Thursday, July 29, 2010

Amend a 2009 / File a 2010 Return for Homebuyer Credit

Taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit or the long-time resident homebuyer credit who buy a home in 2010 don't have to wait to claim the credit when filing their 2010 returns. They can instead amend their 2009 tax returns to claim the credit and receive it sooner.

Buyers who purchased in 2009 and didn't claim the credit on their 2009 returns can also amend those returns to get the credit. Recently we have been asked which documents our clients must prepare in order to claim the credit on either an original 2009 return or on an amended 2009 return:

First-time homebuyer

•A copy of the settlement statement showing all parties' names and signatures, property address, sales price, and date of purchase. Normally, this is the properly executed Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement.

•For mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement, a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties' names and signatures, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.

•For a newly constructed home where a settlement statement is not available, a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.

Long-time residents

Long-time homebuyers claiming the credit for buying a new principal residence must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. The IRS has stepped up compliance checks involving the homebuyer credit, and it encourages homebuyers claiming this part of the credit to avoid refund delays by attaching documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period:

•Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,

•Property tax records or

•Homeowner’s insurance records.

The IRS says it's not necessary to have five years of the same documentation. Any combination of these documents verifying that you owned and lived in your home as a principal residence for at least five consecutive years is acceptable.

For example, suppose you owned and lived in your previous home from Nov. 1, 2004, to Oct. 31, 2009. You could send a copy of Form 1098 showing the mortgage interest you paid for the part of 2004 during which you owned and lived in the home, as well as the Form 1098s for 2005, 2006 and 2007, proof of homeowners insurance for 2008 and a property tax statement for the part of 2009 when you owned and lived in the home.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Florida Tax Amnesty July 1 - September 30, 2010

Florida taxpayers who owe unpaid state taxes can save money and clear up tax liabilities by going online to learn more about Florida's 2010 tax amnesty beginning July 1 and running through September 30. Tax amnesty information, including a Tax Information Publication and Tax Amnesty Agreement form, is available on Revenue's website at

Why take advantage of Florida's tax amnesty period? Taxpayers can:
•Significantly reduce the interest that is due, up to 50 percent.
•Pay no penalty.
All Department of Revenue (DOR) administered taxes due before July 1, 2010 are covered during the amnesty period except unemployment taxes and the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt fees. An amnesty agreement form must be submitted to the department to participate.

Taxpayers who identify a tax liability unknown to Revenue will be required to pay only half as much interest as they would if DOR found the unpaid tax later. If DOR already identified the tax liability in a bill, jeopardy assessment, or other assessment, or had already scheduled an audit, the taxpayer is eligible for a one-fourth reduction in interest charges. In addition, taxpayers will receive a complete waiver of penalty under tax amnesty. (Taxpayers who comply with tax laws already save money—they never owe penalty or interest!)

"For taxpayers who owe taxes or who may have made a mistake in the past, tax amnesty is a chance to pay taxes owed to the state and save money," said Lisa Echeverri, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "We also want to thank the thousands of businesses and citizens who work hard every day and comply with Florida's tax laws so our state has the critical funding it needs to build roads, educate our children and serve our most vulnerable citizens."

How does a business know if they are eligible?
You and your business are eligible if your liability for tax, penalty or interest was due on or before June 30, 2010, and:

•You complete a Tax Amnesty Agreement (
•Your liability is not already covered by a settlement or payment agreement.
•You are not under criminal investigation for violating a Florida revenue law.
•You have not been convicted of violating any Florida revenue law.
For more information about Florida Tax Amnesty 2010, visit our website or a local service center soon!

Congress passes homebuyer tax credit relief!

Congress has extended the closing deadline from June 30 to September 30, 2010 for qualifying contracts signed prior to May 1, 2010. The extension is estimated to allow an additional 180,000 homebuyers to utilize the credit. Contact us if you need assistance with this or any other matters.