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Senate Amendment to 2009 Stimulus Bill: $15,000 Tax Credit for Homebuyers

This article was written by in Real Estate and Home. 148 comments.


This text refers to the original $15,000 tax credit amendment for all homebuyers which has now been superseded. The tax credit is now $8,000 and is available for people who purchase a house between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Here is how to claim the $8,000 home buyer tax credit on your 2008 or 2009 tax return.

As senators jockey for position and work to coming to an agreement that will best help the American people and the overall economy, the stimulus plan originally pushed forward by Barack Obama is changing. Last night, the Senate voted to include an amendment to the bill which would provide a tax credit for homebuyers. If the bill passes the Senate, and if this amendment remains included when the Senate and House negotiate, and if the President signs the bill into law, anyone who purchases a house after the bill is signed into law will be entitled to a tax credit.

The credit would be 10% of the purchase price of the house, up to $15,000. This idea is modeled after a $2,000 tax credit for homebuyers that helped the country rise from a recession in 1975. The credit would be spread over two years. For example, if you buy a house with a purchase price of $300,000, you would qualify for the maximum credit of $15,000. The first year you claim the credit, you would receive $7,500, and you would receive the remaining $7,500 the next year.

Additionally, in its current form, the requirement to repay the credit over time will be waived. The estimated cost of this amendment is $18.5 billion. This credit, which was once set aside for first-time homebuyers, would now apply to anyone who purchases a house, including investors, speculators, flippers, and any family struggling to afford a place to call home.

So does it make sense to go out and buy a house this year if you weren’t planning to, just to receive this tax credit? I’m not so sure. The main driver for buying a house — one in which you plan to live, not one you with which you plan to invest, or more accurately, speculate — should be necessity. Incentives for purchasing an asset stands to prop up the price of that asset beyond the price the market sets for it on its own. This boost helps real estate agents and investors more than families.

Please keep in mind that the plans for this credit are subject to change until it the bill is signed into law by the President of the United States.

Are you more inclined to buy a house this year with the knowledge that you will receive up to a $15,000 tax credit if this bill is signed into law as it currently stands?

Update: the current text of this amendment stipulates that only houses purchased after the bill is signed into law will qualify for the $15,000 tax credit. The final rules will depend on what the Senate and House of Representatives agree to before sending the bill to the President.

February 11 Update: As of this moment, the idea of the $15,000 tax credit may be nothing more than a dream. According to reports following the compromise between the House of Representatives and the Senate, this benefit has been “significantly reduced.” It may be another day before we know exactly what that means.

February 12 Update: The $15,000 tax credit has been confirmed as being “significantly reduced” to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers only and only houses purchased before the end of November will qualify. This $8,000 tax credit will not need to be repaid, unlike the current $7,500 first-time homebuyers credit.

February 13 Update: The Senate and House of Representatives have both passed the compromise version of the stimulus bill. Read the complete stimulus bill here, and you’ll be a step ahead of many of the congressmen who didn’t have a chance to read it before voting.

Updated February 25, 2009 and originally published February 5, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar tom

I’ve commented a lot on these housing credits and this pisses me off the most. What about current homeowners who pay on-time, bought way less house than they could afford, and have little debt? It’s just silly that I’m subsidizing my new neighbors house. Odds are that $15,000 isn’t oging to the house, it’s going to his/her new car or flat screen tv or new kitchen. They should at least give a tax credit for closing costs to refininace at the potential 4% 30-year rate!

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avatar Brian

While I can share the frustration of those who lived responsibly in the past and did not contribute to the current crisis, I do stand to benefit from the new amendment if it stands.

Regarding the fairness… life is never fair. When I bought my car, a month later Toyota announced bigger rebates. Now there’s talk of a tax credit for new car buyers that I will likely have just missed out on. Like most things, it’s a wash. Practically everything we all own, someone can buy cheaper today than what we paid. Personally, if (hopefully) this stimulus helps our economy regain some traction and ends the slide so I can stop watching my retirement accounts decline daily, then so be it.

I’m sure it sounds easy for me to say since I will probably qualify for the increased stimulus, but at least there is something being done to stimulate the people and not the financial mavens that contributed to the disaster in the first place.

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avatar Ken

All this does is help prop up the overinflated housing prices longer. Just delays the crash a little longer.

