Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Homebuyer Credit: What [Else] Could Go Wrong?

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) just reported that about $9 million in homebuyer tax credits were claimed by prisoners. Additionally, over 80 IRS employees made errant or fraudulent homebuyer credit claims. Overall, over 14,000 inappropriate credits have been allowed, including 2,500 for purchases prior to the credit's inception. TIGTA said that this development was "very troubling" but did give the IRS credit for working to reduce some abuses from the earlier stages of the credit. One example: no minors claiming the credit were found in this investigation.

At best, the Homebuyer's credit had marginal justification in attempting to stabilize the housing market and put brakes on the depths of the recession on 2009. With the economy doing slightly better and evidence that the IRS is having difficulty policing abuses of the credit; it appears that the only significant remaining beneficiaries of the credit are realtors and certain politicians.

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