his return and he actually only owed $3,000 in taxes. Normally he would have received a refund of $2,000. But under this bill, he would receive the full $10,000 instead! To claim the credit on your taxes is just a matter of filling out the form, without any additional paperwork involved.

This is a simplified breakdown of the economic stimulus bill. I highly recommend consulting a professional tax service regarding your taxes. You can download the tax form here:

Thank you for reading our real estate blog and feel free to contact us for all of your Las Vegas NV real estate needs.  



Need Answer Please Respond?

i began working on all the paper work for my new home on april 26, 2010 and closed the purchase of my new home on august 6, 2010. i then sent all the paperwork to irs about a week later after closing the purchase and just yesterday 10/13/10 i got a letter from irs saying that they have declined my application because i did not purchase my home before july 1, 2010. can anyone tell me if this is correct or can i actually dispute what irs is doing?

See form i5405

You are probably not going to win this one.

According to the latest revision of the instructions for form 5405 you cannot get the credit.

Here is what the publication says:

You are considered a first-time homebuyer if you meet all of the following requirements.
1. You purchased your main home located in the United States:
a. After December 31, 2008, and before May 1, 2010, or
b. After April 30, 2010, and before October 1, 2010, and you entered into a binding contract before May 1, 2010 to purchase the property before July 1, 2010.

Item "b" is where the illogic lies. What item "b" says is that if you purchased your home between May 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010 you will ONLY get the credit if you had also entered into a binding contract to purchase the property before July 1, 2010.

According to this, the latest instructions for Form 5405, if someone had entered into a binding contract anytime before October 1, 2010 and that binding contract indicated that they would purchase the home anytime after July 1, 2010 and before October 1, 2010 and the buyer did indeed purchase the home sometime before October 1, 2010, the buyer is not eligible for a first-time homebuyer credit because they had not entered into a binding contract that said they would purchase the home before July 1, 2010.

Assuming the the IRS prints instructions only when they have been proof read and approved by people who are of suffiicent competency, there must be some reason for the apparent discrepency in the "to be purchsed by" date of the contract and the actual purchase date.

Perhaps the IRS is assuming that people frequently enter into contracts to purchase homes by a certain date but the dates change for various reasons so they are including a buffer of time within which buyers are given a chance to resolve delays in executing the purchase.

If you are not angry enough, here is a scenario that should get your blood percolating:

A buyer could have deliberately entered into a contract to buy a home by June 30, 2010 but could have had an under-the-table agreement with the seller to make another contract with the seller right after executing the first one wherein the second contract has a clause that nullifies any previous contracts (a standard boilerplate clause for most contracts of this nature that was most likely included in the first contract too though it did not have any effect since there was no previous contract to nullify). The second contract, third contract, fourth contract, ad infinitum could then push the purchase date to as far as September 30, 2010. The buyer then submits an amended return along with all the required documentation which of course will include a properly executed and binding contract to buy the home before July 1, 2010 (the first contract) and all will be well and good because there is no provision for the IRS to pay attention to the second contract and any other subsequent contracts. All the IRS needs to see is a binding contract to purchase the home by July 1, 2010 which this buyer will have.

In the above scenario, the buyer WOULD be eligible for the credit even though they purchased the home two months after the deadline that you are being held to and even though they deliberately circumvented the IRS instructions.

No that's not correct

The FTHB's credit was extended. You had to be in a binding contract by the last day of April this year and had to close by the last day of September 2010. You should be eligible for the credit still. The extension information is listed on the IRS' website: Update July 6, 2010 — The deadline for closing on home purchases has been extended from June 30 to Sept. 30, 2010. 

Unfortunately they are

Unfortunately they are correct. In order to qualify for the program the house had to be under contract by 4/30/10 and closed by 6/30/10.

mr. anonymous, under

mr. anonymous, under contract by 30 april 2010, they were under contract prior to that date, so you are mistaken

Deadline to close was extended...

whooo.... lots of misinformation here. The Deadline to close was extended in the 12th hour from June 30th to September 30th, 2010. Please refer to the IRS website for more accurate information. You had to be under contract before April 30th, 2010. People get informed before you post.

