Archive for the 'First Time Buyers' Category

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New And Improved California First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Signed

 
 

 

California Homebuyer Tax Credit Will Add $10,000

California Homebuyer Tax Credit Will Add $10,000

 

 

 

Californa’s Newest First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit is  for Resale Existing Homes and New Construction!

The CA first time homebuyers tax credit has been revamped, and will now allow a credit for first time home buyers looking for existing (resale) homes, as well as new construction. The passage of this bill is due in large part to CAR’s non-stop continual push in Sacramento over the last few weeks.

Homebuyers can claim 5 percent of the purchase price against their California taxes, up to $10,000.

“I have been up and down the state pushing this important housing bill that will get people off the fence and into homes while creating jobs and stimulating our economy,” CA Gov. Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The new tax credit will provide $200 million in tax credits for home buyer tax credits, allocating $100 million for qualified first-time home buyers of existing homes, and $100 million for purchasers of new, or previously unoccupied, homes. The eligible taxpayer who purchases a qualified personal residence on and after May 1, 2010, and on or before Dec. 31, 2010, or who purchases a qualified principal residence on and after Dec. 31, 2010, and before Aug. 1, 2011, pursuant to an enforceable contract executed on or before Dec. 31, 2010, will be able to take the allowed tax credit. Again, the credit is equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the purchase price or $10,000, and willl be applied to your taxes in equal installments over three consecutive years. Under AB 183, purchasers will be required to live in the home for at least two years or forfeit the credit (i.e., repay it to the state).

You may or may not remember the last CA tax credit ran out of money and was abandoned well before it was supposed to end, so once again, it is urged that anyone thinking of purchasing a home moves forward as quickly as possible if they want to be assured of securing their $10,000.

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Move-Up/Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit FAQ’s

Homebuyers Tax Credit

 

The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has established a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up/repeat home buyers (existing home owners) purchasing a principal residence after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or purchased by June 30, 2010 with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010). The following questions and answers provide basic information about the tax credit. If you have more specific questions, we strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or legal professional about your unique situation.

1.Who is eligible to claim the $6,500 tax credit?

Qualified move-up or repeat home buyers purchasing any kind of home are eligible to claim this credit.

 

2.What is the definition of a move-up or repeat home buyer?

The law defines a tax credit qualified move-up home buyer (“long-time resident”) as a home owner who has owned and resided in a home for at least five consecutive years of the eight years prior to the purchase date. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. Repeat home buyers do not have to purchase a home that is more expensive than their previous home to qualify for the tax credit.

 

3.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.

 

4.Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?

Yes. The income limit for single taxpayers is $125,000; the limit is $225,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) above those limits. The phaseout range for the tax credit program is equal to $20,000. That is, the tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $145,000 (single) or $245,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.

 

5. What is “modified adjusted gross income”?

Modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is defined by the IRS. To find it, a taxpayer must first determine “adjusted gross income” or AGI. AGI is total income for a year minus certain deductions (known as “adjustments” or “above-theline deductions”), but before itemized deductions from Schedule A or personal exemptions are subtracted. On Forms 1040 and 1040A, AGI is the last number on page 1 and the first number on page 2 of the form. For Form 1040-EZ, AGI appears on line 4 (as of 2007). Note that AGI includes all forms of income including wages, salaries, interest income, dividends and capital gains.

To determine modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), add to AGI certain amounts of foreign-earned income. See IRS Form 5405 for more details.

 

6. If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?

Possibly. It depends on your income. Partial credits of less than $6,500 are available for some taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds the phaseout limits.

 

7.Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?

Just as an example, assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $235,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $225,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by the phaseout range of $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time home buyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $6,500 by 0.5. The result is $3,250. Here’s another example: assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $138,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $125,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by the phaseout range of $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $6,500 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,275.

Please remember that these examples are intended to provide a general idea of how the tax credit might be applied in different circumstances. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.

 

8. How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008? How is this different than the rules established in early 2009?

The previous tax credits applied only to first-time home buyers and were for different amounts of money.

 

9.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.

 

10. 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. The definition of principal residence is identical to the one used to determine whether you may qualify for the $250,000 / $500,000 capital gain tax exclusion for principal residences.

