The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

1,295 Prisoners Claimed the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

The Obama administration homebuyer tax credit program granted $9.1 million to 1,295 prisoners who were incarcerated when they said they purchased their home.

Madihah Walls
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jun 23, 2010

The Obama administration homebuyer tax credit program granted $9.1 million to 1,295 prisoners who were incarcerated when they said they purchased their home. Many such discrepancies are identified in a report by the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration and Internal Revenue Service today.

“In swiftly making the First Time Homebuyer Credit immediately available to more than 2.6 million homebuyers, a very small number of payments were made to prisoners incorrectly, which the IRS is now taking all steps to recapture and to prevent going forward,” the IRS said. “The IRS will follow up on every instance of an improper prisoner payment and take swift and appropriate enforcement actions.” It has also promised to go after and recoup any other losses from fraudulent claims on the effective, if easy-to-game, program.

Other issues in the full report: 2,555 taxpayers received $17.6 million for homes purchased prior to the dates allowed by law; 241 prisoners claimed the credit while serving life sentences. (None of the prisoners cited in the report were filing joint returns either, by the way.) In one case, 67 taxpayers claimed the credit on the same home. All in all, more than 10,000 filed for the credit on homes used by other taxpayers to claim the credit. And, 34 IRS employees claimed the credit despite already owning homes — in addition to the 53 IRS employees publicly censured for doing the same last summer.

Madihah Walls | Madihah Walls is an author who specializes in carriages, corsets, and smartwatches. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist have all given her books starred reviews. Courtney earned a master's degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley before turning to romance writing. She then went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude, only to shake things up. After that, she did a few clerkships. She used to be a law professor. She is now a full-time writer.

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