Act Now for Homebuyer Tax Credit

If you want to take advantage of the government's tax credit for first-time homebuyers, there is no time to waste.

The deadline is Nov. 30. Those who qualify can get up to $8,000 toward the purchase of a home.

The Treasury Department is considering extending the deadline, but real estate agents said people who wait for federal officials to make a decision could miss out all together.

Dallas resident Kevin Jemison said anyone who is currently looking for a home should consider stepping up the pace to make the Nov. 30 deadline.

Jemison, who recently moved into his first home, said the $8,000 is making a big difference.

"Whenever you move into a new place, you always have extra expenses that you don't anticipate," he said. "I got a new couch with part of mine, so it makes a big difference."

The tax credit was part of the stimulus legislation passed early this year, but time is running out to take advantage of what everyone agrees is a fantastic opportunity.

"They're going to get an $8,000 gift from the government for buying a home, and the only thing they have to do is live in the house for 36 months after they bought it," said James Smith, a Dallas certified public accountant.

There are rules. For example, if you move out or sell the home within the 36 months, you will have to pay the money back. But experts said the benefits are greater.

"You buy now, you can go back and amend your 2008 tax return and treat it as if you bought the house in 2008," Smith said. "And the government will send you a refund check now; you don't have to wait until you file your 2009 return."

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