General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Owners of residential low-income rental buildings are allowed a low-income housing credit for each qualified building over a 10-year credit period. Form 8609 can be used to obtain a housing credit allocation from the housing credit agency. A separate Form 8609 must be issued for each building in a multiple building project. Form 8609 is also used to certify certain information.

Housing credit agency.   This is any state or local agency authorized to make low-income housing credit allocations within its jurisdiction.

Building identification number (BIN).   This number is assigned by the housing credit agency. The BIN initially assigned to a building must be used for any allocation of credit to the building that requires a separate Form 8609 (see Multiple Forms 8609, later). For example, rehabilitation expenditures treated as a separate new building should not have a separate BIN if the building already has one. Use the number first assigned to the building.

Allocation of credit.   For an owner to claim a low-income housing credit on a building (except as explained under Tax-exempt bonds, later), the housing credit agency must make an allocation of the credit by the close of the calendar year in which the building is placed in service, unless:
  1. The allocation is the result of an advance binding commitment by the credit agency made not later than the close of the calendar year in which the building is placed in service (see section 42(h)(1)(C));

  2. The allocation relates to an increase in qualified basis (see section 42(h)(1)(D));

  3. The allocation is made to a building located in the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone, Rita GO Zone, or Wilma GO Zone, if the allocation was initially made in 2006, 2007, or 2008, and the building is placed in service during the period beginning on January 1, 2006, and ending on December 31, 2011 (see Pub. 4492, Information for Taxpayers Affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, for a list of the counties and parishes in these specific zones);

  4. The allocation is made for a building placed in service no later than the second calendar year following the calendar year in which the allocation is made if the building is part of a project in which the taxpayer's basis is more than 10% of the project's reasonably expected basis as of the end of that second calendar year; or

  5. The allocation is made for a project that includes more than one building if:

    1. The allocation is made during the project period,

    2. The allocation applies only to buildings placed in service during or after the calendar year in which the allocation is made, and

    3. The part of the allocation that applies to any building is specified by the end of the calendar year in which the building is placed in service.

  See sections 42(h)(1)(E) and 42(h)(1)(F) and Regulations section 1.42-6 for more details.

  The agency can only make an allocation to a building located within its geographical jurisdiction. Once an allocation is made, the credit is allowable for all years during the 10-year credit period. A separate Form 8609 must be completed for each building to which an allocation of credit is made.

Multiple Forms 8609.   Allocations of credit in separate calendar years require separate Forms 8609. Also, when a building receives separate allocations for acquisition of an existing building and for rehabilitation expenditures, a separate Form 8609 must be completed for each credit allocation.

Tax-exempt bonds.   No housing credit allocation is required for any portion of the eligible basis of a qualified low-income building that is financed with tax-exempt bonds taken into account for purposes of the volume cap under section 146 if principal payments on the financing are applied within a reasonable period to redeem obligations the proceeds of which were used to provide the financing or the financing is refunded as described in section 146(i)(6). An allocation is not needed when 50% or more of the aggregate basis of the building and the land on which the building is located (defined below) is financed with tax-exempt bonds described in the preceding sentence. However, the owner still must get a Form 8609 from the appropriate housing credit agency (with the applicable items completed, including an assigned BIN).

Land on which the building is located.

This includes only land that is functionally related and subordinate to the qualified low-income building. (See Regulations sections 1.103-8(a)(3) and 1.103-8(b)(4)(iii) for the meaning of “functionally related and subordinate.”)

Filing Requirement

Housing credit agency.   Complete and sign Part I of Form 8609 and make copies of the form. Submit a copy with Form 8610, Annual Low-Income Housing Credit Agencies Report, and keep a copy for the records. The agency must send the original, signed Form 8609 (including instructions) to the building owner.

Building owner.   You must make a one-time submission of Form 8609 to the Low-Income Housing Credit (LIHC) Unit at the IRS Philadelphia campus. After making a copy of the completed original Form 8609, file the original of the form with the unit no later than the due date (including extensions) of your first tax return with which you are filing Form 8609-A, Annual Statement for Low-Income Housing Credit.

Where to file Form 8609.

Send the properly completed and signed form(s) to:

Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service Center 
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0549


The housing credit agency may require you to submit a copy of Form 8609 with a completed Part II to the agency. You should contact the agency to obtain agency filing requirements.

Also, file Form 8609-A for each year of the 15-year compliance period. The credit is claimed on Form 8586, Low-Income Housing Credit. See the forms for filing instructions.

Building Owner's Recordkeeping

Keep the following items in your records for three years after the due date (including extensions) of the owner's tax return for the tax year that includes the end of the 15-year compliance period.

  • A copy of the original Form 8609 received from the housing agency and all related Forms 8609-A (or predecessor Schedules A (Form 8609)), Forms 8586, and any Forms 8611, Recapture of Low-Income Housing Credit.

  • If the maximum applicable credit percentage allowable on line 2 reflects an election under section 42(b)(1)(ii), (or former section 42(b)(2)(A)(ii), for buildings placed in service before July 31, 2008), a copy of the election statement.

  • If the binding agreement specifying the housing credit dollar amount is contained in a separate document, a copy of the binding agreement.

  • If the housing credit dollar amount allocated on line 1b reflects an allocation made under section 42(h)(1)(E) or section 42(h)(1)(F), a copy of the allocation document.

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