An extension of the homebuyer tax credit could be passed and signed into law today. It's not a sure thing, because now the ball is in the court of a dysfunctional Senate.
Yesterday, the House passed a three-month extension of the deadline to close on the loan in order to qualify for the homebuyer tax credit. According to the Associated Press, the Senate might vote on the tax credit extension today. Maybe.
The homebuyer tax credit allows qualified homebuyers to subtract up to $8,000 from their federal income tax bill. To qualify for the credit, the home had to be under purchase contract by April 30. Right now, the law requires the loan to close by the end of the day today.
The House voted yesterday to extend the closing deadline three months, to Sept. 30. The tax credit extension is paired, in the same bill, with another extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
Most Senate Republicans oppose extension of unemployment benefits without cutting the federal budget by an equal amount elsewhere. So the Senate would have to pass the bill with few or no Republican votes. As I said, that's not a sure thing.
The bankers and Realtors favor the extension, and I suspect that their lobbyists are giving senators a vigorous talking-to today. Even if the extension isn't passed today, it probably will be passed sometime this summer and will be retroactive, so homebuyers won't be cheated out of the tax credit if they close on their home loans sometime in July.