Chat with an FTB Representative

2010 Tax Credit for New Home / First-Time Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I applied for the 2009 New Home Credit, but didn't get it since the money ran out. Can I apply now since there is more money available?
  2. I just closed escrow on a new home on April 26, 2010. Can I apply for the New Home Credit?
  3. What is the difference between requesting a reservation and applying for a credit?
  4. Why can't I request a reservation for the First-Time Buyer Credit?
  5. How do I reserve a New Home Credit?
  6. Does FTB's approval of my reservation request guarantee my credit?
  7. Can I just send my application for the New Home Credit with my reservation request?
  8. I entered into a contract to purchase a new home before May 1, 2010 but the house will not be completed for several months. Can I request a reservation?
  9. How long will it take FTB to respond to my application or reservation request?
  10. I requested a reservation, but I have not received a letter from FTB telling me whether my reservation request was approved. Now escrow is closing. What should I do?
  11. I requested a reservation, but now I will not be purchasing the home. How do I notify FTB?
  12. I'm a First-Time Buyer, purchasing an existing home that has been lived in before so I can't request a reservation. However, I think the $100 million will run out before escrow closes. Can my escrow person send my application early?
  13. I am purchasing a duplex and intend to live in one of the units. Do duplexes qualify as a "single family residence?"
  14. I currently own my home, but I am selling it and buying a new home that has never been lived in. Do I qualify for the New Home Credit?
  15. I just sold my home in another state. I am now moving to California and buying a home that has been previously occupied. Will I qualify as a First-Time Buyer since I have never owned a home in California?
  16. I am married, but I have been separated from my wife for several years. I have never owned a home, but my wife purchased a home last year that is now her principal residence. Since my wife will not be purchasing the home with me, can I apply for the First-Time Buyer Credit?
  17. I qualify as a First-Time Buyer and I am purchasing a home that has never been lived in. Why can't I choose which credit I want instead of having to get the New Home Credit?
  18. I am a First-Time Buyer and I am purchasing a home that has been previously occupied. Do I need to have the seller provide his/her SSN and address?
  19. I faxed my application to FTB, but I forgot to include the HUD-1 statement. What should I do?
  20. I faxed my application to FTB, but I made a mistake on the application. What should I do?
  21. How is the two week period to file an application determined?
  22. I have applied for a credit, but I have not received a letter from FTB yet. I am ready to file my tax return. Can I claim the credit on my tax return?
  23. I purchased a new home which closed escrow in January, 2011. Which tax years do I claim the credit in if my application is approved? Does it make a difference if I requested a reservation in 2010?
  24. I signed the purchase agreement to buy a new home in December, 2010, but the seller did not sign the purchase agreement to accept the offer until January, 2011. Can I request a reservation or apply for the New Home Credit?

  1. I applied for the 2009 New Home Credit, but didn't get it since the money ran out. Can I apply now since there is more money available?

    No. The 2010 New Home / First-Time Buyer Credits are only available for purchases which close escrow on or after May 1, 2010.

  2. I just closed escrow on a new home on April 26, 2010. Can I apply for the New Home Credit?

    No. The 2010 New Home / First-Time Buyer Credits are only available for purchases which close escrow on or after May 1, 2010.

  3. What is the difference between requesting a reservation and applying for a credit?

    Reservations can only be requested for the New Home Credit and are optional. Since the credits are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, a reservation will hold the buyer's place in line until two weeks after escrow closes, the due date of the application. Applications are used for both the New Home Credit and the First-Time Buyer Credit and are required for either credit.

  4. Why can't I request a reservation for the First-Time Buyer Credit?

    The reservation process is intended to allow buyers, who are purchasing a new home that may not be completed until after the $100 million cap is reached, to still have an opportunity to apply for the credit. This prevents some new home buyers from being disqualified just because the home they are purchasing is in an earlier stage of construction.

  5. How do I reserve a New Home Credit?

    Buyers who will qualify for the New Home Credit and enter into an enforceable contract on or after May 1, 2010 to purchase a new home may apply for a reservation using FTB 3549-RR, Reservation Request for New Home Credit. Both the buyer and seller must certify on the form that they have entered into an enforceable contract. Specific pages of the purchase agreement must be faxed to FTB along with the reservation request so FTB can verify the information. FTB will send the buyer a letter stating whether the reservation request is approved, revised, or denied.

  6. Does FTB's approval of my reservation request guarantee my credit?

    No. FTB 3549-A, Application for New Home / First-Time Buyer Credit must still be completed and faxed, along with the buyer's final settlement statement, to FTB within 2 weeks after escrow closes. If FTB does not receive the completed application and the settlement statement within 2 weeks after the close of escrow, the reservation will be cancelled and you will not be eligible for the credit.

  7. Can I just send my application for the New Home Credit with my reservation request?

    No. Any application (FTB 3549-A) received before escrow closes will automatically be denied. Applications are only valid after the home is actually purchased. The date of purchase is the date escrow closes.

  8. I entered into a contract to purchase a new home before May 1, 2010 but the house will not be completed for several months. Can I request a reservation?

    No. Reservations for the New Home Credit can only be completed if the contract is entered into on or after May 1, 2010. However, if the contract is cancelled and a new contract is entered into on or after May 1, 2010, you may request a reservation.

