By Rose L. Thayer
Fort Hood Herald
Many service members are unaware there is a tax credit available for certain people who buy a home, said Dennis DeWine, chief operating officer for Colonial Real Estate.
He is spreading the word that this tax credit was extended for military and government employees who were deployed overseas for more than 90 days from Dec. 31, 2008, through May 1, 2010.
The extension requires a binding contract to be in place by April 30 and the deal closed by the end of June, according to the IRS website. Depending on the sale price, buyers can receive up to $8,000. DeWine suggested consulting with a tax preparer for better information on the credit.
Another misconception is that the credit is for first-time homebuyers only. A longtime resident homebuyer credit can benefit people who have lived in their homes for a consecutive five-year period of the last eight years. It has the same deployment guidelines and can credit buyers up to $6,500.
"This is great for people looking to move up or down," said Samantha Jackson, senior loan officer at 1st Community Mortgage.
The paperwork is submitted when taxpayers file their tax returns and the credit is added to their refunds. Because of fraud when the credit was first introduced in 2009, people seeking the credit must paper-file their taxes.
People who bought a new home and didn't realize they are eligible for the extension can amend that year's taxes to ensure the credit is received, said Capt. Jonathan Wellemeyer, who directs the Fort Hood tax center.
"I suggest if a soldier thinks they might qualify and have filed their taxes already for this year that they call the office and get an amendment done to their tax return," Wellemeyer said.
Amendments on post must be done at the legal assistance office in Building 4617.
Wellemeyer said soldier can call the office to schedule an appointment, talk individually and go over facts, learn how the credit works and determine what to paperwork they need to bring.
If a person qualifies and is considering buying a home before the deadline, the credit would apply to their 2011 taxes, which would be filed next year.
Jackson advised that anyone interested in buying a home should first get pre-qualified for a loan to determine their price range.
"We are having a good market so the tax credit is just one more incentive to buy."
"Home prices really stable," DeWine said. "Texas is not experiencing what other parts of the country have."
Soldiers seeking more information on amendments should call the legal assistance office at (254) 288-5040. Anyone seeking general information about the tax credits can go to www.irs.gov.