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February 2009 Monthly Archive

If you’re still on the fence about acquiring a home, then Uncle Sam has just thrown an extra incentive for those of you that’s still debating on waiting further or buying — a nice fat, $8,000 incentive (it’s not $15,000 but you take what you can get, eh?) via the home tax credit.

Since they’ve been throwing around a bunch of different numbers and qualification scenarios, here’s the fairly-certain low down on the new home buyer tax credit.

To Qualify for the $8,000 “First-Time” Homebuyer Tax Credit:

  • Home purchase must be made between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009.
  • Must be a “first time buyer.” In order to qualify for this status, you must not have owned a home for the past three years.
  • You must also live in the purchased house for at least three years, or you’ll be obligated to pay back the tax credit.
  • Homebuyers must make less than $75,000 for single tax filers, or $150,000 for couples.
  • Higher-income buyers will receive a partial tax credit, but details have not yet been fully released.
  • Single family residence purchases (condominiums, townhouses, co-ops) that will be used as a principal residence will qualify.

How to Claim the Homebuyer Tax Credit:

  • Simply claim it on your tax return.  You will not have to filed any other forms or papers.  If you’re not a procrastinator like me and you’ve already filed your taxes, you can simply file an amended return for 2008 to claim the credit.
  • What type of tax credit is it? It’s one of the better type: a refundable one.  This means that if you don’t owe any taxes, you will get any excess credit in the form of a fat refund check.  Example: If you owe $1,000 in taxes, you’ll get a $7,000 refund check.  If you’ve overpaid $1,000 in taxes, then you’ll get a $9,000 check. You can read more about refundable tax credit in the resource link below.
  • If you’ve already claimed last year’s $7,500 tax credit, then you won’t be able to claim the $8,000 credit on next year’s return. It’s one credit or the other, buddy.
  • Unlike the previous $7,500 tax credit, there’s no repayment required for this $8,000 tax credit!  (Unless of course you sold your house within three years, as stated earlier).

Other Miscellaneous Notes:

  • If you’re buying into a retirement community, unfortunately, the purchase won’t qualify for the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit.

This post will be updated as the IRS release further details upon their interpretation of the just-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Regardless if you think the first-time homebuyer tax credit in the stimulus bill is a smart move or that it’s entirely bullsh*t  — the tax credit will certainly be a nice bonus for those that are looking to purchase a home in 2009.

Related Links & Resources:

In a lovely Valentine’s gift to consumers, Experian has decided to pull out of its agreement with Fair Isaac and will no long allow Fair Issac to sell FICO scores based on Experian’s data to consumers.

This is actually a fairly big deal, as lenders will continue to be able to get FICO score based on Experian reports through Fair Isaac, but consumers won’t be able to do the same.   It puts us, the consumers, at a fairly big disadvantage — especially when we apply for credit from a lender that uses Experian’s data to determine credit worthiness.  Want to check your FICO score based on Experian before you apply for credit?  Not gonna happen.

The decision by Experian will come into full effect on Feburary 14, 2009.  So if you need your Experian FICO score for whatever reason, you should check your Experian FICO scorenow before it’s too late.

Related Links and Resources:

Haven’t been to a Denny’s in awhile… but if you don’t mind the potential busy restaurant and wait, Denny’s giving a free Grand Slam breakfast per customer, from 6 AM to 2 PM on Tuesday, 2/3/09.

If you don’t want to wait, speak with the manager and request for a rain check coupon, which will enable you to come back at another time to get your free Grand Slam at a more convenient time of your choosing.  Each Denny’s should have 500 of these Grand Slam rain check coupons.

To entice you further, each customer that orders a free Grand Slam will receive a coupon book with more freebies with purchases. Each restaurant should have 1,000 of these coupon books.

Estimated customers taking advantage of this deal is expected to be about two million. You can search for a nearest location at  Just an FYI to all that may not have seen the Super Bowl ad.

For the nutritional conscious: A Grand Slam is about 795 calories, 50 grams of fat (14 grams of saturated fat), 460 milligram of  cholesterol, 2273 milligram of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 34 grams of protein.

Yum.  A healthy jog/walk with the pals after breakfast certainly wouldn’t hurt.