I believe they are correct.

I believe they are correct. I thought the end date to close was June 30, 2010.

The end date to close was

The end date to close was 9/30/2010 and not 6/30/2010...If you were in a written contract to purchase before 4/31/2010 and close it before 9/30/2010 you will get credit depending on the first or second house.

My husband and I are

My husband and I are experiencing a very similiar issue. We closed on our house on May 14, 2010 and went into binding agreement on our house in the begining of March. I filed for our refund this past July and we have not received it. We have gotten several different stories from the IRS varying from they need more information than what is listed on the website, so we went them everything that we originally did plus some of the new paperwork they were now "requiring" months later only to receive a letter each month with another excuse. I.E. we (the IRS) have received your information it'll be another 4 to 6 weeks, etc. etc. It is now almost November and we just received another letter denying our first time homeowners credit because we did not submit paperwork saying we were in a binding contract before May 1, 2010 (even though we were.) It seems like the IRS is making excuses instead of paying out innocent citizens due to the country's extreme debt.

That is correct. But if you

That is correct. But if you are military, then the date limit to close on your home would have to be before September 1, 2010.


We filed our taxes in February of this year...all we get are more letters saying they will have an answer for us in 30 days....30 days later another letter extending it another 30 days. If it was their money that we owed you think they would accept us sending them a letter saying, "Ya, can you just wait and I will pay you in 30 days...maybe." No, they would fine us and send us to prison.

What they are doing has to be illegal!

i am having similiar problem

i am having similiar problem more than likely i wont get it even though i am supposed to thats a government stimulis for you hasent stimulated anyone who needs it in my opinion fantastic government we have

waiting for homebuyer check

We had the same problem until finally our tax accountant said "that's it!, this is ridiculous" and he got us an "advocate" and we had our check within 4 weeks after that - check and find out how you get an advocate - they also paid us 145.00 in interest on top of the 8000! so for once they did the right thing -

Got our check in less than a month

We closed on April 26th, 2010. We dragged our feet getting together all the necessary paperwork for the IRS. We mailed everything that was listed on the forms to Houston on September 13th - not certified. Just regular mail.

Today is October 12, 2010 and we just got our check in the mail, along with $233.03 in interest.

Read the instructions people. This isn't rocket science.

Excuse me but you were one

Excuse me but you were one of the lucky ones. I bought my house in March, Sent all the paper work thru the Mail, Certified that was done by my accountant. July I was asked for more Identification, August they told me they had a computer problem and I had to send in my Hud form again. Sept. I was told they were looking over my paperwork, October I got another letter stating they were looking over my August paper work. This is November and have not heard anything. I have called and sent letters back the day I get them. I am fed up. Calling Tax Advocate on Mondy.

All people are not as

All people are not as fortunate as you are. Some people have IRS do everything and you still wait. I have been waiting since March. I got an Advocate in the end of september. Everybody wants more paperwork. This is november 10th. and now we start all over again.

homebuyers tax credit

my homebuyers tax credit off on oct 16th the irs filled it out hope it will come back soon

must be pretty easy to be

must be pretty easy to be rude to people when you received your credit soem people are not as fortunate as you are really come on rocket science irs tells you what to do and then you respond the neccasary info and they say you need more or you need to ba a certain age or a certain height etc be ppolite some people cant help that our gov has no clue what a stim pack means or what credit is good luck to all

It may not be rocket science

It may not be rocket science but some of us are NOT as lucky as you. I have sent in every single document I had to and the IRS received it June 26th, 2010 and I still do not have my money. The IRS is giving a lot of people a hard time regarding this refund. I am happy for you but I can guarantee you it isn't all of our faults we haven't gotten our money yet, it's the government!

I did read all the

I did read all the instructions and sent in exactly what they asked for. I was told that we weren't missing anything but that ours was pulled for a "random" audit and it has delayed ours for 4 mths now.

