NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Nearly half of all Americans who claimed the first-time homebuyer tax credit on their 2009 tax returns will have to repay the government.
According to a report from the Inspector General for Tax Administration, released to the public Thursday, about 950,000 of the nearly 1.8 million Americans who claimed the tax credit on their 2009 tax returns will have to return the money.
The confusion comes because homebuyers were eligible for two different credits, depending on when their homes were purchased.
Those who bought properties during 2008 were to deduct, dollar for dollar, up to 10% of the home’s purchase price or $7,500, whichever was less. The catch: The money was a no-interest loan that had to be repaid within 15 years.
Had they waited to buy until 2009, they could have gotten a much sweeter deal. Congress extended the credit and made it a refund rather than a loan.
Now, the IRS is developing a strategy for separating the 2009 taxpayers who are required to repay the credit from those who are not.