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(TRENTON) – Legislation Assemblymen Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) and Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) sponsored to help jump-start New Jersey’s housing market by creating a tax credit for home purchases during 2010 was approved Thursday by the Assembly.

“With this bill, we’re creating a substantial and immediate incentive for potential homebuyers,” Greenwald said. “As New Jersey’s housing market continues to struggle amid the global recession, this incentive will not only to reignite the homebuilding industry in this state, but also stimulate economic growth through spending related to home buying.”

“This is a creative and sensible way to revitalize our housing market and our economy,” Prieto said. “Much direct and indirect economic activity is generated through new home construction and home re-sales, so this is the smart thing to do in this tough economy.”

“This is a great incentive that could play a big role in invigorating our economy and housing market,” said Coutinho (D-Essex). “It will also help strengthen neighborhoods and spur activity in numerous sectors of our economy.”

The bill (A-1678) would establish the New Jersey Homebuyer Tax Credit Program under the New Jersey gross income tax for home purchases during calendar year 2010. Refundable tax credits would be allowed for up to $15,000 or 5 percent of the home purchase price, whichever is less, for homebuyers of new and previously owned homes.

The total credits available would be capped at $100 million, with $75 million allocated for purchases of newly constructed homes not previously occupied and $25 million allocated for purchases of previously occupied homes. The determinations of credit eligibility would be provided to interested homebuyers in advance of their purchase through an automated, convenient and prompt process to be administered by the Division of Taxation.

These determinations will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and the claiming of the credit for personal income tax filing purposes will be divided into three equal credits claimed over three taxable years. The home would have to continue to be occupied as the taxpayer’s principle residence for three years.

The bill was approved 66-8-3 and now goes to the Senate for more consideration.

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