I filed the correct paper

I filed the correct paper work twice, after closing at the end of February. Most recently, I even had a person inside the IRS that is a tax payers advocacy group. She said I was approved and then for some reason we have just been reassigned to someone closer to us in Houston. It is now November 2 and I am just getting paper shoveled around. I agree it'ss not rocker science, I just think the government doesn't want to pay.

It isn't rocket science, but

It isn't rocket science, but you would be an idiot to think that you weren't extremely lucky to receive your refund so quickly. Many of us are not as fortunate.

No it's not rocket science,

No it's not rocket science, but I mailed in everything and if you get sent to examination you have to wait. if you would read most of these more than half the people have been waiting. So lucky you, you got your check, there is alot of us that have not .

The problem with your

The problem with your comment here and that some of us are lucky and others arent. We sent in everything we needed to on May 10th. Finally after 16 weeks of "processing" we contacted a tax advocate. She sent off a request to find out why there was a delay. Come to find out, our return had been sitting on someones desk awaiting further review because some "bright" (and I say this as sarcastically as possible) person at the IRS thought we didnt qualify due to filing property taxes in 2007. We did file property taxes on a vehicle purchase but this is not the same as REAL ESTATE, basically, they looked at the wrong line on the return. Now, we have been "approved" but no one can give us a date of refund. SO, be thankful that you got yours so quickly and with interest you obviously did not deserve and stop assuming you know why others havent recieved theirs.


Why did the IRS pay you interest? 233 dollars is a lot for less than a month processing time. It sounds like they processed you return in record time.

No, it isn't rocket science,

No, it isn't rocket science, however, it is the simple fact that even though you may do the process the correct way, you are still NOT guaranteed to get it any quicker than the next person. For instance, I priority mailed my 2009 Amended Tax Return on June 30, 2010 and they received it the next day on July 1st. Today marks exactly 16 weeks that we have been waiting for our money. I have called every two to three weeks since July 1st and I hear the same thing every single time....."We received it on July 1st, it's going through the process, no letters / correspondence has been mailed out to you".

I was told that if the 16 weeks lapses and the credit still has not been issued, then I get to file a claim to talk to an IRS investigator to see what the hold up truly is. And they would begin paying me interest on top of my credit each day thereafter. HOWEVER - as of today, which is supposed to be the last day they have to make the credit happen (16th week), they decided to suddenly change their policy and give themselves yet another 30 days on top of the 16 weeks. So now at the last minute, just when I thought I was going to be able to file this claim, I have to wait another 30 days before doing anything else. And hope between now and then that they issue my credit and cut the check. It's so ridiculous!

So NO it isn't rocket science, but unless your file was one of the ones getting jacked around at the IRS, don't act as if you know how we feel and that we should read directions! You just got lucky was all..............

your dont have to be a smart

your dont have to be a smart butt i did read all of the directions and sent in everthing that they required, but when it goes to a new department they required all of the information all over again, so if it was easy for you it hasn't been for all of us

Evidently for the IRS, it is Rocket Science!

Well I'm happy to hear that atleast one in a thousands has been riembursed. Actually I did my homework, read the directions submitted exactly what they asked for with my lawyer's help and review. Sent in June 9, 2010 and yet to have receive any notice or reimbursment. It is now October 20,10, I have called 1-2 times a month and the same response from everyone. I will likely get my 2010 return before this credit the way things are going. Consider your self lucky! or a really "uncomplicated" tax payer. I did learn one thing from your post that I thought was interesting. INTEREST???

You should not make

You should not make assumptions. Most people do read instructions. You just got lucky, or a really careless tax examiner.

