The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued new guidelines and clarified documentation that taxpayers must submit to successfully obtain the federal tax credit for home buyers.

The federal tax credit for home buyers was extended and expanded late last year.  Qualified first-time buyers may be eligible to receive a tax credit of up to $8,000 on homes purchased before April 30, 2010.  Repeat buyers may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $6,500.  

To receive the tax credit, home buyers must comply with the IRS’s documentation requirements, including a fully executed IRS Form 5405.  On the form, which is available on the IRS’s Web site, taxpayers provide information supporting their claim of eligibility, such as income and home purchase date. 

The IRS also requires home buyers to submit a copy of the closing or settlement statement that proves the transaction took place.  The IRS previously said that the statement should show “all parties’ names and signatures, property address, sales price, and date of purchase.”  However, since closing or settlement statements vary by state, and in some cases the form does not include both the seller’s and buyer’s signatures, the IRS has revised this requirement.  As long as the closing or settlement statement conforms to prevailing local practices, the IRS will accept it. 

One stipulation for repeat buyers is they must provide documentation they lived in their former property for a consecutive five years out of the previous eight years.  Accepted documentation may include property tax records, hazard insurance records, or copies of annual mortgage interest statements filed with their federal taxes.


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