I recently moved to California but I still own a condo at my previous address and I spent most nights there last year. My new job sent my w2 to my new address.

I'm interested in filing from the previous address because I received the first time homebuyers credit 2 years ago. The rules say that if you move within 3 years then you have to pay that back.

Will I be able to file from my previous address in order to keep from paying that?

Also will I simultaneously be able to deduct my moving expenses?

  • Here's a related question on the same topic: money.stackexchange.com/questions/12863/…
    – littleadv
    Feb 21, 2012 at 19:19
  • Did you maintain your home for which you received the credit for 36 months as your primary residence. If the answer is no then yuo have to repay. If the answer is yes then you do not. If it was 35.5 months I would not expect an auditor to give me the break, because they wont.
    – user4127
    Feb 21, 2012 at 19:31
  • Did you spend half your nights at your previous address because you moved halfway through the year, or because you return to your old address frequently? Feb 21, 2012 at 20:19

3 Answers 3


You obviously can't keep the credit since you moved. The fact that you use incorrect mailing address on your return has absolutely nothing to do with it.

I don't know how it works at IRS, but I would argue that any significant (i.e.: not rounding error) mismatch between your return and your W2/1099 would raise an audit flag.

Even if you go behind the radar, you would still be breaking a law and committing a tax fraud. There's no statute of limitations on tax frauds, IRS can come back and audit this report in 20 years from now.


From instructions to form 5405:

You generally must repay the credit if, after the year for which you claim the credit, you dispose of the home or it ceases to be your main home during the 36-month period beginning on the purchase date.

You need to fill the part III of the form 5405, and act per instructions.

  • I thought the definition of your legal address was where ever you spent most nights in a year. That could be my previous address if I still own a residence there. Feb 21, 2012 at 18:59
  • No, that's the definition of your tax home. Edited the answer to have some more info in it for you.
    – littleadv
    Feb 21, 2012 at 19:03
  • "main home" is probably also defined. It might not be unreasonable to argue that your old address is your "main home" and your new one your "temporary home" or "second home", bought to shorten your commute. But I'd check the details carefully. Feb 21, 2012 at 20:06

Unreimbursed moving expenses are calculated on Form 3903. That calculation feeds into Line 26 of Form 1040. It is an "above the line" deduction. If your employer paid you back for the moving expenses, you can't take the deduction.

Form 8822 is the form to notify the IRS of your change of address. If your employer is sending your W-2's to your new address, and you file your 1040 under a different address, the IRS will most likely audit you. This is an easy check for them, and they have software that does it for them.

I'll let someone else elaborate on the homebuyers credit, but if the instructions say you can't move within 3 years and you moved within 3 years, you will probably have to pay that back. There may be some clause that says if you moved for your job, you may be able to keep all or some portion of the credit, but I would just be guessing at that (don't get your hopes up).

  • 1
    There's no such clause, there was a question (same OP?) about it already. If he moved within 36 months - he must repay.
    – littleadv
    Feb 21, 2012 at 19:10

You can be domiciled in only one state, and you can choose to be domiciled in your previous state if you wish, especially since you still own property there, and even more so if you have not transferred your voter registration etc. But if you do so, you will have to pay nonresident income tax in California, cannot deduct moving expenses, of course, but will not have to give up your new home buyer's credit.

  • 1
    He will still have to repay it, because he in fact moved. Even if you're right about the transitioning year - the year after he's a California resident by hook or by crook, and he's going to have to file resident taxes in California.
    – littleadv
    Feb 21, 2012 at 19:14
  • I think the issue is that the OP wants to claim that no move has occurred in 2011 so as to avoid giving up the homebuyers credit and claim moving expenses at the same time. If someone's tax home is State A and there is income X in State A and income Y in State B, then a nonresident return will be filed in State B which will typically want a fraction Y/(X+Y) of the income tax (computed at nonresident rates) on X+Y of income. Will make a difference if State B's income tax is progressive rather than a flat rate. State A will give a credit (not dollar for dollar) for tax paid to State B. more.. Feb 22, 2012 at 3:14
  • 1
    Many states have different forms for part-year return and nonresident returns, so if a move in the middle of the year is claimed, there are different calculations based on date of change of residence etc. Both states will typically charge resident rates for their share of the income etc. Feb 22, 2012 at 3:19
  • it doesn't make it any less fraud. He did indeed move out of his home, and he does indeed need to repay the incentive. Any other way of handling it would be fraud. Re the state residency - not related at all to what he is asking.
    – littleadv
    Feb 22, 2012 at 3:47

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