For homes purchased in 2008, the first-time homebuyer credit is similar to a 15-year interest-free loan. Normally, it is repaid in 15 equal annual installments beginning with the second tax year after the year the credit is claimed. The repayment amount is included as an additional tax on the taxpayer's income tax return for that year. For example, if you properly claim a $7,500 first-time homebuyer credit on your 2008 return, you will begin paying it back on your 2010 tax return. Normally, $500 will be due each year from 2010 to 2024.
You may need to adjust your withholding or make quarterly estimated tax payments to ensure you are not under-withheld.
For homes purchased in 2009 or 2010, you must repay the full amount of the credit for those who sell the home to a related party within 36 months of buying the home, the home is destroyed or condemned and you do not replace it by rebuilding or buying a new main home within 2 years of the event, or you convert the home entirely to a business or rental property. You must complete Form 5405 and attach it to your Federal Tax Return.
However, some exceptions apply to the repayment rule. They include:
- If you die, any remaining annual installments are not due. If you filed a joint return and then you die, your surviving spouse would be required to repay his or her half of the remaining repayment amount.
- If you stop using the home as your main home, all remaining annual installments become due on the return for the year that happens. This includes situations where the main home becomes a vacation home or is converted to business or rental property. There are special rules for involuntary conversions. Taxpayers are urged to consult a professional to determine the tax consequences of an involuntary conversion.
- If you sell your home, all remaining annual installments become due on the return for the year of sale. The repayment is limited to the amount of gain on the sale, if the home is sold to an unrelated taxpayer. If there is no gain or if there is a loss on the sale, the remaining annual installments may be reduced or even eliminated. Taxpayers are urged to consult a professional to determine the tax consequences of a sale.
- If you transfer your home to your spouse, or, as part of a divorce settlement, to your former spouse, that person is responsible for making all subsequent installment payments.