Stimulus Funds Could Cover Tax Credit Extension: Rep. Boustany
If the first-time homebuyer tax credit is extended beyond its current Nov. 30 expiration, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) said he wants to see it paid for before it’s approved. Boustany, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee, told HousingWire the impact of the credit’s benefits must be weighed against potential fraud. “If we go forward and extend the program, we need to make sure IRS can adequately monitor and enforce the program to maintain its integrity,” Boustany said. “One of the things I would consider would be looking at reprogramming some of the stimulus money that has not been used, but I would not want to do this without having it paid for.” The Oversight subcommittee is conducting a hearing Thursday morning to examine the issue of fraud related to the tax credit. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) opened more than 100,000 civil examinations of potential fraud related to the credit. The subcommittee also considered opportunities to enhance the administration of the tax credit during the 2010 tax-filing season. “There is some suggestion that refundable tax credit might be a little bit more difficult to administer against fraud because you’re talking about cash transfers,” Boustany said. “We have information on how many people have taken advantage of the tax credit, but we have to balance that against the level of fraud that’s occurred with this.” On Monday, a trio of real estate trade associations submitted a letter to government leaders calling for the extension and expansion of the tax credit. Write to Austin Kilgore.