I believe most people have

I believe most people have been following the instructions. Just because you received your check earlier than most does not give you the right to have an egotistical disregard of others. The IRS is backlogged due to so many fraudulent claims. Fraudulent claims make it harder for those that are doing the correct thing to get their returns back because every so many claims are chosen for review. Also there are so many people working for the IRS and in so many different departments that maybe, just once in a while, the IRS makes a mistake. It's possible that paperwork is lost or improperly handled. Most of the people on this forum have taken their amended returns to a tax professional, then mailed the paperwork into the IRS. This forum is for those seeking guidance. People also need a place to vent. It isn't that you did anything better than the rest of the people on this forum because really, you have done the same as others here. You were just one of the lucky ones to receive your check sooner than later.

rocket science?

I sent everything that was asked of me, snail mail at the end of April.. Don't be snide, you just got lucky.. July I was sent a letter asking for a signature that I already provided see I copied everything I sent the first time. Congratulations on your early delivery but don't be a smart$%^..

I will loose my 1st home

I am a single Mom of 2 girls. I was finally able to buy my first home as of 03-26-2010. The house needed a major repair and I ended up charging it on my credit cards thinking I will have the 1st time home buyer tax credit to pay it back. I filed tax addendum for the first time home buyer on 04-15-2010. My claim then was denied stating I had filed mortgage interest in 2008. I sent the IRS proof that this is my first home and a copy of my 2008 tax return that shows I have not filed mortgage interest in 2008. I further advised that the mortgage company also questioned me if I owned my Mom's property but have signed a notarized statement that I do not own my Mom's property. Now the IRS is requesting correction form from the mortgage company stating I have told them the mortgage company have made a mistake in filing the tax on my name. I believe I will never see this first time home buyer tax credit. I make $9.25hr and I'm going to loose my first home if I don't get my 1st time home buyer credit as I was promised. Anyone has any advise? please help.... thank you.

claimed mortgage interest i

we got that one too, only it was for our childrens house and it was in 2006,and we moved into our home prior to closing and we put in change of address, it was january 2009 almost time to file taxes and we wanted our mail to come to our new address, and... obsolete hud-1 form, wanted copies of dl's, ss#s, utility bills, copy of our deed and payment book for our mortgage co, permission to leave a message on our answering machine, and of course copy of deed to our childrens house that we didn't own, and finally a copy of our 2006 1040 and schedule A, only we filed 1040A ,no itemized deductions cause we didn't have any. after all that we finally got a letter on 1 nov 2010 saying our review is over and our FTHB credit has been approved. soooo when do we get our check? But for you, call the tax advocates office in your area, especially if you may lose your home. they helped us

You need to get a tax payer

You need to get a tax payer advocate. Call the IRS and tell them you are in a hardship situation and you need a taxpayer advocate asap. They should help a lot.

Contact your Senator office!

Contact your Senator office! we had bought our house in nov 2009 after run around from irs saying everything from we had wrong paper work ,unlegible paperwork,to saying we owned other property we contacted our senator office who took the reign for us. we just heard today from them that we are now approved for credit now just waiting game for the check with interest. Good luck!

This Is The Biggest Scam In THE History of Scams

Before I bought this home I was living comfortably in a two bed room apartment with my wife and two kids. I was fine with that but my lease was coming to an end so we decided to look for homes to rent or purchase. They had been advertising the first home buyer credit everywhere so we decided to take advantage. So I closed on my home in March 2010 sent off my amended return March 2010 only to find out in May that I was missing the 5405 form. No problem sent it back end of May all the correct paper work only to find out in August that they had assigned my case to a tax advocate. So the tax advocate tells me to let it run through 12 to 16 week process and the only way she would help me sooner was if was behind on my mortgage. Now it October approx 20 weeks and counting and still no progress the IRS are a bunch of crooks.

My wife and I also got

My wife and I also got denied our tax credit. We purchased a home in June of 2009, after the purchase we spent roughly 8,000 on improvements to the home. We had initially planned to pay the debt off when we got our credit back, unfortunately we were denied. My wife has been married once before, but the house they lived in was owned by her husband. When she married him he already owned the home, so her name was not on any of the legal documents concerning the property. When we got our denial letter she called the IRS and they explained since they had filed their taxes jointly, that they were both legal owners of the home. So, she advised we write a letter to their claims department. They have sent us a letter back every 45 days saying they need more time to review our case. We just received our 4th letter saying that at the beginning of this week. So my feelings are like yours, we are about as likely to get the rebate as we are likely to become president of Romania. Only advice I have is to do like I did, apply for several interest cards with a 0% interest rate for the first 6 to 12 months and transfer your high interest debt to that card. As that term comes near, transfer the remaining balance to another 0% card. Good luck.