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avatar Miranda

I wish to high heaven that we hadn’t bought a house in September 2007. We got a good deal on it, and a good interest rate (although we’ll refinance to 4% if that passes), and it’s actually held its value. But. My. Goodness. $15,000 is a lot. At the risk of sounded bitter, I’d just like to say that at some point I’d like a nice, big reward for being responsible with my money.

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avatar Kimberly

Just because some people, like me, might take advantage of this tax credit does not mean that they are not responsible with their money. Perhaps my luck of timing is just better than yours, in that my husband and I were planning on buying a house sometime in the next 18 months and now we’re bumping up that plan to within the next 6 months. We started considering this new strategy after we heard that the House’s version was forgiving the repayment of the original $7500 credit.

We will be getting a mortgage that is less than 2 times our annual income and we will be putting at least 10% down. But damned if we’re not going to take advantage of tax credits that are available to us. We’re just not going to do anything stupid with it, which is what some people are saying. As soon as the credit hits our bank account next tax season it will go toward paying down the principal, not a “new car or flat screen tv or new kitchen.”

@Ken: I do agree that this kind of interference only delays the inevitable.

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avatar PT Money

I will begin looking into the possibility of buying an investment property because of this. Prices have been stable here in Texas, so if I don’t see a big uptick, and if I can get good closing costs, I’ll likely make a place for some rental property. 15k is too much to leave on the table, I think.

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avatar Ken

I hope this doesn’t cover investment properties.

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avatar Miss M

Well I can’t unload my current house cause I owe more than it is currently worth, but I’d consider picking up an invest property or a new primary residence and convert my current house to a rental. The problem is even with the huge fall in LA housing prices, I’d still be looking at $60k-$100k for a 20% downpayment.

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avatar Brian

I seriously doubt you will see this eligible for investment or rental properties, I’m sure it will be owner-occupied mortgages only. Their budgeted dollars if they opened it up to investment properties would have to increase ten-fold for those who would take advantage. You could convert your existing home to a rental and buy a new one if you are interested in being a landlord.

Personally, I think it should stick to first time home buyers. Giving someone $15,000 to buy a new home when they are just going to stick their existing home on the market is not driving down the glut of available homes and thus does not do much to help housing prices. It will just churn houses, which may cause some short-term numbers to look better (#sold, contracts, apps, etc.) but will do little long term.

Also, think for a minute about who this is going to: People able to buy homes now are those who have managed their finances well. Their credit scores are pretty good, they have adequate reserves, are putting at least 3.5% down if not more.

I just bought a house, and I can tell you that it was pretty clear they are being MUCH more stringent. This money is not going to reward those who were careless, it’s going to those ready and ABLE to purchase a home to push them to commit to the decision quicker (thus stimulating the economy).

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avatar tom

@Kimberly and Brian,

Ok… this is probably not the right forum to rant about how the credit will be spent because readers here are generally more responsible with their money, but each of you know how the rest of the nation who qualify will be spending it.

I bought my first home in January of last year which was right in the beginning of the downturn, why shouldn’t I get a retroactive tax credit?

And by the way, if the requirement to repay is waived… from all the homeowning taxpayers… you’re welcome.

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avatar Floyd

I will be graduating college very shortly and have a full time job locked up. I am a young person with many years of work to go before I can even remotely think of retirement. Along with retirement comes Social Security right? Since with the way things are going it will be almost a certainty that I will not be able to get much from Social Security. Since I as a tax payer will be paying into Social Security so all the older people and baby boomers can get a take…why is it unfair then that I take advantage of a program that gives me money from these very same older people that will be taking MY tax dollars in the years to come?

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avatar Brian

@Tom

Does it matter how they spend it? Actually, the entire goal of the stimulus IS FOR THEM TO SPEND IT!

Why shouldn’t you get a credit? Because there was no credit in place when you bought your home. Fairness can’t be made retroactive inevitably, there has to be a cutoff point. Some people sold houses at the height of the bubble and made small fortunes on their homes. Yet now, those houses are worth about 40% less. Was that fair to the buyers? Should the sellers have to give back some of that profit to the buyers to lower what they owe because the value changed?

The whole “you’re welcome” business is nonsense. You won’t be contributing any more to the credit than those people who are taking the credit will be themselves. They will be home-owning taxpayers as well.

