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There’s no tax place like home

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Q. In your article on the new stimulus law, you say you can get the homebuyer credit for purchases in 2009. Can I claim the credit if I already own a home? A.R., Bangor, Maine

It depends. The new credit (maximum of $8,000) is available only for the purchase of a “principal residence” in the United States as defined for other tax purposes (i.e., the home where you live most of the time if you have not owned a principal residence for the previous three years).  Owning a vacation home would not disqualify you. Note that the credit applies to purchases in 2009 only if made before Dec. 1.

Tip: If you’re building a new home, you are treated as having purchased it on the date when you first occupy it. 

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