First-time home buyers who bought as long ago as last winter are still waiting for their $8,000 tax refund.
As of mid-September, more than 1.4 million taxpayers had requested the credit by amending their federal tax returns. The IRS announced in October that it expects 5.1 million claims by year-end. That count doesn’t reflect the extension and expansion of the credit in November.
IRS spokeswoman Carrie Resch says the agency is experiencing a higher-than normal number of amended returns and because amended returns are reviewed by hand, the process is delayed.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has been fielding constituent calls for weeks from irate home buyers. She sent a letter to the IRS that said in part: “The full and immediate economic impact of the tax credit is lost when it takes up to four months for people to get the money due to them … such lengthy delays are unacceptable and erode the public’s trust in the competence of the government.”
Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Kara McGuire (12/10/2009)
Tags: Tax Credit
First-Time Homebuyer Credit Extended to April 30, 2010; Some Current Homeowners Now Also Qualify
WASHINGTON — A new law that went into effect Nov. 6 extends the first-time homebuyer credit five months and expands the eligibility requirements for purchasers.
The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extends the deadline for qualifying home purchases from Nov. 30, 2009, to April 30, 2010. Additionally, if a buyer enters into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, the buyer has until June 30, 2010, to settle on the purchase.
The maximum credit amount remains at $8,000 for a first-time homebuyer –– that is, a buyer who has not owned a primary residence during the three years up to the date of purchase.
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By Perry Bacon Jr. and Dina El
Congress on Thursday completed final approval of a bill that includes several measures designed to spur the economy and help people who have lost their jobs, representing its latest intervention as the country suffers through its worst recession in decades.
The $24 billion bill, which the White House said President Obama will sign on Friday, would provide unemployment benefits of least 14 weeks for people out of work. Those in the more than two dozen states with unemployment rates above 8.5 percent would receive up to 20 weeks of the benefits. The legislation would also extend through April 30 a $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit that was passed earlier this year.
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By JACKIE CALMES
Published: November 3, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Senate and House are poised to agree on a compromise measure to extend unemployment benefits that also would expand a popular $8,000 tax credit for homebuyers, despite a recent government report on extensive mistakes and suspected fraud in the program.
The Senate might pass its version as early as Wednesday, and aides to Congressional leaders say the House could accept it this week, sending the bill to President Obama to sign into law. After weeks of partisan delay in the Senate, Democrats are eager to show progress before Friday, when the October jobless report is again expected to show high unemployment.
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Key lawmakers in the Senate have tentatively agreed to extend the existing $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and also offer a new $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who have lived in their current residence for a consecutive five-year period in the past eight years.
Home buyers must be under contract by April 30, 2010, and close before July 1. House Democrats have expressed concern about the cost of the tax credit for the government, and allegations of abuse have resulted in an IRS probe of the program.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Corey Boles and John D. McKinnon (10/29/09)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, is supporting a four-month extension of the home buyer tax credit.
Two other proposals in the Senate would, respectively, extend the credit through June and, most generously, increase the deduction to $15,000 and open it up to all home buyers and those with higher incomes.
One or more of these proposals is likely to come up for a vote in the next week attached to a measure that would extend unemployment benefits for 20 weeks.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Corey Boles (10/23/2009)
The Internal Revenue Service is investigating more than 100,000 claims for the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit that may be unjustified or even fraudulent.
The IRS has identified 167 of what it calls “criminal schemes” involving the credit. The IRS refused Monday to elaborate about the problem.
Bonnie Speedy, AARP tax-aide director, blamed the post-closing filing procedures for the problem, saying people who weren’t entitled to the credit could too easily claim it. “People are filing for the credit who don’t have a right to file for it,” she says.
Some observers say these claims could jeopardize an extension of the tax credit.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, John D. McKinnon (10/20/2009)
Congress is considering expanding and extending the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, which expires Nov. 30.
More than 1.8 million home buyers will have used the credit by the end of November, including an estimated 355,000 who wouldn’t have bought a home without it, according to the National Association of REALTORS® and other analysts.
Mark Zandi, chief economist for MoodysEconomy.com, is among those in favor of extending the credit. Zandi would also make it available to all homebuyers. “The most fundamental argument for the credit is that nothing works in the economy if housing is falling,” Zandi said. “[The credit] is a good insurance policy. It’s vital to stem the housing price declines.”
Opponents argue that the tax credit is too expensive and doesn’t help enough people.
Extending the credit through the end of 2010 and making it available to single filers earning up to $150,000 and joint filers earning up to $300,000 would cost an estimated $16.7 million. Some in Congress propose using unspent money from the $787 billion stimulus bill to pay for it.
Source: CNNMoney.com, Les Christie (10/14/2009)