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avatar Rick

The whole stimulus package is just plain silly. Apart from money for unemployment benefits I wouldn’t be spending money we don’t have. As for a $15,000 tax credit it would tempt me to acquire another house.

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avatar Karen

I have been researching buying my first home for more than a year. I have the down payment and can afford the monthly payments, but I am concerned about the additional costs of moving and home ownership. I keep thinking that if I can save just a little more or pay off more of my student loans, then I would feel more comfortable buying. The $15,000 tax credit would definitely make a difference in whether I buy now or wait another year.

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avatar Chuck

Flexo, I have a question rather than a comment. Do you have any idea whether or not the purchase date has to be AFTER the bill passes or would a house bought in this calendar year qualify? I have signed a contract to purchase a house but we have not closed yet (looking to close at the end of the month) and I am wondering if we need to delay closing.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Chuck: The current state of this particular amendment would make a house purchased at any time during 2009 qualify.

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avatar Tony

Does the incentive still count when you are ‘commiting to buy’ (and putting down a 5% builders deposit) within the 1 year timeframe even if actual closing occurs after the 1 year time frame?

I am looking to buy a home and have everything in place, but my house wont be finished building by the builder until mid 2010.

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avatar Nicole

What about the first time home buyers who used their life savings to buy at the end of 2007? Are we to sit back and watch the government dangle a $15,000 tax credit in front of us?

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avatar Confused?

We just closed on a house the day the ammendment was put on record and will not move into the house until March 2nd. I was wondering if I would qualify for the new tax credit or not as I am reading on some websites. Others are saying that the tax credit would only be for those you purchase a home after the president signs the bill into law. Any answers for me?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Current text of the amednment would qualify any house purchased on any date in 2009, before or after the bill is signed into law. Amendments change, however, and some disappear completely before bills are signed into law. So we won’t know until the Senate and the House negotiate and the President signs the result of the compromise.

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avatar Kimberly

@Tom and Nicole

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avatar Confused?

Flexo,
I just found an amendment SA 106 that states that the current credit would replace the old credit from the time it is signed into action for a period of one year. If that happens next week wouldn’t that mean that I will not receive the $15,000 tax credit but only be able to claim the $7,500 tax credit available to first-time home buyers. I have seen two different forms of the Bill and am complete confused though it sounds like I am not able to claim the new tax credit.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Confused? : The text of the amendment for the $15,000 tax credit states it would be available to anyone who purchases a home between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, inclusive. But everything is speculation until he bill is signed into a law, anyway.

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avatar Josh

A new kitchen is putting money into your house. Being a new homebuyer, I think this is a great opportunity b/c the true root of this recession is the housing market. Really the best thing to do is the government needs to buy all the foreclosed homes and burn them down!!

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avatar Luckytobeme

This money will go to renovate our bathroom. We are eligible to this credit., we will close escrow in one more week. We are so excited that we will be getting this money fo fix up the house……..

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avatar Eff

Flexo,

We’re first-time buyers, have a signed contract and have our closing planned FOR THIS WEDNESDAY!

I know the Senate passes the 15k deal last week, that both sides seem to agree to it as of Friday, and that President Obama says it’s looking likely to be signed…are things still looking like “any home bought Jan-Dec ’09″?

If it’s anyone’s call until it’s signed into law, when do you think that will happen?
Should we postpone our closing date (we can until Feb 27th) if nothing is signed by…say… Noon Tuesday, just to play it safe?

-Eff

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avatar Pete Miller

FILE NOW IF YOU QUALIFY FOR THE OLD CREDIT

IF YOU QUALIFY FOR THE OLD TAX CREDIT YOU MUST FILE NOW, BEFORE OBAMA SIGNS NEW LAW!!!

Isakson’s press release reads: “The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.” What does the term “sunset” mean there? In this context, the term “sunset” means that the $7,500 new home buyer tax credit would be supplanted by the proposed $15,000 credit, which applies to all home purchases–not just new homes. “If you are operating under the $7,500 [credit], that’s the one you [have],” says Joan Kirchner, Sen. Isakson’s Deputy Chief of Staff. “Then, from the date of enactment forward, the new one takes over and nobody else gets the old $7,500 [credit].”

That last sentence makes it official as far as I read it.

