More on the California Tax Credit

The State form for applying for the $10,000 first-time/new home tax credit is available now. Curious that the State is requiring the buyer to provide the Seller’s social security number. After all of the heartburn we have gone through over the years to protect this information (and rightly so), buyers will now have to rely on the seller to fork over the information in order to get their check.

For many, many moons, we have been requiring sellers to provide the buyers with an Affidavit of Non-Foreign Status to comply with the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (more affectionately known as “FIRPTA”). As we evolved and as fears over identity theft grew, we began routinely blacking out the social security number component of the form, at least on the copy that was provided to the buyer.

Most recently, it has become fashionable (read: convenient) to assign responsibility for confirming the seller’s non-foreign status to a “qualified substitute.” As luck would have it, most escrow companies are one of those guys.

What’s the point? Well, in those cases where we are still in the business of obtaining our own FIRPTA affidavits, the buyer’s agent will have the seller’s social security number on file. So, assuming it is not a new home we are talking about here, Voila! The State’s form can be completed quite handily, and the qualifying buyer’s check will be in the mail. If, on the other hand, we are using the Qualified Substitute form and anointing escrow as Compliance Officer, the buyer requiring this information will need to have the seller fill in the personal blanks.

I’m probably thinking too hard. After all, the State’s tax credit allocation will likely be entirely consumed by Friday.

And for those of you who haven’t slipped into a boredom-induced coma and are still reading, now you know just how exciting my job can be!

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