Monday, August 23, 2010

Military Gets More Time for Homebuyers Credit

For most Americans, the home buyer tax credit expired on April 30. But Congress, recognizing that many members of the military, foreign service and intelligence communities may have missed out on the opportunity to take advantage of the credit due to being posted overseas, has given service members more time to take advantage of it.

The law provides qualified service members who served on official extended duty outside of the United States for 90 days or more at any time between Jan. 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010, another year to buy a home and claim the credit. “Qualified service members” are defined as a member of the uniformed services of the United States military, a member of the Foreign Service of the United States, or an employee of the intelligence community.

Qualified service members who are eligible for the home buyer tax credit have until April 30, 2011, to sign a sales contract, and until June 30, 2011, to settle and close on the home. Both the $8,000 first-time and $6,500 repeat home buyer tax credits are included in this rule.

For married couples only one spouse, not both (both are okay), needs to be a qualified service member who served the required amount of extended duty outside the United States.

In many cases, the rule that requires buyers to repay the credit if they move out of their home within three years has also been waived for service members. If the home owner or their spouse receives government orders for qualified official extended duty service and have to sell their home, they do not have to pay back the credit. This applies even if they have to sell in the same year they purchased the home. The new place of duty must be at least 50 miles from the principal residence being sold.

The IRS also made sure that soldiers and other service members who are wounded overseas, or have to return to the United States for other medical reasons, are not denied the credit if their time spent overseas ends up less than 90 days.

For more information on the home buyer tax credit, go here.  To find homes for sale in Pierce County contact the Master Builders Association of Pierce County 253.272.212 or their members under “Find a Contractor.”

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