units in the building. Estimates may be obtained from a local utility company or a state or local housing credit agency, or calculated using HUD’s Utility Schedule Model or an energy consumption model.1*
*PHA Utility Allowance*
*Requirements for utility allowances are found in 24 CFR 982.517, Utility Allowance Schedule. The PHA must provide a utility allowance for utilities and services that are necessary in the locality to provide housing that complies with the housing quality standards. The PHA must classify utilities and other housing services according to specific categories and the allowance for each category must be separately stated.
Taxable Years Beginning Before July 29, 2008
State agencies reported that the local PHA utility allowances did not always reflect a fair approximation of actual utility costs for such buildings. Accordingly, until further guidance was provided in Treas. Reg. 1.42-10,2 taxpayers were allowed to calculate utility allowances for the rent-restricted units in the building based upon an average of the actual use of similarly constructed and sized units in the building using actual utility usage data and rates, provided that the taxpayer had written approval from the state agency.
If an owner computed the utility allowance estimates based on the expected or historical use by the LIHC buildings/units, the estimate must have been calculated in a reasonable manner and contemporaneously documented3 to show how the estimate was determined. State agencies were required to review the methodology used to calculate the estimate for reasonableness, and ensure that the estimate is computed accurately.*
*Paid Directly by the Tenants and not by or through the Owner of the Building – For Taxable Years Beginning after July 28, 2008*
*Some buildings in qualified low-income housing projects are sub-metered. Sub- metering measures tenants’ actual utility consumption, and tenants pay for the utilities they use. A sub-metering system typically includes a master meter, which is owned or controlled by the utility supplying the electricity, gas, or water, with overall utility consumption billed to the building owner. In a sub-metered system, building owners (or their agents) use unit-based meters to measure utility consumption and prepare a bill for each residential unit based on consumption. The building owners (or their agents) retain records of resident utility consumption, and tenants receive documentation of utility costs as specified in the lease.
Notice 2009-444 clarifies that, for purposes of Treas. Reg. §1.42-10(a), utility costs paid by a tenant based on actual consumption in a sub-metered rent-restricted unit are treated as paid directly by the tenant, and not by or through the owner of the building. For RHS-assisted buildings, buildings with RHS tenant assistance, HUD-regulated buildings, and rent-restricted units in other buildings occupied by tenants receiving HUD rental assistance, the applicable RHS or HUD rules apply. For all other tenants in rent-restricted units in other buildings:
1 *The additional options for determining utility allowances apply to buildings subject to TD 9420, which was published on July 29, 2008, in the Federal Register. See reference #3 for additional information.* *See footnote 1 above.* IRC §6001 requires all taxpayers to keep adequate records to support the items represented on their tax returns, including utility allowances. *I.R.B. 2009-21 1037.* 2 3 4
Revised October 2009