Estate tax exemption hike, rate cut
The sordid life of street accountants

Extend home buyer credit, but cut it

That's the latest word from Capitol Hill on the continuation of the first-time home buyer credit.

Actually, it's the latest word from Air Force One. No, it's not the Prez talking, but Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, who was on the plane with Obama en route to Jacksonville.

Nelson told reporters that the extension could be completed as early as this week as part of the Senate's deliberation of unemployment benefits legislation.

But along with continuing the home buyer tax break through 2010 (it's scheduled to end in just over a month), the credit would be gradually reduced.

According to a Nelson aide, first-time home buyers who close before April 1, 2010, would get the full $8,000. After that date, the credit would be reduced by $2,000 in each successive quarter until expiring at the end of the year.

Everyone's unhappy: Yep, once again, Capitol Hill sure knows how to make everyone unhappy.

The real estate lobbyists industry wanted an extension and expansion, not only of the dollar amount, but also of the pool of possible home buyers, not just first-timers.

Taxpayers who aren't able to get into their first house by the April deadline will be irked.

And even the IRS will be ticked off.

By phasing out the credit based on arbitrary dates (I'm sure the phaseout was constructed to deal with budgetary concerns), taxpayers are going to be confused and end up making mistakes.

Or as has already happened, they'll try to get around the restrictions. OK, in plain English, they'll cheat.

That means the tax agency will have its work cut out for it yet again to make sure that such honest errors and dishonest tax break efforts don't happen.

Good luck, once again, with that, IRS.

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Thanks! Looking forward to it!


No one is EVER happy. There has to be a deadline and if you don't make the deadline, tough luck, go cry about it within the confines of your rent house or apartment. This program is so short-sighted anyway... it will have the same result as the cash for clunkers program. At least the phase-out may ease us back to the bottom instead of drop us like rock.

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