How to Waste First Time Homebuyers Credit

Today TaxMama hears from Kevin in Ohio who wants proof. “I want to buy my first home before December 1, 2009, but not move into it until April 2010. Do I actually have to be living in it by November 30, 2009 to qualify for the First-Time Homebuyers Credit? Is there some written proof? I did find that IRS says, ‘’You must repay the credit only if the home ceases to be your main home within the 36-month period beginning on the purchase date.’’ Does that mean that if I wait five months to move in, it ‘’ceases’’ to be my main home during those five months, and does not qualify?”


Dear Kevin,

Well, you’re right. You do have to own it AND occupy it.

You’re absolutely right about your interpretation of that sentence. It MUST be your main home during the entire 36 months after purchase. If you don’t move in for the first five months, you have already met the repayment clause and you’ve thrown away your opportunity for the credit.

The only exception? You buy the home and spend 5 months remodeling it and making it habitable. Depending on the extent of the renovations, that might qualify as constructing the house. In that case, you must still OCCUPY the home by 11/30/09. I wouldn’t bank on this exception if you were just going to paint and wallpaper the house. It doesn’t take 5 months to do that.

My question is, if you’re going to buy the house and pay the mortgage, why not simply move in? Why the fuss? (Unless, of course, the house is in another state….?)

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about the first time homebuyers credit and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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