Here are the details of the tax credit:
First-time buyers can claim a credit worth $8,000 — or 10% of the home's value, whichever is less — on their 2008 or 2009 taxes.Home prices are still declining. By my estimate, the median U.S. home is $50,000 overpriced, so this credit will reduce the loss you experience over the next few years, but not eliminate it.
A big plus is that the credit is refundable, meaning tax filers see a refund of the full $8,000 even if their total tax bill — the amount of witholding they paid during the year plus anything extra they had to pony up when they filed their returns — was less than that amount. ...
To qualify for the credit, the purchase must be made between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009. Buyers may not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as "first time" buyer. They must also live in the house for at least three years, or they will be obligated to pay back the credit.
Additionally, there are income restrictions: To qualify, buyers must make less than $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. (Higher-income buyers may receive a partial credit.)
Applying for the credit will be easy - or at least as easy as doing your income taxes. Just claim it on your return. No other forms or papers have to be filed. Taxpayers who have already completed their returns can file amended returns for 2008 to claim the credit.