It is important to note that you cannot purchase a home from, among other family members, your ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.), your lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) or your spouse or your spouse’s family members. Please consult with your tax advisor for more information. Also see IRS Form 5405.

 

11.I read that the tax credit is “refundable.” What does that mean?

The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.

For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that the taxpayer qualified for the $6,500 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $5,500 ($6,500 minus the $1,000 owed).

 

!2. 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).

In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date. Be sure to check with a tax advisor in cases where a HUD-1 form is not used at settlement to be sure you have sufficient documentation to attach to IRS Form 5405.

 

13. Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?

Yes. The tax credit can be combined with an MRB home buyer program.

 

14. I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?

Perhaps. Anyone who is not a nonresident alien (as defined by the IRS) and who has owned and resided in a principal residence in the United States for at least five consecutive years of the eight years prior to the purchase date can claim the tax credit if they meet the income limits. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. The IRS provides a definition of “nonresident alien” in IRS Publication 519.

 

15. Is a tax credit the same as a tax deduction?

No. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $6,500 in income taxes and who receives an $6,500 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS.

A tax deduction is subtracted from the amount of income that is taxed. Using the same example, assume the taxpayer is in the 15 percent tax bracket and owes $6,500 in income taxes. If the taxpayer receives a $6,500 deduction, the taxpayer’s tax liability would be reduced by $975 (15 percent of $6,500), or lowered from $6,500 to $5,525.

 

16. Is there a way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2009 or 2010 tax return?

Yes. Prospective home buyers who believe they qualify for the tax credit are permitted to reduce their income tax withholding. Reducing tax withholding (up to the amount of the credit) will enable the buyer to accumulate cash byraising his/her take home pay. This money can then be applied to the downpayment.

Buyers should adjust the withholding amount on their W-4 via their employer or through their quarterly estimated tax payment. IRS Publication 919 contains rules and guidelines  or income tax withholding. Prospective home buyers should note that if income tax withholding is reduced and the tax credit qualified purchase does not occur, then the individual would be liable for repayment to the IRS of income tax and possible interest charges and penalties.

In addition, rule changes made as part of the economic stimulus legislation allow home buyers to claim the tax credit

and participate in a program financed by tax-exempt bonds. As a result, some state housing finance agencies have

introduced programs that provide short-term second mortgage loans that may be used to fund a downpayment.

Prospective home buyers should check with their state housing finance agency to see if such a program is available in

their community. To date, 18 state agencies have announced tax credit assistance programs, and more are expected to

follow suit. The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) has compiled a list of such programs, which can

be found here.

 

17. HUD allows “monetization” of the tax credit. What does that mean?

It means that HUD will allow buyers using FHA-insured mortgages to apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase immediately rather than waiting until they file their 2009 or 2010 income taxes to receive a refund. These funds may be used for certain downpayment and closing cost expenses.

Under the guidelines announced by HUD, non-profits and FHA-approved lenders are allowed to give home buyers short -term loans. The guidelines also allow government agencies, such as state housing finance agencies, to facilitate home sales by providing longer term loans secured by second mortgages.

Housing finance agencies and other government entities may also issue tax credit loans, which home buyers may use to satisfy the FHA 3.5 percent downpayment requirement.

In addition, approved FHA lenders can purchase a home buyer’s anticipated tax credit to pay closing costs and ownpayment costs above the 3.5 percent downpayment that is required for FHA-insured homes.

More information about the guidelines is available on the NAHB web site. Read the HUD mortgagee letter (pdf) and an explanation of the FHA Mortgagee Letter on Tax Credit Monetization (pdf). An FAQ about monetization (pdf) is available at the NAHB web site.

18.If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009 (or 2010), can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 (or 2009) tax return?

Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose (“elect”) to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 (or 2010) as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008 (or if in 2010, December 31, 2009). This means that the previous year’s income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed. A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 or 2010 will know their prior year MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount. Taxpayers buying a home who wish to claim it on their prior year tax return, but who have already submitted their tax return to the IRS, may file an amended return claiming the tax credit using Form 1040X. You should consult with a tax professional to determine how to arrange this.

 

19.For a home purchase in 2009 or 2010, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in the prior or present year, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?

Yes. If the applicable income phase out would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in the present year and a larger credit would be available using the prior year MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount.

