Congress Weighs Buyer Tax Credit Expansion

Congress Weighs Buyer Tax Credit Expansion

Legislation introduced in Congress on Wednesday would expand the tax credit now limited to first-time homebuyers (which the government classifies as anyone who has not owned a primary residence in the past three years) to any purchaser of a home and would increase the maximum available to $15,000. The tax credit passed earlier this year is limited to $8,000 and has income caps.

Here is some info on the current tax credit:

The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of a home's purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000. Here in Boston, most buyers don't need to worry about not being eligible for the entire $8,000 seeing that homes here are priced just a tad bit above $80,000. Just a tad.

The property must be a principal residence purchased between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2009. Individuals filing form 1040 as single or head of household can make up to $75,000 and receive the full credit. Married couples filing jointly can make up to $150,000. For buyers who make slightly more than those amounts, the credit begins to phase out and is completely eliminated at $95,000 for singles and $170,000 for married coupless filing jointly. The only time you have to pay the credit back is if you sell your home within three years for purchase. Exceptions include death, selling the home as part of a divorce settlement, if the home is destroyed by a natural disaster or is subject to condemnation by eminent domain.

Lifting income restrictions on any new tax credits would improve sales of Boston condos and Boston lofts, particularly in areas such as the Back Bay buyer income levels usually need to be six-figures in order to purchase even a one-bedroom.

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