Here is some advice, don't

Here is some advice, don't buy what you can't afford!!! It sounds like you had no business buying the home in the first place, let alone doing renovations.

Could not agree more! People

Could not agree more! People need to stop
feeling so damned entitled and people need
to stop using Money they don't have. This credit
wasn't guarenteed to anyone. In a lot of cases
it's screwed our economy worse cuz because
people who can't afford a house rushed out
and got one because of the credit .

Not your advice!

I really don't think she was looking for negative advice, such as yours. What's done is done and she needs positive reinforcment. You and your two daugthers hang in there, honey! Things will get better for you. I pray that you will receive your check soon. God Bless!

Waiting for the IRS to send my rebate is like watching paint dry

Why is it that everyone who filed before May 2010 has a long complicated story?

You'd think the IRS would get ours done then work on the new ones, but noooo they decide to send out the new claims for the first time home buyer credit right away.

Filed 4/10/10, got a notice 2 months later no HUD1. I dropped off my 1040X at the local IRS center with my hud1 attached!!!

Faxed in HUD1 the same day. Called a week later, no HUD1. Faxed it again while I remained on the phone and they got it.

1 month later got a letter advising I am being examined and to send in copy of HUD1, drivers lic, registration, paystub. Faxed it all in.

9/9/10 was the date they said they had to get back to me. I recieved a new letter saying they now have until 10/6/10.

10/3/10 I lost patience and called. They said my amended return was accepted and I would recieve the 8000 + interest in 6-8 weeks!!!!! I found out the interest rate is 4% for 2010 for non-corporation filers, but no one can tell me how they calculate it!!! And it seems based on what ive read here that I won't get much back in interest since the person who waited 11 months only got $400 in interest.

I hate the irs.

Feel lucky!

At least you received letters and communication! I have yet to receive any communication from them with the exception of me calling every 2 weeks to check the status (which never changes!) Feel lucky...

Losing Patience

Just wanting to vent my frustration like everyone else.

Sent in all correct info that was required: 1040x, 5405, Hud Statement signed and sales contract all showing the dates of going under contract in February and closing on June 30. Irs received it on 7/18.

Called every week and was told that they had received all the correct information asked for according to IRS website at the time I sent the forms in.

Fast forward to today 10/13/10... received letter stating that they need all the information again and more documents proving that it is our primary residence.

I called the examination office and was told that whoever is telling people 16 weeks is giving out misinformation and it is taking longer than that. She says they are working files in order they receive them and we all know that's a load of donkey poo because people who have sent theirs in long after we did has already received their checks. She then proceeded to tell me that everyone, even if you have already received your check, will have to go through an examination process and send in more documents. WTF??? That made no sense.

Just in case your wondering, I'm not waiting on this to pay my bills. But I do undertand how this scheme prompted those who otherwise may have not purchased a new home to do just that, buy a home they could not otherwise afford. So the government won and got people to do just what they wanted them to do and gives misleading information and takes their time holding up to their end of the deal. Pitiful! We are all sheeples!!!

FTHBTC - IRS is a bunch of jerks

Just echoing what others are saying...

I closed in Feb 2010 and filed in March, been fighting for my FTHB credit ever since.

First time it went to 'error corrections department' because stupid H&R Block software didn't print the second page of the 5405 (which had two entries for me zero and zero !)

Since then it's been 3 rounds of sending HUD closing statements, copies of driver's licenses, tax statements, mortgage payment copies, utilitiy bills, etc.

What's the matter with just the HUD statement? It's another gov't agency, doesn't the IRS trust their forms? It has a transaction number on it that they could verify all the information.