FILE NOW IF YOU QUALIFY, OR YOU’LL BE SORRY!

See #2 below

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/the-home-front/2009/02/06/the-15000-home-buying-tax-credit-6-things-to-know.html

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Pete: Your interpretation of the last sentence from the Senator’s Deputy Chief of Staff is not supported by the most recent available text of the amendment, which says that any purchase made after December 31, 2008 and before January 1, 2010 would qualify for the $15,000 credit. So, I think rather than making decisions based on an *unfinalized* version of the bill, including speculation from U.S. News and on blogs, we’ll have to wait until we can read the text of the final bill.

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avatar Bob in VA

This is why the govt shouldn’t be in the business of telling everyone what they can buy and how much they’ll get from the IRS for buying it. It’s impossible to equitably accommadate all the variations. Trying to do so is what’s called a “command economy” and, as proven by every socialist/marxist country in history, it doesn’t work!

As we learned during the Enlightenment, Adam Smith’s invisible hand is infinitely more efficient at it. Why must we keep denying that?

Just let us keep more of what we earn and stay the hell out of our lives!

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avatar Anna Lee

Even if you have closed on your home you can still prepare an amended return to get the $15,000. Talk with your CPA.

Anna Lee

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avatar Pete Miller

If I am wrong, one can always file an amended return. If your stance is wrong, those who qualified will get screwed. FILE NOW.

I would be very grateful if you could provide an updated link with the latest text from the amendment you referenced. I do believe I am looking at the latest version, which is the one I posted from Sen. Isakson’s press release from yesterday the 7th.

BTW, the dates you listed are for two days in a row. Dec 31 2008 is followed the next day, Jan 1st 2009

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Pete: I should have written January 1, 2010, and I’ve now corrected that, thanks. The bottom line is the $15,000 credit would stand for houses purchased in 2009 while the old credit would stand for qualifying houses purchased in 2008. They can’t have the 2008 income tax law different for someone who files on February 1, 2009 than for someone who files on February 15, 2009. Thus, the date you file will not make a difference. If there *is* a change that affects 2008 tax returns, it will retroactively affect everyone who has filed 2008 income tax returns already.

The latest version of the bill is not available on Thomas yet, so we’ll probably just have to wait and see.

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avatar Pete Miller

Flexo

To clarify, my stance only applies for those who purchased homes in 2008 (from April 9th 2008 to Dec 31 2008, which is the qualifying dates from the old tax credit.) In my situation, I qualify for the old credit but not the new credit, b/c I closed on my house on May 1st 2008.

If you fit this category, you all best file now, rather than taking the chance that the old credit ceases to exist with the stroke of Obama’s pen. If I am wrong, I’ll file an amended return next month. I filed last week so as not to get screwed, as those in my situation who wait will likely be just that, screwed.

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avatar JMB

Flexo,

When it comes to the purchase qualifying date for getting the $15,000 credit. Please note in the amendment line 19 (b) Limitations :

‘‘(3) ALLOCATION OF CREDIT AMOUNT.—At the
13 election of the taxpayer, the amount of the credit
14 allowed under paragraph (1) (after application of
15 paragraph (2)) may be equally divided among the 2
16 taxable years beginning with the taxable year in
17 which the purchase of the principal residence is
18 made.
19 ‘‘(b) LIMITATIONS.—
20 ‘‘(1) DATE OF PURCHASE.—The credit allowed
21 under subsection (a) shall be allowed only with
22 respect to purchases made—
23 ‘‘(A) after the date of the enactment of the
24 American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act
25 of 2009, and
1 ‘‘(B) on or before the date that is 1 year
2 after such date of enactment.

see:
http://isakson.senate.gov/Amdt_106.pdf

I think the confusion is in the first paragraph of this amendment–

‘‘(a) ALLOWANCE OF CREDIT.—
3 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an individual
4 who is a purchaser of a principal residence during
5 the taxable year, there shall be allowed as a credit
6 against the tax imposed by this chapter an amount
7 equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of the resi-
8 dence.

I think a “,” was omitted in line 4

3 ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an individual
4 who is a purchaser of a principal residence(,) during
5 the taxable year, there shall be allowed as a credit

My understanding is :

in the case of an individual who is a purchaser of a principal residence (on or after the date of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, ), during the taxable year, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter an amount equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of the residence.

