12 ways to cut your taxes

The bright spot of the dreary 2009 economy: savings for everyone.

1 of 12
1 . You bought a house
1 . You bought a house
Late last year, Congress extended the valuable homebuyer break beyond first-timers. So if you already owned a home but bought a new one after Nov. 6, 2009, you may be entitled to a credit worth 10% of the purchase price, up to $6,500.

Even if you buy in 2010 -- you have until April 30 to sign a contract and until June 30 to close -- you can claim the credit on your 2009 return, says Mark Luscombe, a principal analyst with tax research firm CCH. (You may need to file an extension or amended return if you sign after April 15.)

The fine print: You have to have lived in your old home for five consecutive years of the past eight. Plus, the new home must be your principal residence and must have cost $800,000 or less. Of course, first-time homebuyers also benefit, with a credit of 10% of the price up to $8,000. So if a child or someone else you know finally kicked the renting habit in 2009 -- or plans to in early 2010 -- have him or her check irs.gov for dates and income restrictions.

Income Limits (for repeat homebuyers)
Full credit up to $225,000
Partial credit up to $245,000

Potential savings: $6,500 for a repeat homebuyer on a house worth $65,000 or more

NEXT: 2. You've got a kid in college
Last updated March 26 2010: 7:15 PM ET
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Savings assumed a couple filing jointly in the 28% bracket, unless otherwise noted.
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