Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Section 2835(d) of HERA (Pub. L. 110-289, approved July 30, 2008) amends Title I of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437
New section 36(b) requires HUD to establish standards and definitions for the information to be collected by state agencies and to provide states with technical assistance in establishing systems to compile and submit such information and, in coordination with other federal agencies administering housing programs, establish procedures to minimize duplicative reporting requirements for properties assisted under multiple housing programs.
New section 36(c) provides that HUD “shall, not less than annually, compile and make publicly available the information submitted to the Secretary pursuant to subsection (a).”
LIHTC is a tax incentive intended to increase the availability of low-income housing. Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 provides an income tax credit to owners of newly constructed or substantially rehabilitated low-income rental housing projects. The credits allocated are based on the cost of units placed in service as low-income units under particular minimum occupancy and maximum rent criteria. In general, a building must meet one of two thresholds to be eligible for LIHTC: (1) At least 20 percent of the units must be rent-restricted and occupied by tenants with incomes no higher than 50 percent of the area median gross income (AMGI); or (2) At least 40 percent of the units must be rent-restricted and occupied by tenants with incomes no higher than 60 percent of AMGI. The term “rent-restricted” means that gross rent, including an allowance for tenant-paid utilities, cannot exceed 30 percent of the tenant's imputed income limitation (
Currently, there is no comprehensive administrative database containing data on LIHTC tenant households. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research, under its broad authority to conduct research on housing and urban development issues, has collected and published data on LIHTC projects periodically throughout the life of the LIHTC program, and annually since 1999. The HERA requirement reflects Congressional intent to have data on households residing in LIHTC properties collected annually and submitted under uniform standards.
Through this notice, HUD seeks to inform all the public of its responsibilities with respect to LIHTC data collection, and to reach a broader audience (than is possible through informal meetings) to solicit early input from state agencies and other interested members of the public on standards and definitions that would be helpful to state agencies in their collection of the information required by section 36 of the 1937 Act, as well as input on procedures that would minimize duplicative reporting requirements.
In an effort to initiate discussion of these statutory requirements and commence the solicitation of informal feedback on these requirements, the data collection requirements were first discussed in a public forum at the Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System (TRACS) quarterly industry meeting on October 22, 2008. At that time, HUD also announced its intention to create an informal working group, open, at any time, to any interested parties, for the members of the working group to share their individual views of this data collection effort, and any past experiences with similar data collection efforts. HUD will use the information provided by the various members of the working group and consider the members' individual recommendations and suggestions in its development of the standards and definitions that HUD is charged with issuing under section 36 of the 1937 Act.
HUD is seeking feedback from the public on the standards, definitions, and procedures for collecting the required data. One possible approach for which it solicits early comment, is to use two forms, one requesting data on LIHTC properties, indicating among other things project-based subsidies (so that universally applicable project data need not be separately reported for each tenant), and the other requesting data on LIHTC tenants and unit-specific characteristics. HUD requests that the public provide comments on whether this approach will minimize reporting burden on property managers, and on any other approaches that HUD should consider.
To collect LIHTC property characteristics, HUD seeks comments on whether the agency should use the form currently used to collect data in HUD's LIHTC projects placed in service database. Annually, HUD requests, through a contractor, data on a volunteer basis from the state housing finance agencies on LIHTC projects placed in service. This form has two advantages over creating a new form. First, it is OMB-approved through 2011 and therefore would not require a new review under the Paperwork Reduction Act unless modifications are made. Second, the state housing agencies currently use this form and are familiar with it. Continuing with a familiar form would assist the goal of minimizing the reporting burden. More information on HUD's current LIHTC projects placed in service database can be found here:
The proposed tenant data collection form is based on the National Council of State Housing Agencies' (NCSHA's) best practices Tenant Income Certification (TIC) Form. The IRS does not require a standard form across states to certify tenants residing in LIHTC-financed units. NCSHA's best practices TIC form is used by many state housing finance agencies, either as is or in a slightly modified version. Since the data requested on this form is already collected by many state housing finance agencies, HUD believes this form, modified to account for additional information that HUD is required by statute to report, would minimize the reporting burden on the state agencies. The form contemplated by HUD amends NCSHA's TIC to include race, ethnicity, and disability status.
HUD anticipates publishing its formal proposal for implementing the data collection during the summer of 2009. Once data transmission methods are in place, data collection could begin as early as the first or second quarter of 2010.