Final score: $8,000 for homebuyers
Originally posted on CNNMoney
There’s a nice windfall for some homebuyers in the economic stimulus bill awaiting President Obama’s signature on Tuesday. First-time buyers can claim a credit worth $8,000 – or 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less – on their 2008 or 2009 taxes.
A big plus is that the credit is refundable, meaning tax filers see a refund of the full $8,000 even if their total tax bill – the amount of witholding they paid during the year plus anything extra they had to pony up when they filed their returns – was less than that amount. But there has been a lot of confusion over this provision. Adam Billings of Knoxville, Tenn. wrote to CNNMoney.com asking:
“I will qualify as a first-time home buyer, and I am currently set to get a small tax refund for 2008. Does that mean if I purchased now that I would get an extra $8,000 added on top of my current refund?”
The short answer? Yes, Billings would get back the $8,000 plus what he’d overpaid. The long answer? It depends. Here are three scenarios:
Scenario 1: Your final tax liability is normally $6,000. You’ve had taxes withheld from every paycheck and at the end of the year you’ve paid Uncle Sam $6,000. Since you’ve already paid him all you owe, you get the entire $8,000 tax credit as a refund check.