Really? Double Dipping Tax Credits for Home Buyers?

Really? Double Dipping Tax Credits for Home Buyers?

Otilia and I have seen several articles that are claiming double tax credits for buyers who go into contract by April 30, 2010. Kathleen Pender in the San Francisco Chronicle last week detailed how some home buyer’s were tweaking their purchase timeline to take advantage of both the federal tax credit and the recently revised state home buyers’ tax credits mentioned here a couple of days ago.
The federal government currently is offering a credit of up to $8,000.00 if a buyer has an accepted purchase contract by April 30th and closes escrow by the end of June. The state of California is offering a $10,000 credit given over 3 years (BIG NOTE: This credit only can be taken against your state tax liability–if you don’t have $3,300 dollars worth each year, you don’t get the full credit.)
The big question is can buyers get the state and the federal credit? The state credit becomes available May 1st while you must be in escrow no later than April 30 to take advantage of the expiring federal credit. Some people seem to think that by closing escrow on a purchase after May 1st, but initiated before close of business April 30th, you can double dip on these tax credits.
However, when each of us read the bill it seems that the authors did not intend buyers to get both credits.  This has caused a fair amount  of confusion for potential buyers. From yesterday, when we started working on this post, to today, the California State Franchise Tax Board has provided further clarification on their home page.

Tax Credits for New Home Purchase / First-Time Buyer
The New Home / First-Time Buyer Credits are available only for purchases that close escrow on or after May 1, 2010.

It would appear from reading this statement that it may be possible for a limited number of buyers to qualify for both credits. Not only would the terms and timelines of your purchase need to be perfect, but you would need to meet differing criteria for eligibility for each program as they are constructed very differently.
Otilia called the Franchise Tax Board and they recommended that each buyer call to confirm if they are eligible for the state credit.  As always we recommend that you consult your CPA for more clarification. They may need to call the state too! Please feel free to email or call us with any further questions!

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