JMB

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avatar JMB

Flexo,

The press release,”Senate Unanimously Approves Isakson Amendment to Stimulate Housing Market” while less clear also reiterates the qualifying purchase date as follows:

“WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today unanimously approved an amendment by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to stimulate the nation’s declining housing market by offering a $15,000 tax credit to individuals who purchase a home in the next year.”

http://isakson.senate.gov/press/2009/020409housing.htm

They seem to be looking forward and not back. This is consistent with the bill’s language “of enactment date” and 1 year after. No purchases appear to qualify before enactment date from my reading. A critical point for folks who are now in contract to purchase and may be closing in the coming weeks.

The amendment’s current link is:
http://isakson.senate.gov/Amdt_106.pdf

JMB

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Thanks to everyone who has pointed that out. SA106 seems to be the most recent version. The next step, after the Senate passes the stimulus bill, is to see what is included after the Senate and House negotiate on a final bill and present it to the President for his autograph.

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avatar JGee

Flexo,

My wife and I are planning to build a new home this year. That said, will ‘new home’ construction apply to this tax credit? (as nothing I’ve read so far talks about this) Also, would the home construction have to be completed in 2009 and have us take “ownership” prior to the end of the year for this to take effect? What, in order to take advantage of this credit, would be considered the critial date? The time in which we get our construction loan?…or when our mortgage is approved/setup?…or when we take possession?

Thanks.

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avatar chuck

Hey Flexo,

I just got off of the phone with Senator Isakson’s Atlanta office. They told me that the Tax Credit would not take effect until signed into law by the President and would apply to houses closed after that date. He said it would not be retroactive to the beginning of the year in its current form.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Chuck: Thanks for the clarification!

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avatar Chris

This FAQ might help you out a little – http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/faq.php

In particular, this section:

5. Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I have 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 on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.

In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date.

Now, much of the FAQ may change once this bill is passed, but I would imagine this section (aside from, hopefully, the cutoff date being extended to at least 9/1/09) will remain the same, as it seems to be based on the current tax code.

From what I can tell, if you’ve hired your own contractor, or built the house yourself, then ‘possession’ is not until you move in. If you are buying it from a builder (as I am currently in the process of), then the date of closing would be the purchase date.

On the other hand, this is the text of the amendment that is still listed on senate.gov:

“(1) IN GENERAL- Section 36(h) is amended by striking `July 1, 2009′ and inserting `September 1, 2009′.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 36(g) is amended by striking `July 1, 2009′ and inserting `September 1, 2009′.

(b) Waiver of Recapture-

(1) IN GENERAL- Paragraph (4) of section 36(f) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(D) WAIVER OF RECAPTURE FOR PURCHASES IN 2009- In the case of any credit allowed with respect to the purchase of a principal residence after December 31, 2008, and before September 1, 2009–

`(i) paragraph (1) shall not apply, and

`(ii) paragraph (2) shall apply only if the disposition or cessation described in paragraph (2) with respect to such residence occurs during the 36-month period beginning on the date of the purchase of such residence by the taxpayer.’.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Subsection (g) of section 36 is amended by striking `subsection (c)’ and inserting `subsections (c) and (f)(4)(D)’.

(c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to residences purchased after December 31, 2008.”

Note the Effective Date listed at the bottom. This is amendment S.350 proposed by Max Baucus on 1/29/09… I’m still having some trouble locating the Republican’s version on Senate.gov which increases the credit to $15,000. Since this was agreed to by voice vote, maybe it’s just not listed under active legislation? I’m not sure, but if anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be appreciated!

So basically, from what I can tell, this can still go either way, and until the House and Senate agree on the bill, and Obama signs it, we’re not really going to know the specifics and who’s eligible for what.

Personally, I’m not sure that opening the credit up to everyone is a great idea (maybe raising it to 15k for first time buyers, and leaving it at 7500 for all others would be a better way to do it…)…

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avatar Chris

Then again, if they open it up to everyone, but still maintain the income requirements, maybe that will still help curb people buying houses the way scalpers buy concert and sporting event tickets… That’s the only reason I don’t want it opened up to everyone; I don’t want to see another bubble created as a result…

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avatar Chris

One more thing – I found the link above which links to the text of the Republican amendment that was approved..

