Tax Credits:

Opportunities to Improve Oversight of the Low-Income Housing Program

T-GGD/RCED-97-149: Published: Apr 23, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 1997.

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GAO discussed its report on opportunities to improve oversight of the Low-Income Housing Program.

GAO noted that: (1) a substantial majority of households served by the program had incomes considered "very low" by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and about three-fourths of all households benefited either directly or indirectly from other types of housing assistance; (2) GAO estimates the average tax credit cost per-unit, in present value terms, to be about $27,300; (3) all the states had developed qualified allocation plans required by the Internal Revenue Code to direct tax credit awards to priority housing needs; (4) although the states met tax code requirements, GAO identified several factors that could affect the housing actually delivered over time; (5) some states reserve discretion for amending or bypassing the allocation process; (6) in addition, many tax credits that were initially allocated may not have been used; (7) further, the long term economic viability of tax credit projects as low-income housing has not been tested; (8) all states had cost control procedures in place that were intended to help ensure the reasonableness of project costs and tax credit awards; (9) however, some projects lacked complete cost and financial data and some key data used in determining the basis for tax credit awards were not independently verified; (10) while states had established compliance monitoring programs consistent with IRS regulations, the regulations did not provide adequate assurance that states perform agreed upon monitoring reviews; and (11) also, the Internal Revenue Service needs additional information to adequately monitor states' tax credit allocations and taxpayer compliance with credit requirements.

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