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Breaking News: Congress Extends Tax Credit

November 6, 2009

Tax credit extension passes House and Senate

By Florida RealtorsĀ®

WASHINGTON – Nov. 5, 2009 – The $8,000, first-time homebuyer tax credit has not yet been extended beyond its Nov. 30 end date, but it’s very close to gaining a longer life.

The extension was added as an amendment to an existing bill, HR 3548, that extends unemployment benefits. The U.S. Senate passed that bill on Wednesday and, after debate, the U.S. House passed HR 3548 this afternoon. It now needs only President Obama’s signature to become law, and the White House has indicated it will sign it, perhaps as early as tomorrow.

Until the president signs the bill, however, it is not law.

In addition to extending the tax credit for first-time homebuyers under the current rules, the bill adds a smaller tax credit for move-up homebuyers who have lived in the house for five of the past seven years. The bill also increases the income limits of homebuyers from $75,000 (single) to $125,000; and from $150,000 (married) to $225,000.

Florida downpayment assistance

After the president signs the bill and extends the tax credit, the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program – a downpayment and closing costs assistance program relating to the federal tax credit -automatically gets extended too. The state still has about $28 million available for homebuyers. The money is essentially a loan to first-time buyers; they receive it upfront, use it for a downpayment or other costs, and pay it back once they get their federal refund.

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