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First-time-buyer tax credit is ‘unfair’

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If you're a homebuyer or seller or you earn your living directly or indirectly from home sales, you're probably a fan of the federal government's First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, which is intended to boost homebuying demand. But if you're not a buyer, seller or realty professional, but rather just an ordinary homeowner, for you, this tax credit is a dud. To recap some of the rules, the credit is equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of the home up to $8,000. The homebuyer must not have owned a home during the prior three years. The credit is refundable, which means the government gives the balance to buyers who meet the qualifications, even if their federal income tax liability is less. The problems with the tax credit are many: The credit redistributes income from some homeowner-taxpayers to other homebuyers without regard to any public policy objective other than a desire to pump up the homebuying sector of the economy. The credit isn't even needs-based, except to the...