Ask Money

Home buying tax credit

Chris Farrell Mar 27, 2009

Question: Is there an income cap for single first-time homebuyers to be eligible for the $8,000 tax credit? Is there a sliding scale of eligibility amount? Sandra, New York, NY

Answer: This is the U.S. tax code. Why make it simple? Yes, there is an income cap and a sliding scale. The home buying credit is for 10% of the purchase price of the home or $8,000–whichever figure is lower. For a single filer, the credit starts getting phased out with a modified adjusted gross income of more than $75,000, and it’s eliminated once your income is $95,000 or more. For a married couple, the phase starts with a modified adjusted gross income of more than $150,000 and the credit ends if your income is above $170,000 (married).

Remember, the $8,000 credit applies to homes bought between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. You must keep the home for three years, and you cannot have owned a home for the past 3 years to qualify.

Clearly, considering the volume of questions we’re getting the home buying credit has grabbed the attention of potential home owners. I’ll be curious to see how much the interest in the credit translates into actual purchases this year.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.