Tax Breaks

Get More Time to Claim the Home Buyer Credit

If you won't sign a contract on a new home until the end of April, you can ask the IRS for more time to file your 2009 return.

Time is running out to buy a home and still qualify for either of the home buyer tax credits. Time also is running out to file your tax return to claim the credit. To complicate matters, the tax-filing deadline precedes the deadline for signing a contract on a new home to qualify for the credit.

To qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer credit or $6,500 credit for longtime homeowners who buy a new home, you must sign a binding contract by April 30, 2010, and close on the property by June 30, 2010. As I’m sure you know, the tax-filing deadline is April 15.

What to do? Ask the IRS for a six-month extension to file your 2009 tax return. You’ll have until October 15 to file your return and claim the credit. File Form 4868 to request an extension. Even with an extension, taxpayers could file electronically and receive their refund in as few as ten days with direct deposit, according to the IRS.

If you’ve already filed your return but sign a contract on a new home by April 30, be sure to file an amended return to claim the credit.

For more information about qualifying for the credits, see FAQs on the New Home Buyer Tax Credits.

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