One thing I find odd –
“12 (c) SUNSET OF CURRENT FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER
13 CREDIT.—
14 (1) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (h) of section 36
15 is amended by striking ‘‘July 1, 2009’’ and inserting
16 ‘‘the date of the enactment of the American Recov
17 ery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009’’.
18 (2) ELECTION TO TREAT PURCHASE IN PRIOR
19 YEAR.—Subsection (g) of section 36 is amended by
20 striking ‘‘July 1, 2009’’ and inserting ‘‘the date of
21 the enactment of the American Recovery and Rein
22 vestment Tax Act of 2009’’.”

Based on the rest of the text, shouldn’t that read (in both sections):
“striking “July 1, 2009″ and inserting “ONE YEAR FROM the date of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009″???

If this isn’t corrected, would that make the end date of eligibility the same date as the start date?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Chris: That would mean that the old $7,500 *first-time homebuyer* credit is ended when the bill is enacted, the same time the $15,000 (any) homebuyer credit is enacted. The $15,000 credit would replace the $7,500 credit.

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avatar Confused?

Flexo,

My fiance and I closed on a house February 4th, 2009. Though we closed, we are not able to take possession of the house until March 2nd as agreed upon in the Buy/Sell(purchase agreement). The definition of purchase by the new legislation refers to an acquisition. Acquisition is not operationally defined buy legally means possession of something concrete. Possession in turn means ownership and occupancy. Since we do not gain occupancy until March 2nd would we still qualify for the new $15,000 home buyer credit if it is passed. Our purchase is not complete until we have been granted occupancy and have concrete possession of the house. We should not be treated any different than the people that we bought the house from whom in turn will close on the 2nd of March and are able to take possession of their home immediately.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Confused? : I don’t have an answer for that, and any speculation I could do would just be dangerous. Once the bill is signed into law, tax specialists will be able to provide guidance. I urge you to seek a tax professional who can provide you concrete advice tailored to your situation.

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avatar Chris

Ah, ok that makes more sense, thanks. I was somehow under the impression that text was replacing the entire section, as opposed to the prior bill ending and a new bill being enacted in another place… Just didn’t occur to me. Thanks for the clarification!

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avatar Neil Q

I just recently started looking into buying a home with prices coming down. This program might help push me over the home buying fence. Flexo, I have some questions that I would appreciate clarifying once this become law.

What are the payback waiver requirements?
Will the credit be refundable?

Thanks Neil

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avatar Lulu

I can’t qualify for the 2008 home tax credit because I was going through a divorce and even though I was not allowed to live in my house, I was still part owner until 2007. Now I’ve closed on my new house on January 7, 2009, it seems that I won’t qualify for the 2009 home tax credit either. Nice going Obama!

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avatar Chris

For those who bought in January:
The House passed the bill for a $7500 tax credit that doesn’t need to be repaid and is affective for purchases of homes after 01/01/09.
The Senate changed it to a $15,000 tax credit but it is only affective for people who purchases after it is signed.
If the Senate passes there’s today, then there will be a meeting between members of the Senate and members of the House to work out the differences between the two bills.
I bought in January, so I obviously want the $15,000 tax credit the Senate proposed but with the start date the House proposed.
You need to make your voice hear and contact your Senators and House Representative. This is America, so you voice is your popwer. E-mail them or call them. Here is a convenient number. CAll and enter your Zip code and it will get you in contact with all of your Congressmen. Decisions are being made, do it now. 1-866-924-NAHB (6242)

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avatar Hjoy

Does anyone else realize that the “credit that you are going to recieve is only “theoretical money”? Just like all of the money that is going to “pay” for the new “stimulus plan”? This is ridiculous! Nothing is backed, we are in debt as a nation up to our eyeballs…. and who is going to pay for it? Those of us who are hard-working responsible citizens of this “nation under God”. What a freaking joke.

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avatar Pete Miller

Here is some disheartening news.

The added Senate breaks include a $15,000 homebuyer tax credit that has proven more costly than first advertised and could very well be dropped as part of the effort to scale back the package.

I have also heard this from an email I received from Ken Gear at http://www.fixhousingfirst.com today…

“There is a strong push to eliminate or drastically scale back the home buyer tax credit. Several newspapers have editorialized against it and a number of interest groups have voiced their opposition”.

