A Tax Case of Interest – Credit for First Time Home Buyer

Edward R. Zampella v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue,  No. 13-1672 This case involves the Federal Tax Credit for first time home buyers.  A woman (Maria Zampella) died in September of 2008.  She had two surviving sons to whom she left her entire estate which included her home which was appraised, at the time of her death, at $430,000.  One of her sons wanted to own this home outright so he paid his brother one-half of the appraised value ($215,000) for his half ownership interest.  This was “purchasing” son’s first time home purchase so he claimed the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit for first-time home buyers on his federal income tax return.  The Commissioner denied the credit and after suit in the Tax Court, that court agreed that the credit is not allowed when property is acquired from a related party.  The interesting point is that, under the law, a sibling is not a related party for this purpose, but the personal representative of the estate (i.e., the executor) and another estate beneficiary are related parties for that purpose.  The deed evidencing this transaction read:  “[brothers], individually and as co-executors of the estate of Maria Zampella . . .”  The Tax Court held that “the substance was in accord with the form . . .”  The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has appealed this decision of the Tax Court.