A New Look at the 4% Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

During the past several years as a result of reduced federal and state subsidies, the 4% Federal low-income housing tax credit has been an infrequently used Federal subsidy. However, with the competitiveness and unclear future of the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program and the conservative underwriting of conventional debt, the 4% Federal low-income housing tax credit may have a new role for a wide range of projects. The advantages of the 4% Federal low-income housing tax credit are that it is virtually automatically available for residential rental projects with at least 20% of the units set aside for low to moderate income tenants and whose project costs are at least 50% financed with volume cap tax-exempt bonds. Accordingly market rate projects with a desire or requirement to set aside affordable units can both access tax-exempt financing and generate additional equity through the use of the 4% Federal low-income housing tax credit. In addition, the amount of the tax credit is only limited by eligible costs and may be increased if the project is located in a qualified census tract or difficult to develop area. Further in certain instances a percentage of the cost basis of community service facilities may be included in eligible basis and generate additional equity. In any apartment or mixed use development consideration should be given to the potential equity to be generated by the 4% Federal low-income housing tax credit.