May ACTION Update: Congress Passes Fourth COVID-19 Relief Package; IRS Provides Short-Term Extensions to Certain Housing Credit Deadlines

Join the ACTION Campaign Monthly Call on Friday, May 1

The ACTION Campaign monthly call will be held on Friday, May 1 at 2:00 pm EST. Call-in information:

  • Phone number: 929-205-6099

  • Meeting ID: 193 634 880

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Congress Passes Fourth COVID-19 Relief Package; Housing Credit Advocacy Continues as Congress Turns to Next Rounds of Legislation

On April 24, the fourth COVID-19 relief package, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, H.R.266, was signed into law, providing roughly $484 in relief for small businesses, hospitals, and expanded medical testing. The legislation does not include any housing-related provisions, as Congress intended it to focus squarely on small business and health-related concerns.

House Democrats have already turned their attention to the next COVID relief package, often referred to as CARES 2, which could provide an opportunity to advance immediate Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and other proposals to help low-income households attain and retain stable housing during the crisis. The ACTION Campaign is working to position our proposals so that they might be included in this next bill.

AHCIA Champions Send Bipartisan Letter Urging Inclusion of Housing Credit Priorities in Future COVID-19 Relief Legislation

On April 16, Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01), Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), the lead sponsors of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA), H.R. 3077, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) with Housing Credit priorities for future COVID-19 relief legislation.

The bipartisan letter calls on Congress to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate and to provide flexibility around bond financing requirements to allow more developments to fully utilize the 4 percent credits by lowering the “50 percent test.” Click here to read the letter. The ACTION Campaign is urging Congress to include these priorities in future relief packages.

“4 Percent” Housing Credit Rate Drops to 3.08% in May, Threatening Affordable Housing Projects

With federal borrowing rates slashed in response to the pandemic, the “4 percent” Housing Credit rate, which floats according to federal borrowing rates, is dropping precipitously, threatening the viability of properties currently in the pipeline that have not yet locked-in on their Credit rate. The 4 percent Housing Credit rate, currently at 3.12 percent for April, is set to drop even further to 3.08 percent in May. ACTION urges Congress to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate to help ensure affordable housing projects remain financially viable.

Representatives Neal and DelBene Send Letter to Secretary Mnuchin Requesting Housing Credit Deadline Extensions

On April 10, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA-01) and Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) sent Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin a letter requesting that Treasury and the IRS extend certain deadlines related to the Housing Credit. The letter references deadlines for the 10 percent test for carryover allocations, placed-in-service dates, and rehabilitation expenditures. Chairman Neal and Representative DelBene also urge the consideration of relief related to additional deadlines that impact the Housing Credit program, such as the 25-month rehabilitation period currently allowed to properties that suffered a casualty loss. Click here to read the letter.

IRS Provides Short-Term Extensions to Certain Housing Credit and Housing Bond Deadlines Due to COVID-19

On April 10, the IRS published Notice 2020-23 to provide additional relief for taxpayers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The notice provides that taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to perform specified time-sensitive actions due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020. While the notice does not specifically reference any Housing Credit or Housing Bond deadlines, it applies the July 15 deadline to all time-sensitive actions included in IRS Revenue Procedure 2018-58, which includes numerous deadlines related to these programs. Read ACTION’s latest blog for more information on the recent IRS notice as well as previous IRS guidance related to Housing Credit deadlines.

The short-term extensions provided by Notice 2020-23 do not provide the full regulatory accommodations that the ACTION Campaign has been pursuing. On March 23, NCSHA sent a letter to the IRS and Treasury detailing one-year deadline extensions and other necessary accommodations for the Housing Credit program. On April 8, Enterprise sent a sign-on letter with 233 organizational signatories to the IRS and Treasury in support of those requests.

NCSHA has created a matrix comparing the accommodations it is requesting to those allowed under existing IRS Revenue Procedures 2014-49 and 2014-50, which provide relief in instances of Presidentially-declared Major Disasters, and to recent IRS Notice 2020-23, which extends certain program deadlines until July 15, 2020.

ACTION and its partners will continue to press the IRS to provide specific Housing Credit COVID-19 guidance, as the relief provided by the IRS thus far is insufficient and does not cover several areas where further guidance is needed.

ACTION Membership

The ACTION Campaign is pleased to welcome the following new members:

  • African Diaspora Directorate, National

  • Avenue CDC, Texas

  • Cocoa Housing Authority, Florida

  • Keller Williams, California

  • LeSar Development Consultants, California

  • Lumina Partners LLC, North Carolina

  • Margert Community Corporation, New York

  • M1 Bank, Missouri

  • MHT Housing, Inc., Michigan

  • Neighborhood Lending Partners Inc., Florida

  • TEAH Solutions LLC, California

ACTION is the largest coalition of Housing Credit advocates. Help us continue to grow by inviting your state and local partners to join our campaign to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit.

Housing Credit In the News

  • An April 2 Novogradac blog, “HUD LIHTC Tenant Rport Highlights its Continued Positive Impact for Vulnerable Populations,” summarizes the findings from HUD’s most recently released report on tenants in Housing Credit units, which finds that the Housing Credit program assists those it intends to serve, including the lowest income households. The blog then highlights how the AHCIA would help ensure that the Housing Credit program continues to target households most in need through a basis boost for extremely low-income households and other important provisions.

  • An April 9 Affordable Housing Finance piece, “A Crisis Compounded: Affordable Housing Critical for National Response,” emphasizes the Housing Credit as a proven solution to address the affordable housing shortage and outlines important legislative and regulatory interventions to safeguard the program in the midst of COVID-19. The article was written by Emily Cadik, executive director of The Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, which is an organizational member of the ACTION Campaign Steering Committee.

  • An April 21 piece from The Arizona Republic, “How the coronavirus pandemic collided with America’s critical shortage of housing,” emphasizes the need for affordable housing for low-income families, especially in times of economic stress, and highlights the bipartisan AHCIA as important legislation to build more affordable housing.

Krista D'Alessandro is the tax policy analyst at Enterprise Community Partners. The ACTION Campaign is co-chaired by Enterprise and the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

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