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Get Your $8,000 Now!

If you bought a home this year -- and you qualify for the new, $8,000 first-time-buyer tax credit -- you can get the money faster by claiming the credit on your federal income tax return for 2008, which you're supposed to file by April 15. The Internal Revenue Service has published extra information on its Web site, www.IRS.gov, explaining how to claim the credit. It says if you buy a home before Dec. 1, 2009, you can claim the credit on either your 2008 or 2009 return.

If you plan to buy a home later this year, it could be worth your while to file for an extension on your 2008 tax return so you can claim the credit without waiting for next year's tax season. Another way to approach it would be to file an amended return after you close the deal.

The IRS restated that the $8,000 tax credit does not apply to sales during 2008. The repayable $7,500 tax credit that was available for first-time buyers in '08 remains their only choice for a tax break.

Add to the debate! Do you think the non-repayable $8,000 tax credit should be retroactive to sales that happened last year? Or would that be a waste of money that's intended to stimulate the market in 2009?

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  February 26, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Taxes  
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