And can you believe they gave this credit to prison inmates? Then an honest guy like me gets the run-around for months. Unbelievable !

Boils down to them playing games. Every request from them sends the process into another 60 day loop. They wait almost 30 days to even inform you they got the paperwork and then tell you they have 30 days to respond. Any more information requested resets the clock again for 60 more days. Why can't they request any additional information without making it a 2month affair?

Now I can see why people fly planes into their buildings.

Yup I hear ya. The irs

Yup I hear ya. The irs received my paperwork on June 1 according to one, and June 9 according to another, I sent in everything the first time even the contract, that was not required at that time, and then the party begins. Faxed over the same information 5 times, now I have been three different reasons why mine was sent to examination, and what I gather , is if you have or your husband that you file jointly with, has ever been red flagged from the irs for whatever reason it shoots your amended return to examination.After they request your information from examination that is when your file is dated from the irs receiving it. So the first letter they sent me from examination was in August so now my date of being received is no longer june it is now august. Really. I have now been in contact with a tax advocate i don't see where she is helping either. It is not a matter of buying a house that you cant afford, and needing this but I am entitled to it. So for the people that are saying that if you did not get yours you would be just as upset

same situation

I am in a very similar situation as you. We closed in Feb. filed for FTHB in early March. Still waiting. We have contacted our senator, congressman H&R block (who also made the error on our refund request) and of course the IRS numerous times.

We are thinking about going to the media about this issue, as we have exhausted all other options and are in need of the refund.

If you, (or anyone else reading this post that is in a similar situation
) are interested in going to the media please let me know. I think this is going to have to be a "strenght in numbers" type of situation.

Thanks in advance- and if it helps at all, I feel your pain!

Strength in Numbers

I too think we all need to stand together against this. We sent our amended return with all our forms on 4-16 (wish we would have filed an exstension and filed with original 2009 return, I heard it goes faster than doing amended but we didn't :( ) We got confirmation from the IRS on July 5 that they received our info on April 26, so we start counting the weeks from that time. We are now on our 23rd week. We were originally told 16 weeks. We got a letter 9-7-10 requesting more info to verify. Sent it all back on 9-9 via fax. Got confirmation on 10-12 that they received it all on 9-9 and were reviewing it. The letter said they woudl get back with us in 30 days. Got a letter yesterday 10-27 said still reviewing would here something by 11-23-10.

We are not counting on this money but we would like to have what has been promised to us. We just want straight answer from the IRS. We want them to say we have everything we just need to review it. They won't confirm that they won't come back in 30 days and ask for more paperwork starting the review process over. I don't understand why some are getting the credit so easily. Seems like we are paying for the credit's mistakes in 2008. They gave someone people credits they weren't allowed to have they must be looking over all of ours with a fine tooth comb now. It's crazy! I work for state government, in this building we also have the State Tax Division, if they treated people this way tax payers would be throwing fits and people here would be out of a job, why can the IRS get away with it.

I just want straight answers. I want to hear "your credit if approved will be mailed to you on X date" I don't care if it is 2 weeks or 12 weeks I just want answers, and the truth.

same situation

I would absolutely join you in contacting the media!! I close in December of 2009, here we are on October 26th, 2010, I filled with signature confirmation on April 15th and STILL NO REFUND! To make matters worse the taxpayer advocate assigned to my case in August actually created more problems by closing and reopening my case 3 times without informing me, creating more delays!!! So, all in all, I'm more than ready to go to the media with this as well as the inability of the taxpayer advocate service to aide in getting my refund!

same cituation

Im with you believe we need to make this public i too sent all paper work needed every 30 days they send another letter saying they need 30 more days last letter said I would hear from them by oct 24th which I didnt but Goverment brags about what they have done what a joke if you want to go to media i will join you


hi my name is courtney im going through the same bull now after 10 monthes they say i dont qualify they sent me 2 forms a 2297 and a3363 hr block did my taxes anythind i can do thanks

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