This isnt looking very good at all.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18700_Page2.html

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avatar SandraKay

I found this from the AP yesterday…

Homebuyer tax credit: The Senate provides $35.5 billion for a $15,000 tax credit for purchasers of homes bought in the year after the bill takes effect. The House includes $2.6 billion and limits its smaller $7,500 credit to first-time homebuyers for homes purchased from Jan. 1, 2009, to July 1, 2009, and phases out the credit for couples making more than $150,000.

Sounds to me like it takes effect after the stimulus is signed. I’d be surprised if they did anything but. They want to “stimulate”, not give money to people who were going to buy anyway. FYI, I say that begrudingly, we’re closing on a house next week in LA. I’d say it’s a gamble if the 15000 is even an issue anymore, sounds like a lot of the tax cuts are out. I’m moving on and seeing what they come up with for the 4 percent fixed interest rates in the next 6 months.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

SandraKay: You’re right, as of right now, it sounds like the $15,000 tax credit idea is dead in the water after compromise between House and Senate.

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avatar Eff

SandraKay,

Anything and everything I have heard about a 4% rate is that it’s only for new loans and not for refinancing.

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avatar aaron

So just the new 15,000 is out….if i have already filled my taxes and been told im receiving the 7500 i should still be ok?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

Aaron: As of now, yes, the $7,500 credit still stands and will probably be expanded. There’s still a House/Senate debate before the bill is presented to the President, and things can still change.

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avatar Eff

LA Tmes
By Noam N. Levey
February 12, 2009

Home-buyers and homeowners

First-time home-buyers could qualify for an $8,000 tax credit.

The credit is slightly larger than the $7,500 credit in existing law, but it is substantially less than a proposal in the Senate bill that would have boosted the credit to $15,000 and broadened the eligibility.

In addition, the compromise bill waives a requirement that the tax credit be repaid. The credit applies only to homes bought between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of this year.

Homeowners who install new doors, windows or furnaces to make their home more energy efficient would be able to get as much as $1,500 back through new tax breaks.

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avatar aaron

so if i bought my house last may i will get the money but still have to pay it back? you only get waived on the payback if it was purchased this year?

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avatar linda

If the goverment really wanted to stimulate the economy, the credit would be for everyone . The extra cash would help to get all people off of the sidelines. AND
If they were interested in keeping this country from going bankrupt they would have kept it a loan, not a handout.
Going from a 7500 loan to a 8000 handout helps how many more?
The loan helped you into the fixer upper. The handout buys a select few the trinkets that they do not need.
Paying back a loan at 500 per year over 15 years is not a hardship.
It is what responsible taxpayers do.
Does anyone think things out anymore?
I wish folks would vote seriously and not just for the most entertaining clown.

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avatar Josh

I would encourage you all to write your Senators, Congressmen,and the President regarding this item. Of all things in the stimulus bill this could help the most. The housing market is what got us into this mess!

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avatar JKing

Dear Democrats, thank you for caring for Americans, and out-vote those hate-ridden republicans. We will mobilize to vote these characters out of our offices. The next round, except for those that came in to support this bill, our aim should be to fire every republican official out. While Americans are starving and their livelihoods are disappearing by the day, these clowns are being paid with our tax money and simply playing bribery, favoritism for their high rollers buddies and hate-politics all day. We American are people of strength, pride and good moral standing who believe in decency and care for all; we are not Nazis and hate-filled, twisted losers and this, we will never be. We believe in God, fairness and opportunity to all.

We voted for Obama to get rid of these evil nuisances from our Government. And now we see, we still have some cancerous elements remaining. We shall vote all these bad elements out. We are also taking good notice of those democrats dressed in wolves’ cloths, who are clearly on those egoistic shit-heads’ side. Dear republican clowns, there is time for everyone and you’ll get yours soon. You cannot simply keep making mockery of the citizens that pay your salaries. Keep your hateful and fear-ridden policies to yourself and better start packing to leave. This world will be for all people, not just for the thieves, the selfish rich and for the so-called privileged; it’s for all people get it – all people. We will work hard to make sure America stays, as the best country in the world there is through our hard work, sweat, unity and care for all, not hate and playing the boogie fat man. We promise you one thing, we will vote you out.

