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Deadline for home tax rebate Dec. 1

CONYERS - Homebuyers interested in taking advantage of a tax credit that could refund them as much as 10 percent of the sales price have until Dec. 1 to close on the purchase of a home.

The tax credit, which took effect Jan. 1, is administered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and provides a tax credit of up to $8,000 - 10 percent of the purchase price of a home up to $80,000. The tax credit does not have to be repaid unless the buyer fails to stay in the house as a principal residence for at least three years.

Though the tax credit is labeled the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, the IRS defines a first-time buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.

Eligible buyers must have income of no more than $75,000 for single buyers and no more than $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. Buyers can claim the credit on their 2009 tax returns or on their 2008 returns by filing an amendment.

Local Realtors say now is the time to begin the home-buying process if purchasers hope to close by Dec. 1.

Realtor Delaine Bourne of Prudential Colony Realty in Covington said buyers can expect to close a home purchase within a 45-day window.

She recommends that buyers have a home under contract by Oct. 15 if they want to close by the Dec. 1 deadline for the tax credit.

"If they are using a Realtor to find a house, we have the databases and all the resources, so that within two to three days of looking at the inventory (they can find a house.) It is certainly doable," she said.

For more information on the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, visit the Internal Revenue Web site and www.irs.gov.