Saturday, January 23, 2010


Don’t forget to check out my daily tax tips column at MAINSTREET.COM.

* Joe Kristan provides another example of why the very first tax tip in my series of columns for is perhaps the best tax advice anyone can ever give you in his post “Buy Insurance From an Insurance Guy; Buy Your Tax Advice From a Tax Advisor” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.

* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb has been running trivia contests all week. I like this question

Assuming that you read out loud at the same speed as you count (on average), how many days would it take to read the entire Tax Code out loud without stopping?

The answer - 43 days!

* The weekly NATP email newsletter gives us the word on claiming the First Time Homebuyer Credit on the 2009 Form 1040. Wisely, for a change, Congress required documentation to be included with the return to show that a purchase actually took place.

All eligible homebuyers must include with their 2009 tax returns one of the following documents in order to receive the credit:

• A copy of the settlement statement showing all parties' names and signatures, property address, sales price, and date of purchase. Normally, this is the properly executed Form HUD-1, Settlement Statement.

• For mobile home purchasers who are unable to get a settlement statement, a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties' names and signatures, property address, purchase price, and date of purchase.

• For a newly constructed home where a settlement statement is not available, a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address, and date of the certificate.

In addition, the new law allows a long-time resident of the same main home to claim the homebuyer credit if they purchase a new principal residence. To qualify, eligible taxpayers must show that they lived in their old homes for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home. The IRS has stepped up compliance checks involving the homebuyer credit, and it encouraged homebuyers claiming this part of the credit to avoid refund delays by attaching documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period:

• Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, or substitute mortgage interest statements,
• Property tax records, or
• Homeowner’s insurance records.

Returns claiming the first-time homebuyer credit cannot be e-filed

* The newsletter also reports that, as expected -

Recipients of social security benefits, railroad retirement benefits, or veterans’ benefits were eligible to receive a one-time Economic Recovery payment of $250 in 2009. The receipt of this payment will not be reported on the respective information forms (SSA-1099, RRB-1099, etc.) received by taxpayers. The IRS is not able to assist taxpayers with determining whether they received the payment or the amount. If this information is needed, the taxpayer must contact the agency that made the payment to them.”

So we tax pros must rely on our clients’ memories. Oi vey!