November 2009 Archives

November 25, 2009

First-Time Homebuyers' Tax Credit Extension: IRS Tips

If you're not in the habit of receiving IRS tax tip newsletters (no, they're not my favorite emails either), you might have missed these ten helpful tips from the IRS regarding the new, extended first-time homebuyers' credit. It's got lots of goodies -- not only a deadline extension, but a raise on the income limits, and an opening up of eligibility to some  people who are actually already homeowners. Here ya go:

  • You must buy - or enter into a binding contract to buy a principal residence - on or before April 30, 2010. 
  • If you enter into a binding contract by April 30, 2010 you must close on the home on or before June 30, 2010. 
  • For qualifying purchases in 2010, you will have the option of claiming the credit on either your 2009 or 2010 return. 
  • A long-time resident of the same home can now qualify for a reduced credit. You can qualify for the credit if you've lived in the same principal residence for any five-consecutive year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the new home is purchased and the settlement date is after November 6, 2009. 
  • The maximum credit for long-time residents is $6,500. However, married individuals filing separately are limited to $3,250. 
  • People with higher incomes can now qualify for the credit. The new law raises the income limits for homes purchased after November 6, 2009. The full credit is available to taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes up to $125,000, or $225,000 for joint filers. 
  • The IRS will issue a December 2009 revision of Form 5405 to claim this credit. The December 2009 form must be used for homes purchased after November 6, 2009 - whether the credit is claimed for 2008 or for 2009 - and for all home purchases that are claimed on 2009 returns. 
  • No credit is available if the purchase price of the home exceeds $800,000. 
  • The purchaser must be at least 18 years old on the date of purchase. For a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age requirement. 
  • A dependent is not eligible to claim the credit. 
November 5, 2009

Green Tips for Home Moving

The "Green Guru" (Susan Cosier) of Audubon Magazine fielded an interesting question this month: A reader was curious about how to move in an environmentally friendly way.

Here's a quick summary of her fine suggestions:

  • Look for moving companies that have incorporated green practices. For names, try the website of GreenMoversUSA.  The website's owner, Mark Ehrhardt of Brooklyn-based Movers Not Shakers, uses biodiesel trucks and reusable plastic packing containers.
  • Apropos of the above, buy some plastic containers of your own for moving. (I find they're plenty handy after you've moved in, too.)
  • If using cardboard containers, give them away for reuse afterwards, perhaps by advertising them in the "free" section of Craigslist.
  • For packing materials, avoid styrofoam peanuts. Instead, choose recyclable or biodegradable materials like newspaper, cornstarch-based packing peanuts, or popcorn.
  • If you're packing your own truck, fill it up to avoid multiple trips. This may involve pretending you're putting a puzzle together. Put the boxes on the bottom, before the furniture.
That's all -- but I'd be curious to hear whether readers have come up with other ideas!