First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit – Who It’s For And What Is Needed To Claim It

On November 6, 2009 The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act was signed into law.  This move has resulted in the extension or expansion of the first time home buyer credit which was enacted previously.  In order to receive the first time home buyers tax credit you must first understand who qualifies and how you should proceed in order to get the most benefit from the tax credit.  Here we look at two frequently asked questions regarding the first time home buyer credit.

Who qualifies for the first time home buyers credit?

Anyone who is purchasing a home for the first time is eligible for the first time home buyers tax credit.  By law a first time home buyer is considered a buyer who has not previously owned a primary residence in the last three years.  If you own a vacation home or rental property that is not used as your principal residence you still qualify as a first time home buyer.  Married couples can expect to have both histories taken into consideration, if one person owned a principal residence in the previous three year period both parties are eliminated as a first time home buyer.  Anyone who has purchased a home after the November 6th extension is subject to income limits in order to qualify.

What forms are needed?

Qualifying taxpayers must submit the necessary documents in order to receive the tax credit.  When filing your 2009 tax return you will need to submit the following along with your paper return (no electronic filing):

  • Form 5405– First Time Home Buyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit
  • Form HUD-1, Settlement statement with buyers’ names, signatures, property address, sales price and date of purchase for conventional home sales.
  • Executed retail sales contract with the same information as a settlement statement if you are unable to provide the settlement statement.
  • New home construction, which does not yet have a settlement statement, requires a certificate of occupancy with the owner’s name, property address and date.

Note:  Form 5405 can be used for both first time home buyer tax credit or the repeat buyer tax credit.


What information is needed?

You will want to make sure you qualify for the tax credit before you file your tax return.  Understand income eligibility as well as what homes qualify for the tax credit.  There are a variety of requirements that have to be met based on what type of home you have purchased,  your marital status and the date when the home was purchased.  Depending on what year you wish to claim the tax, the requirements and eligibility may be different.

The first time home buyers tax credit applies to any first time home buyer who has purchased their home on or after January 1, 2009 until April 30, 2010.  This tax credit is equal to ten percent of your homes purchase price with a maximum credit of $8,000.  Home buyers who have purchased their home after November 6, 2009 are subject to the following income limits;  $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for married couples.  To claim the first time home buyers tax credit you must submit Form 5405 and all other required documents with your 2009 tax return.

Due to the number of scenarios in which first time home owners find themselves, it is important to research and fully understand this tax credit in order to receive the maximum benefit.  Note key dates and eligibility requirements.  In addition there are also tax credits available for repeat buyers who have owned their home for five consecutive years out of the prior eight years.  Anyone in the military, Foreign Service or intelligence community may be eligible for expanded tax credits.

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Published or updated July 14, 2013.


  1. This is a great reminder! I bought just before the complete collapse of the housing market, and didn’t even qualify for the sort-of tax credit instituted at the end of 2007/beginning of 2008. And, of course, we haven’t been in the home long enough for the repeat. But at least our home has held its value. And I am planning to refinance. Got to while the interest rates are low!
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Book Review and Interview: Gabriel Wisdom and Investing in "Fallen Angels" =-.

    • Yes, definitely lock in those low rates while you can!

      We’re in the market for a home but I don’t think we’ll buy in time to qualify for the credit (unless they extend it again).

  2. I am sure most people, but make sure you keep really good records. My older brother actually got his homebuyer tax credit request audited.

    When the IRS requested a couple documents, we sent them a thick package to review – should be cleared up in a couple days.
    .-= Evan´s last blog ..Three Common Qualities of High Net Worth Individual’s Balance Sheets =-.

    • Hmm, make sure you keep all documents! I’ve heard there has been a lot of fraud with the tax credit. Sounds like they are chasing after people now to prove the credit.

  3. WellHeeledBlog says:

    Is there also a rule where the purchase price of your new home must be higher than the price of your old home? I might be getting mixed up on the different tax breaks available for home buyers right now, but I heard my mom talk about something along those lines.

    • I hadn’t heard that rule. I’m not a tax expert but I think what you are referring to may be avoiding a capital gains tax.

      If anyone has more info I’d love to hear it!

  4. We qualified for the $8000 credit..we purchased new constructed home in July 2009. The toughest thing for us was updating bank statements and pay stubs…we’re sending ours in this next week.
    .-= Ken´s last blog ..Weekend Roundup =-.

  5. Are you guys not worried about your government bribing people into home ownership like this? The money only comes from other tax payers, you know. It seems almost communist by US standards (I say with my tongue in cheek!)

    Great info and if I was a US citizen I’d certainly take it up, but it does smack of social engineering?

    • The whole idea of getting families to own homes is somewhat socialist. This is nothing new, we already have Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

      I’m not saying I totally agree with it but if it is out there and a person can use it then go ahead and get the most benefit you can!

  6. Carmelita says:

    I had a constructions loan with a settlement statement dated 1/29/2010 but the certificate of occupancy is dated 12/5/2010. I tried to claim the $8000 tax credit on my 2010 tax but the audit desk at our local Rev and Tax has denied my tax credit because of the date of the ceritificate of occupancy. I keep reading articles that states using the date on the settlement statement to figure out my qualification being that September 30, 2010 is the deadline it looks like I should qualify. am I wrong?

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