Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tax Credit Fuels Rise In Home Sales

Tax Credit Fuels Rise In Home Sales

Sales of existing homes surged 9.4% in September to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 5.57 million units, as lower prices and the looming expiration of
a federal tax credit lured more buyers into the market.

The data, released Friday by the National Association of Realtors, portrayed
a housing market that continues to stabilize across the country and gives
ammunition to those trying to extend the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home

Costly Fraud And Error Reported In Home Buyer's Tax Program

Hundreds of millions of dollars may have been paid to people who fraudulently
or mistakenly took advantage of a lucrative tax credit for first-time home buyers,
including some who were employees of the Internal Revenue Service and even
children, an IRS watchdog told a House panel on Thursday.

The findings, documented in a report by the Treasury inspector general for tax
administration, come as debate heats up in Congress over whether to extend
the $8,000 tax credit beyond its Nov. 30 deadline.

While the report alarmed lawmakers, supporters of the tax credit on Capitol Hill
pressed forward with efforts to keep the refund alive. Senate Majority Leader
Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is working on a proposal to extend the full $8,000 credit
for four months and then gradually phase it out by the end of next year, according
to his office.

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