Looking for a Form to file 2010 Estate Tax Return or Gift Tax Return?

IRSHere's another problem with last minute or retroactive tax planning by Congress - the IRS needs to come up with forms that you can file to comply with teh new law.  Julie Garber reports today in Julies' Wills & Estate Planning Blog that the IRS is working on it:

  • For the estates of people who died between January 1, 2010 and December 16, 2010, if they are filing a Form 706 Estate Tax Return, it will be due on September 19, 2011, so the IRS still has time to put the form together.
  • For the estates of people who died between January 1, 2010 and December 16, 2010, if they are using the 1022 basis step up methodology, a form is being generated that again will be due on September 19, 2011, so the IRS still has time to put the form together
  • For the estates of people who died between December 17, 2010 and December 31, 2010, the Form 706 Estate Tax Return will be due 9 months after the date of death.  Again, this gives the IRS lots of time for the IRS to update Form 706.
  • On the other hand, the Gift Tax Return, Form 709, is due by April 18, 2011 reporting gifts made during 2010. Julie advises that "This leaves the IRS frantically working to revise Form 709 to comply with the 2010 gift tax rules, so expect the 2010 version of Form 709 and its instructions to be released by the end of January."


First Time Home Buyer Credit - Enough is Enough

To extend the credit or kill the credit, that is the question.  And will killing the credit take the real estate market along with it?

Much has been written, blogged, and talked about the first time home buyers credit - a very popular program that gave purchasers of new homes from January 1, 2009 to November 30, 2009 an $8500 credit.  

Now, of course the program is popular - those who qualify get a check from the IRS for $8500 - what could be unpopular about that?   According to Yahoo News ("Congress Scrutinizes Problems in Home Buyers Credit"), about 1.5 million applications have been made, and $10 Billion in tax revenue  ($10,000,000,000.00 - wow, that's a big number) has been refunded to homebuyers.

But what about all the people who don't qualify and are also getting $8500 checks. According to Yahoo News today:

  • Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration identified more than 19,000 people that filed 2008 tax returns or amended returns claiming the credit for homes they had not yet purchased. The program didn't start until 2009.  The cost - $139 million ($139,000,000.00 - always write out the zeros in those numbers the government throws around).
  • The Treasury Inspector General identified another $500 million ($500,000,000.00) in claims, by some 74,000 taxpayers, where there were indications of prior home ownership (mortgage interest deduction, real estate tax deductions, etc.).
  • The Treasury Inspector General also found 580 taxpayers under the age of 18 who claimed $4 million ($4,000,000.00) in first-time home buyer credit. One was 4 years old.

Look, I believe in home ownership and the American Dream.  But this program was created a year ago in an entirely different economy when total bank failure was not out of the question, and the real estate market was frozen by the credit crunch.  Irrespective of the outright fraud (which deserves jail time in my opinion - the IRS does have criminal powers to address people stealing from us, the taxpayers), enough is enough.  If you can't afford the house, save until you can.  People buying houses they couldn't afford is part of what got us into this mess in the first place.  There are enough great deals out there without tax dollars being added to the pot.  The Great Spend needs to end, and closing out the first time home buyer credit is a good start.

What do you think?