Senate Panel Weighs Options for Extending $8,000 Home Buyer Credit

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Senate Banking Committee members endorse in principle a proposal to extend a popular home purchase tax credit that is slated to expire at the end of November. In testimony at a committee hearing on the state of the nation's housing market, Sen. Isakson, principal sponsor of the existing $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers, advocates continuing the benefit through June 30, 2010, and expanding it to any taxpayer who earns less than $150,000 per year or to couples earning less than $300,000 per year. An extension of the home buyer tax credit, while a laudable legislative effort, should not be attached to an unemployment insurance bill, Sen. Reed says. IRS, meanwhile, is examining nearly 107,000 cases of possible fraudulent claims of the first-time home buyer tax credit and thus far has identified 167 “criminal schemes” involving the credit, an agency spokesman confirms.