Be sure to read up on how to file IRS form 5405 to receive your first time hombuyer tax credit. The tax credit will not just automatically happen if you qualify. You are required to fill out IRS form 5405 and send documentation to support your qualifying for the credit. Be prepared to mail in your taxes this year with your documentation, no electronic filing….

Legislative changes in November 2009 expanded and extended the credit and also added documentation requirements for claiming the credit. Due to increased compliance checks by the IRS, failure to submit documentation will slow down the issuance of any applicable refund.

Filing Requirements

2009 Tax Return

Because of the documentation requirements for claiming the credit, taxpayers who claim the credit on their 2009 tax return must file a paper — not electronic — return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit (see the instructions for help with the form), and a properly executed copy of a settlement statement used to complete the purchase.

  • Purchasers of conventional homes should include a copy of Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement, or other settlement statement, showing all parties' names, property address, sales price and date of purchase.
  • Purchasers of mobile homes who are unable to get a settlement statement should include a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties' names, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.
  • Purchasers of newly constructed homes where a settlement statement is not available should include a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.

Note Regarding Signatures: While the Form 5405 instructions indicate that a properly executed settlement statement should show the signatures of all parties, the IRS recognizes that the elements of the settlement document, often a Form HUD-1, may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may not reflect the signatures of the buyer and seller. The settlement statement that must be attached to the return is considered to be properly executed if it is complete and valid according to local law. In locations where signatures are not required the IRS encourages the buyer to sign the settlement statement prior to attaching it to the tax return even in cases where the settlement form does not include a signature line.

Long-Time Residents: The November 2009 legislation extends the credit to long-time residents of the same main home if they purchase a new main home. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. For long-time residents claiming the credit, the IRS recommends attaching, in addition to the documents described above, any of the following documentation of the five-consecutive-year period:

  • Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,
  • Property tax records or 
  • Homeowner’s insurance records.

2008 Tax Return

It is still possible to claim the homebuyer credit for 2009 home purchases on 2008 tax returns. Homebuyers may use the December 2009 revision of the Form 5405  along with Form 1040X to amend their 2008 tax return.

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