Did you know that you have to pay back the homebuyer tax credit if you claim it and then sell your house (or otherwise stop using it as your principal residence) within the next three years? I didn’t, but apparently that’s the case. Here’s the scoop straight from the IRS:
Q: When must I pay back the credit for the home I purchased in 2009?
A: Generally, there is no requirement to pay back the credit for a principal residence purchased in 2009. The obligation to repay the credit on a home purchased in 2009 arises only if the home ceases to be your principal residence within 36 months from the date of purchase. The full amount of the credit received becomes due on the return for the year the home ceased being your principal residence. (source)
Note that there are no exceptions for military personnel who are deployed and sell their home. If they move out during deployment but retain ownership, the deployment “may be” considered a temporary absence such that the home can technically remain their primary residence.
If you find yourself subject to the recapture provision, you are required to repay the credit in full as “additional tax” when you file your Federal income tax return for that year. See IRS Form 5405 for additional details.