2

Alice and Bob are unmarried and purchased a house together as joint tenants. Both of their names are on the home title and both are on the mortgage.

Who can claim the following on their income tax:

  1. First time home buyer credit
  2. Deductions for interest
  3. Deductions for Taxes
3

The person who actually paid the taxes, mortgage interest, etc. would be the one that could claim the respective deductions.

For the first time home buyer credit see IRS Notice 2009-12 page3 excerpted here:

If two or more taxpayers who are not married purchase a principal residence and otherwise satisfy the requirements, the first-time homebuyer credit may be allocated between the taxpayers using any reasonable method. A reasonable method is any method that does not allocate any portion of the credit to a taxpayer not eligible to claim that portion.

A reasonable method includes allocating the credit between taxpayers who are eligible to claim the credit based on (1) the taxpayers’ contributions towards the purchase price of a residence as tenants in common or joint tenants, or (2) the taxpayers’ ownership interests in a residence as tenants in common.

This can get really complicated, because the law has changed over the years and each person could have a different status of "first time homeowner". Here are some examples from the notice to help:

These examples illustrate how the first-time homebuyer credit may be allocated when A and B purchase a principal residence as tenants in common. The rules illustrated in the examples also apply in a similar manner to taxpayers who purchase a principal residence as joint tenants. Unless otherwise indicated, assume that in each example A and B (i) purchase a principal residence on May 1, 2008, (ii) are not married to each other, (iii) do not have MAGI in excess of the MAGI threshold, and (iv) are first-time homebuyers who otherwise satisfy the requirements of § 36.

Example 1. A contributes $45,000 and B contributes $15,000 towards the $60,000 purchase price of a residence. Each owns a one-half interest in the residence as tenants in common. The allowable credit is limited to 10 percent of the purchase price, or $6,000. A and B may allocate the allowable $6,000 credit three-fourths to A and one-fourth to B based on their contributions toward the purchase price of the residence, one-half to each based on their ownership interests in the residence, or using any other reasonable method (for example, the entire credit to A or B because both A and B are eligible to claim the entire allowable credit).

Example 2. A contributes $10,000 for a down payment towards the $100,000 purchase price of a residence, and A and B obtain and are jointly liabl e for a $90,000 mortgage for the remainder of the purchase price. Each owns a one-half interest in the residence as tenants in common. The allowable credit is not $10,000 (10 percent of the purchase price) but is limited to $7,500. A and B may allocate the 5 allowable $7,500 credit 55 percent to A and 45 percent to B based on their contributions toward the purchase price, one-half to each based on their ownership interests in the residence, or using any other reasonable method (for example, the entire credit to A or B because both A and B are eligible to claim the entire allowable credit).

Example 3. On April 15, 2008, A pays the entire $100,000 purchase price of a residence and is the sole owner. Under § 36(b)(1)(A), the allowable credit is not $10,000 (10 percent of the purchase price) but is limited to $7,500. On May 12, 2008, A transfers a one-half interest in the residence to B as a tenant in common for $10,000. A may claim the entire allowable $7,500 credit. Because B acquired B’s interest in the residence from Ain part by gift, B’s basis in the residence is determined under § 1015 by reference to A’s basis in the residence. Therefore, B did not purchase an interest in the residence within the meaning of § 36(c)(3), and no portion of the credit may be allocated to B because B is not eligible to claim any portion of the credit.

Example 4. A and B each contributes $50,000 towards the $100,000 purchase price of a residence and owns a one-half interest in the residence as tenants in common. The allowable credit is not $10,000 (10 percent of the purchase price) but is limited to $7,500. However, B is not a first-time homebuyer within the meaning of § 36(c)(1). Therefore, no portion of the credit may be allocated to B because B is not eligible to claim any portion of the credit. A may claim the entire allowable $7,500 credit.

Example 5. A contributes $75,000 and B contributes $25,000 towards the $100,000 purchase price of a residence, and each owns a one-half interest in the residence as tenants in common. The allowable credit is not $10,000 (10 percent of the purchase price) but is limited to $7,500. A’s MAGI is $100,000 and B’s MAGI is $60,000. Because A’s MAGI exceeds the $95,000 MAGI cap, any portion of the credit allocated to A would be reduced to $0. A and B may allocate the entire allowable $7,500 credit to B because B’s MAGI is less than the $75,000 MAGI threshold and, therefore, B is eligible to claim the entire allowable credit.

Example 6. A and B each contributes $50,000 towards the $100,000 purchase price of a residence and owns a one-half interest in the residence as tenants in common. Under § 36(b)(1)(A), the allowable credit is not $10,000 (10 percent of the purchase price) but is limited to $7,500. A’s MAGI is $80,000 and B’s MAGI is $60,000. Because A’s MAGI exceeds the $75,000 MAGI threshold by $5,000, any portion of the allowable credit allocated to A will be reduced by one-quarter, $5,000 (MAGI in excess of $75,000) / $20,000. A and B may allocate the allowable $7,500 credit one-half to A and one-half to B ($3,750 each) based on their contributions toward the purchase price of the residence or their ownership interests in the residence. However, A’s $3,750 portion of the credit is limited by § 36(b)(2) and is reduced by one-quarter ($3,750 x .25 = $937.50) to 7 $2,812.50 ($3,750 - 937.50). Alternatively, A and B may allocate the allowable $7,500 credit using any other reasonable method (for example, the entire credit to B because B’s MAGI is less than the $75,000 MAGI threshold and, therefore, B is eligible to claim the entire allowable credit).

Example 7. A and B, who are sisters, each contributes $50,000 towards the $100,000 purchase price of a residence and each owns a one-half interest as tenants in common. The allowable credit is not $10,000 (10 percent of the purchase price) but is limited to $7,500. A and B purchase the residence from their cousin, C. A, B, and C are not related persons within the meaning of § 36(c)(5). herefore, A and B may allocate the allowable $7,500 credit one-half to A and one-half to B based on their contributions toward the purchase price of the residence or their ownership interests in the residence. Alternatively, A and B may allocate the allowable $7,500 credit using any other reasonable method (for example, the entire credit to A or B because both A and B are eligible to claim the entire allowable credit).

  • facepalm yeah, makes sense. I've edited the question for clarity, removing the unnecessary parts. I also added one last part to the question (first time home buyer credit). Thanks! – zashu Jan 21 '16 at 0:24
  • @zashu Updated my answer. That wrinkle added a lot of complexity. – JohnFx Jan 21 '16 at 2:27

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