A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that Congress should consider designating the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a joint administrator with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. The GAO suggests HUD should be given responsibility for regular monitoring of housing finance agencies and analyzing the effectiveness of the program. Joint administration with HUD could better align program responsibilities with each agency’s mission and more efficiently address existing oversight challenges.
The report, conducted at the request of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, cites “minimal” oversight by the IRS of the LIHTC and points out that the IRS already shares joint administration duties with other agencies both the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program and the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) program.
What GAO Recommends
Congress should consider designating HUD as a joint administrator of the program. HUD’s role should include oversight responsibilities (such as regular monitoring of HFAs) to help address deficiencies GAO identified. Treasury agreed HUD could be responsible for analyzing the effectiveness of LIHTC, with IRS continuing to enforce tax law. HUD and IRS did not comment on the matter for congressional consideration. HUD supported consideration of a structure for enhanced interagency coordination. The association representing HFAs disagreed with the matter. GAO maintains that joint administration would strengthen program oversight.