Weather Forecast


First-Time Homebuyer Credit for members of U.S. military services

Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit. Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011.

If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011 to close on the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual's spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008 and ending before May 1, 2010.

In many cases, the credit repayment (recapture) requirement is waived for members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community. This relief applies where a home is sold or stops being the taxpayer's principal residence after Dec. 31, 2008 in connection with government orders received by the individual (or the individual's spouse) for qualified official extended duty service. The credit is still allowable even if this happens during the year of purchase.

Qualified official extended duty is any period of extended duty while serving at a place of duty at least 50 miles away from the taxpayer's principal residence (whether inside or outside the U.S.) or while residing under government orders in government quarters. Extended duty is defined as any period of duty pursuant to a call or order to such duty for a period in excess of 90 days or for an indefinite period.

Eyeing death rates of Vietnam War veterans

An increasingly vocal number of Vietnam veterans or their loved ones are questioning whether participation in the Vietnam War is hastening the deaths of soldiers who survived it. Still, John Rowan, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, who "said his organization had been frustrated that the Department of Veterans Affairs has not done current research on the death rates of Vietnam" vets, "said he sees change coming."

After noting that in "September, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, said his department has begun a study of the health impacts of the war, which he said would be complete in about three years," Newsday added, "Many veterans note with alarm that VA this year again expanded the list of more than a dozen diseases including a host of cancers, Type 2 diabetes, and ischemic heart disease directly linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides."

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at As always, have a great week.