 

Copyright © 2009 National Association of Home Builders. All rights reserved.

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Cold Front Moves In For Sacramento Real Estate Market …

 

Sacramento Cold Real Estate Market

Cold Sacramento Real Estate Market

If Sacramento area real estate buyer trends have any resemblance to the national trends, things may be heading into a long, slow spell…

Even with mortgage interest rates are at their lowest levels in five weeks, a seasonally adjusted index of home purchase applications was at its lowest level since 2000, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said in a report yesterday.

The closely watched Freddie Mac report on rates also came out Thursday, showing 30-year fixed home loans at an average of 4.91% this week for borrowers paying 0.7% in up-front points and fees to lenders.

So even though mortgage rates are so low, home sale mortgage applications are declining —

So even with the government’s $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers has been extended, and a $6,500 credit for many move up buyers, the numbers are way down…

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Sacramento Market May Not Be Helped Much By Extension Of Tax Credit

Sacramento Average Real Estate Sales Price

 

A consensus poll of real estate agents with Keller williams realty in the Sacramento area revealed today that the tax credit pulled forward demand, got people to buy earlier, and that there will likely be a lull in buyer traffic at the end of 2009 into 2010.

The tax credit for first time buyers remains the same, $8,000, but now current homeowners who buy a new residence can qualify for a tax credit of $6,500 under the program.   First time homebuyers are defined as not owning a home in the past three years.  Current homeowners are those buyers who have used the home sold or being sold as a principal residence consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years. This means someone who sold their home 2-years ago but lived in it for 5-years before they sold are eligible for the tax credit if they buy a new home. 

Add the fact that we are going into the slow time of the year, It seems that buyer activity here in the Sacramento valley for first time and move up buyers alike may definitely be going into a bit of a dormant stage.

 

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Senate REALLY Close To Replacing First-Time Buyers Tax Credit!

This will be HUGE for our Sacramento Housing Market!! I’ve beeen watching this closely…

Home Buyer Tax Refund

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Senate leaders moved closer to an agreement replacing an expiring $8,000 tax credit for first- time homebuyers with a smaller one that would expand access to so-called step-up purchasers, two people familiar with the matter said.

The deal would reduce the size of the tax credit to 10 percent of the sale’s price, capped at $7,290, the people said. The credit would be available on home purchases that are under contract by April 30, and borrowers would have 60 days more to close the sale. The existing credit is due to end Nov. 30.

The new agreement, which is still being negotiated and may change, would grant the credit to borrowers who have lived in their current home for at least five years. Lawmakers want to keep home sales from slipping as the economy struggles to recover from the worst drop in home prices since the Great Depression.

The demand for new homes and condominiums may increase by “more than two times because you’re allowing step-up buyers into the equation,” said Andrew Parmentier, a managing partner at Height Analytics, a research firm in Washington. “ You just opened up a whole new pool of people who can buy into those empty homes and empty condos that were built out.”

The income eligibility for first-time homebuyers would remain the same at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples. The income criteria for step-up buyers would be $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.

The credit would be limited to homes costing $800,000 or less. There is currently no price cap on home purchases.

Unemployment-Benefits Bill

Lawmakers are trying to attach the legislation, which is also being considered by leaders in the House, to a bill extending unemployment benefits under debate on the Senate floor, said Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat.

Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, told reporters yesterday of the tax credit that “we should be able to extend that later this week.” Nelson was traveling with President Barack Obama on Air Force One to a speech in Jacksonville, Florida.

Lawmakers are also considering pairing the new homebuyer credit with a broader tax benefit for businesses with net operating losses, and passing that as a separate bill. The tax break, a priority for homebuilders, would allow companies to apply losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 to amend up to five years worth of earlier tax returns to get a refund of taxes paid in years when they were profitable.

That provision, along with the step-up, would be “extremely positive for the homebuilders,” Parmentier said.

A version of the benefit was included in February’s economic stimulus bill, though it was limited to companies with receipts under $15 million. Business groups, including the Washington-based National Association of Manufacturers and National Association of Home Builders, lobbied unsuccessfully to have the benefit expanded to larger companies.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dawn Kopecki in Washington at [email protected]; To contact the reporters on this story: Ryan J. Donmoyer in Washington at [email protected].

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