Merkley Joins Effort to Assist Soldiers Stationed Overseas with Homeownership

WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley
announced today that he is co-sponsoring the Service Members Home Ownership Tax
Act of 2009 to provide homeownership assistance to service members who are
currently stationed overseas.  The bill would extend for one year the
deadline of the First Time Homeowner Tax Credits worth up to $8,000 for service
members currently deployed overseas or assigned to a military station. Senator
Merkley released the following statement:

“We should be rewarding, not inadvertently penalizing, the
selfless members of the Armed Forces and National Guard who go overseas to
defend our country.  I am thrilled to work with Senator McCaskill to
extend the first time buyer tax credit so that service members who are
currently serving overseas have the opportunity to take advantage of the tax

 The First Time Homeowner Tax Credit was created as
part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to spur growth in the real
estate market and provide assistance to first time home buyers.  For
members of the armed services, overseas deployments could have prevented them
from being able to take advantage of the tax credit.  The legislation will
extend the availability of the tax credit to service members who have served
overseas for more than 90 days during 2009.

In addition to extending the tax credit for another year, the
legislation will ensure that service members are not required to repay the tax
credit within three years of purchase if they are deployed overseas or assigned
to a military base.  The bill exempts certain payments under the
Department of Defense Housing Assistance Program (HAP), from incurring taxes in
order to make the tax rules applicable to HAP payments consistent between
previous law and the economic stimulus.

“By providing financial assistance to our service members so
that they can purchase their own home, we are helping them build a strong
family foundation and strengthening the community they live in,” said Merkley.