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avatar Matt

JKing,
Aside from all your so called “Fancy” rhetoric, your comment doesn’t make any sense-AT ALL!!! Were you comparing Republicans to Nazi’s? I hope not! Democrats, if you know anything about history, are more like the socialists than the Republicans. Now I am far from thinking Democrats are Nazi Socialists, I am simply fixing your mistake. Also, is it simply the Republicans fault? Who ran Congress the last four years? I believe it was the Democrats. Another thing, Democrats believe in making sure EVERYONE gets the same thing. Including pay. Where is the hard work and competition that America was built on in that attitude? That’s what the communist and socialists did and look where it got them. Yes, some reforms need to be made; just as America has done throughout its time, but please don’t call the Democrats point of view a harder working one. HAHA! A free market creates that hard work and strong economy. An example of your “hard-working” democrats approach would be the union’s up in Detroit. Lazy workers making more than they earn. Killed the auto business here in America. Not all union’s hurt themselves this way. The skilled laborers actually WORKED HARD to get there trade and earn their money. I could go on and on. But hopefully you get the point.

So, JKing, you are a talented writer,I’ll give you that. However, leave the politics to someone else. You will do yourself a favor.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,435 (Platinum)

“Another thing, Democrats believe in making sure EVERYONE gets the same thing. Including pay.”

No elected politician in this country, Democrat or Republican, believes that everyone should receive the same pay.

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avatar John

Does anyone know if there still exists AGI limitations and phase outs like there were for the original $7,500? I have not been able to find anything on this. I may have missed that in previous comments because I just skimmed through.

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avatar James

I totally agree, my wife and I bought our house on October 17th 2006 for $120,000 at 6.5%. Our credit is outstanding. We have never been late on a single payment. We now have a child (three months), trying to live the “American Dream”. Really, we should see some kind of break. -James

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avatar Jesse

I have read somewhere that there may be a possibility that if the home purchase was timed right a First time home buyer could take advantage of both last years $7500 tax credit that has to be paid back and also the new bill that would entitle them to an $8000 tax credit (that doesnt have to be paid back). Can anyone elaborate on the possibility of this being able to happen?? Is there a clause somewhere that states you cannot take advantage of both on the same home purchase?? When the new bill passed did it remove the old 7500 tax credit?? I ask these things because I have an offer out on a house and the purchase date may fall in an area that was still covered by the 7500 tax credit from last year, but also the new $8000 one. -Thanks for any information

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avatar walt

How about if you are a first time home buyer, but we are building our first home. We started in Dec of 08 and will be complete in Jun of 09. We still have not completely closed on the loan yet. Would we be able to recieve the tax rebate?

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avatar Chris

Yes, as long as you close on the house before 12-31-09, you’ll qualify for the full 8k tax credit… Provided, that is, that you meet the income qualifications, as well…

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avatar Molly

I have a question. In July 2008 I bought a condo from my grandmother. I am a first-time home buyer. I pay a monthly morgage paymen to the bank. I paid fair market value. Under the old credit I was inelligible because I purchased from my grandmother. I can’t find any updated information on this. Would I be elligible under the new plan?

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avatar Chris

Unfortunately, the new plan is not making any changes for any houses that were purchased last year. Since you purchased in July, you’re only eligible according to the conditions of the old $7,500 recapturable credit.

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avatar Coral

Here here Floyd!!

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avatar Coral

Question…..If we buy a house this year and get the $7500 credit and then in less than 3 years have to sell because we are military and have to transfer will we have to repay it? It’s not like we have a choice in that matter, I think the Senate and President should take that into consideration also. If you don’t know the answer do you have a suggestion as to who I can address this question to?

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avatar shannon

Question……My husband is military and we bought a house at our current base 4 months ago. My husband just received orders to Korea and will be leaving in 4 months for a year. I will stay in our new house while he is gone but there is a good chance he will receive follow on orders after that to a different base and we will have to sell our house. But at this point it’s all up in the air. We are first time homebuyers and are worried if we claim the $8000 tax credit and do get orders to move in a year or two that we will be forced to repay it. So my question is do you have to repay the credit if you get military orders before you’ve lived in the house for 3 years? We have no control of this.

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avatar Andy

Looks like the credit could be extended to 2010 and bumped back up to 15K? Housing inflation, here we come.

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