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Examining the Adequacy and Efficiency of LIHTC

Arlene Conn, PHADA Policy Analyst

Background

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) was established by revision to the U.S. Tax Code in 1986 (P.L. 99-514) to provide private owners with an incentive to create and maintain affordable housing for low income households. Tax credits provide a dollar-for dollar reduction of income tax liability.

By many measures this effort has been highly successful, dramatically transforming thousands of landscapes and profoundly improving millions of lives. Over its more than three decades of existence, the LIHTC program has put about three million units of housing into service in over 45,000 projects. Yet, the exploding national affordable housing crisis mushrooms unabated. Given the tenacity of the challenge, questions about the adequacy, efficiency and equity of the LIHTC program persist.

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