  9. How long will it take FTB to respond to my application or reservation request?

    It will probably take FTB 3-6 months to respond to your application or reservation request. We must build a new computer system before we can begin verifying the applications and reservation requests. Please wait at least 4 months before contacting FTB regarding your application or reservation request. Because of this delay, it will be important to keep a copy of the fax confirmation.

  10. I requested a reservation, but I have not received a letter from FTB telling me whether my reservation request was approved. Now escrow is closing. What should I do?

    Do not wait for FTB's response. Complete an application (FTB 3549-A), and make sure it is faxed to FTB within 2 weeks after escrow closes. If FTB does not receive your application on time, your credit will be denied.

  11. I requested a reservation, but now I will not be purchasing the home. How do I notify FTB?

    Write "Cancel" across the face of Side I and Side II of the original reservation request (FTB 3549-RR) that was faxed to FTB and fax it to FTB at the number shown on the bottom of the form. Use this method regardless of whether or not FTB has responded to your original reservation request.

  12. I'm a First-Time Buyer, purchasing an existing home that has been lived in before so I can't request a reservation. However, I think the $100 million will run out before escrow closes. Can my escrow person send my application early?

    No. If FTB receives your application (FTB 3549-A) before escrow closes, your application will be denied.

  13. I am purchasing a duplex and intend to live in one of the units. Do duplexes qualify as a "single family residence?"

    The unit that you will live in qualifies as a "single family residence." However, the credit amount is determined by the portion of the purchase price allocated to the unit that you will live in. Multiply the purchase price by the square footage of the unit you will live in divided by the total square footage of the duplex. Use the same method if you are buying some other multiplex.

  14. I currently own my home, but I am selling it and buying a new home that has never been lived in. Do I qualify for the New Home Credit?

    Yes. You do not have to be a first-time buyer to qualify for the New Home Credit.

  15. I just sold my home in another state. I am now moving to California and buying a home that has been previously occupied. Will I qualify as a First-Time Buyer since I have never owned a home in California?

    No. If you have owned a principal residence within the last 3 years, you do not qualify for the First-Time Buyer Credit, regardless of where the home was located.

  16. I am married, but I have been separated from my wife for several years. I have never owned a home, but my wife purchased a home last year that is now her principal residence. Since my wife will not be purchasing the home with me, can I apply for the First-Time Buyer Credit?

    No. If you are married on the date you purchase the home, you do not qualify for the First-Time Buyer Credit if either you or your spouse has owned a principal residence within the last 3 years. It does not matter that your spouse is not purchasing the home with you or that you are separated.

  17. I qualify as a First-Time Buyer and I am purchasing a home that has never been lived in. Why can't I choose which credit I want instead of having to get the New Home Credit?

    When buyers qualify for both credits, the law states that the amount will be allocated from the New Home Credit. The money for the First-Time Buyer Credit is expected to run out much faster than the New Home Credit.

  18. I am a First-Time Buyer and I am purchasing a home that has been previously occupied. Do I need to have the seller provide his/her SSN and address?

    No. Seller information is no longer required for the First-Time Buyer Credit. The application (Form 3549-A) was revised May 26, 2010, eliminating the seller information requirement for the First-Time Buyer Credit. If you previously faxed an application to us with the seller information included, do not send a revised application.

  19. I faxed my application to FTB, but I forgot to include the HUD-1 statement. What should I do?

    Fax the HUD-1 statement along with a copy of your original application to the same fax number. Include a note explaining why you are sending the application a second time.

  20. I faxed my application to FTB, but I made a mistake on the application. What should I do?

    Fax the corrected application to the same fax number. Include a note explaining why you are sending the application a second time. Do not send the HUD-1 statement a second time.

  21. How is the two week period to file an application determined?

    Applications (FTB 3549-A) must be received by FTB within 2 weeks after escrow closes. Two weeks means 14 calendar days. A calendar day starts at 12:00 AM and ends at 11:59 PM. Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are included. We count the day after escrow closes as the first full day. For example, if escrow closes June 1, 2010, the application must be received between June 1, 2010 and June 15, 2010. If the application is received before June 1, 2010, or after June 15, 2010, the application will be denied.

  22. I have applied for a credit, but I have not received a letter from FTB yet. I am ready to file my tax return. Can I claim the credit on my tax return?

    No. You must receive a Certificate of Allocation from us to claim the credit on your tax return. See Pub.3549, New Home / First-Time Buyer Credit for more information on claiming the credit.

  23. I purchased a new home which closed escrow in January, 2011. Which tax years do I claim the credit in if my application is approved? Does it make a difference if I requested a reservation in 2010?

    The credit is claimed over three successive tax years beginning with the tax year in which the home is purchased. If escrow closed in 2011, claim the credit on your 2011, 2012 and 2013 tax returns. It makes no difference whether you requested a reservation in 2010. The Certificate of Allocation will show the maximum amount to claim by tax year.

  24. I signed the purchase agreement to buy a new home in December, 2010, but the seller did not sign the purchase agreement to accept the offer until January, 2011. Can I request a reservation or apply for the New Home Credit?

    No. An enforceable contract must be executed by December 31, 2010 to request a reservation or apply for the credit. The contract is not executed until the seller has signed to accept the offer.