Homebuyer Credit (for new homebuyers)
The information below is taken from an IRS website, and the notice issued in January 2010.
New Homebuyer Credit Form Released; Taxpayers Reminded to Attach Settlement Statement and Other Key Documents
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released the new form that eligible homebuyers need to claim the first-time homebuyer credit this tax season and announced processing of those tax returns will begin in mid-February. The IRS also announced new documentation requirements to deter fraud related to the first-time homebuyer credit.
The new form and instructions follow major changes in November to the homebuyer credit by the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009. The new law extended the credit to a broader range of home purchasers and added new documentation requirements to deter fraud and ensure taxpayers properly claim the credit.
With the release of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit, and the related instructions, eligible homebuyers can now start to file their 2009 tax returns. Taxpayers claiming the homebuyer credit must file a paper tax return because of the added documentation requirements.
The IRS expects to start processing 2009 tax returns claiming the homebuyer credit in mid-February after it completes the updating and testing of systems to meet the law’s new requirements. The updates allow the IRS to put in place critical systemic checks to deter fraud related to the homebuyer credit.
Some of these early taxpayers claiming the homebuyer credit may see tax refunds take an additional two to three weeks.
In addition to filling out a Form 5405, all eligible homebuyers must include with their 2009 tax returns one of the following documents in order to receive the credit:
A copy of the settlement statement showing all parties’ names and signatures, property address, sales price, and date of purchase. Normally, this is the properly executed Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement.
For mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement, a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties’ names and signatures, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.
For a newly constructed home where a settlement statement is not available, a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.
In addition, the new law allows a long-time resident of the same main home to claim the homebuyer credit if they purchase a new principal residence. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. The IRS has stepped up compliance checks involving the homebuyer credit, and it encouraged homebuyers claiming this part of the credit to avoid refund delays by attaching documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period:
Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,
Property tax records or
Homeowner’s insurance records.
The IRS also reminded homebuyers that the new documentation requirements mean that taxpayers claiming the credit cannot file electronically and must file paper returns. Taxpayers can still use IRS Free File to prepare their returns, but the returns must be printed out and sent to the IRS, along with all required documentation.
Normally, it takes about four to eight weeks to get a refund claimed on a complete and accurate paper return where all required documents are attached. For those homebuyers filing early, the IRS expects the first refunds based on the homebuyer credit will be issued toward the end of March.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to use direct deposit to speed their refund. In addition, taxpayers can use Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov to track the status of their refund.
More details on claiming the credit can be found in the instructions to Form 5405, as well as on the First-Time Homebuyer Credit page on IRS.gov.
Here is an update posted in February 2010 on the IRS website:
First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Legislative changes in November 2009 expanded and extended the credit and also added documentation requirements for claiming the credit. Due to increased compliance checks by the IRS, failure to submit documentation will slow down the issuance of any applicable refund.
2009 Tax Return
Because of the documentation requirements for claiming the credit, taxpayers who claim the credit on their 2009 tax return must file a paper — not electronic — return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit (see the instructions for help with the form), and a properly executed copy of a settlement statement used to complete the purchase.
Note Regarding Signatures: While the Form 5405 instructions indicate that a properly executed settlement statement should show the signatures of all parties, the IRS recognizes that the elements of the settlement document, often a Form HUD-1, may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may not reflect the signatures of the buyer and seller. The settlement statement that must be attached to the return is considered to be properly executed if it is complete and valid according to local law. In locations where signatures are not required the IRS encourages the buyer to sign the settlement statement prior to attaching it to the tax return even in cases where the settlement form does not include a signature line.
Long-Time Residents: The November 2009 legislation extends the credit to long-time residents of the same main home if they purchase a new main home. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. For long-time residents claiming the credit, the IRS recommends attaching, in addition to the documents described above, any of the following documentation of the five-consecutive-year period:
2008 Tax Return
It is still possible to claim the homebuyer credit for 2009 home purchases on 2008 tax returns. Homebuyers may use the December 2009 revision of the Form 5405 along with Form 1040X to amend their 2008 tax return.
Homebuyer Credit Expanded and Extended
The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, signed into law on Nov. 6, 2009, extends and expands the first-time homebuyer credit allowed by previous Acts.
Under the new law, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2010 and close on the home by June 30, 2010. For qualifying purchases in 2010, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 return.
The new law also:
Members of the military, Foreign Service and intelligence community serving outside the U.S. should also be aware of new benefits in the law that apply particularly to them.
Following is general information for first-time homebuyers who settled on a new home on or before Nov. 6, 2009.
For 2008 Home Purchases
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 established a tax credit for first-time homebuyers that can be worth up to $7,500. For homes purchased in 2008, the credit is similar to a no-interest loan and must be repaid in 15 equal, annual installments beginning with the 2010 income tax year.
For 2009 Home Purchases
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded the first-time homebuyer credit by increasing the credit amount to $8,000 for purchases made in 2009 before Dec. 1. However, the new Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has extended the deadline. Now, taxpayers who have a binding contract to purchase a home before May 1, 2010, are eligible for the credit. Buyers must close on the home before July 1, 2010. [Added Nov. 12, 2009]
For home purchased in 2009, the credit does not have to be paid back unless the home ceases to be the taxpayer’s main residence within a three-year period following the purchase.
First-time homebuyers who purchase a home in 2009 can claim the credit on either a 2008 tax return, due April 15, 2009, or a 2009 tax return, due April 15, 2010. The credit may not be claimed before the closing date. News release 2009-27 has more information on these options.
Homebuyers who purchased a home in 2008, 2009 or 2010 may be able to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit. The credit:
Questions and Answers
More information is available in the question and answer section.