August 4, 2020
IRS Issues Notice Providing
Temporary Relief 
IRS Issues Notice Providing Temporary Relief 
On July 1, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service issued IRS Notice 2020-53, providing temporary relief to owners and residents of Housing Credit and tax-exempt bond financed developments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is effective immediately. Specific provisions of the notice include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Suspending the owner requirement to perform tenant income recertifications for the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020;

  • Suspending the Housing Credit allocating agency requirement to conduct compliance monitoring inspections or reviews for the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020;

  • Allowing temporary closure of property amenities or common areas during the period from April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic without resulting in a reduction of the eligible basis of the building; and

  • Allowing medical personnel or other essential workers providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic to temporarily occupy Housing Credit units in accordance with the emergency housing provisions of IRS Revenue Procedures 2014-49 and 2014-50.
OHFA Guidance
  • OHFA’s Compliance Division will continue to complete file-only remote (desktop) audits. Projects will be notified of an upcoming audit via email and through the communications area of the OHFA Inspection System. We strongly encourage you to set your “Notification Preference” in your OHFA Inspection profile to be notified “immediately” to receive notifications. 

  • Compliance staff will not conduct physical inspections that are due during the 2020 calendar year; however, OHFA may need to complete a physical inspection on some projects. This may be due to requirements associated with certain funding sources, tenant complaints, etc. Physical inspections for projects that do not have physical inspections this year due to the IRS suspension will be incorporated into our inspection cycles over the next couple of years. 

  • OHFA strongly encourages owners to complete annual unit inspections as soon as you are safely able to do so in your projects. If an annual unit inspection was not completed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those inspections must be completed no later than March 1, 2021.  

  • Per the IRS guidance regarding recertifications from April 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020, owners will not be required to complete annual income recertifications for this time period. OHFA encourages owners to continue to process paperwork in the safest manner possible for property staff and residents. OHFA has extended the ability to process paperwork via drop-off, mail, e-mail and/or phone through Dec. 31, 2020 as long as an OHFA Clarification Record is added to the resident’s file, explaining the process by which the recertification was delayed and completed. In addition, owners (with OHFA approval) can permanently utilize the e-signature option by completing OHFA’s e-signature policy.

  • Per the IRS, owners are still required to complete the student certification; this requirement has not been suspended in IRS Notice 2020-53. 

  • Owners are not required to conduct retroactive recertifications for any recertifications that are not completed from April 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020. However, owners must add an OHFA Clarification Record to the tenant’s file stating the recertification was missed (provide the recertification date) due to the IRS Notice 2020-53. The Clarification Record can be found on the OHFA website.

  • When in doubt, please use an OHFA Clarification Record to document any paperwork that may require additional explanation.