Hope me, tax time
February 2, 2010 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to e-file my taxes (USA) and receive the First Time Homebuyer $8000 credit. Looking for advise on how to go about this.

I contracted for a few months last year (1099), so I owe money to both Federal and State. After the tax credit is redeemed I expect a refund from the Federal Government of a few thousand dollars.
I've always e-filed my taxes. I have always taken the standard deduction in the past, but will be itemizing this year. The past few years I've used taxslayer.com and been pleased with them. I started my 2009 return with them this week and I got to the point of e-filing. It told me that the form 5405 cannot be e-filed. At this point it gave me the option of e-filing now and then send an amended return to the IRS with all the tax credit forms to amend the return.

Taxslayers message when I attempted to e-file with my tax credit form in-tact:
"As per new IRS regulations, all returns with form 5405 (First Time Homebuyers Credit) included will not be accepted by electronic filing. You can return to the Credits Menu and delete this form to continue the E-file process. After your return has been accepted by the IRS you can create an amended return (1040-X) with the form 5405 attached. Upon completion of your amended return you will need to print and mail the 1040-X and Form 5405 to the IRS for filing for the First Time Homebuyers Credit. Additional preparation and filing fees will apply."

Information on the form 5405 and requirements to send stuff in. Sending in the form with a copy of my HUD-1/settlement statement is not an issue.

So now I'm wondering how much of a hassle it will be to do the amended return versus filing the entire return by standard mail.
I'm also wondering if I do the amended return, do I first have e-file, then pay the tax bill, then amend the return, and finally get the refund? Or can I amend the return as long as it is before the April 15 deadline? What kind of fees are we talking about here?

If I do everything by hand, are there any free or cheap (computer-based) options to ensure I have the same thing that I've entered into taxslayer already? Am I missing another method to accomplish this same goal? Are there any guides to my options that are easier to understand than the IRS website?
posted by ijoyner to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I don't know how it works exactly, but I was able to amend 2008's tax return and get the homebuyer's credit for a house I bought in November 2009. Maybe you could do that?

Also, the people who answered the IRS helpline were helpful and knowledgeable, so you could try them.
posted by callmejay at 6:07 PM on February 2, 2010

I got the early 2008 credit (which stinks) and I just filed on paper. I did all my taxes through turbotax and then I just copied the numbers out and into the paper forms, checking them as I went. If you have normal taxes doing them by hand is not hard.

Be warned: I am still waiting to get the $7500 from my 2008 taxes a year later. They asked for a lot of documentation, which is fine, but one piece at a time. So. Frustrating.
posted by GuyZero at 8:41 PM on February 2, 2010

Also, you can buy the CD version of turbotax and once you pay online it'll let you print everything out for filing on paper.
posted by GuyZero at 8:42 PM on February 2, 2010

I use TaxAct, and IIRC it will let you complete your full return, then elect to print and mail instead of e-file. And it's pretty cheap.
posted by jckll at 6:22 AM on February 3, 2010

Best answer: The IRS has fill-in pdfs for all of their forms. I used those, and just manually copied all the numbers from the e-file version after I hit the exact same issue you just did. It's not automated software, but it's a lot easier than writing it in by hand.

Their form listing is here:

but I found all the forms I needed by google "irs [form number]".

All told, it took me about an hour and a half to do all the paperwork I needed, including some research on what I needed to put in various fields. For me, it was way easier to do it in one step than to e-file without the credit and then do the amendment. YMMV of course.
posted by contrarian at 1:18 PM on February 3, 2010

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