Gwen Volk INFOCUS INC.’s response to COVID-19


Low Income Housing Credits

Our Low Income Housing Tax Credit compliance courses are continually updated to reflect the most current requirements. We offer courses suitable for agents and owners as well as courses for both new and experienced on-site staff. Select a course to find out the available formats and to read the course description. For a complete list of courses, download our Signature Course Catalog.

Tax Credits from A to Z and/or 12-Hour SHCM Exam Prep Course

Format: On-Site: Two-Day Workshop – 12 hours of training or
Virtual: two 6 – 6½ hour sessions or four 3 – 3½ hour sessions

Focus: Comprehensive Housing Credit management course with or without SHCM exam component. One key requirement for entry into the SHCM application process is 12 hours of housing credit education followed by sitting for and passing the SHCM exam. Gwen provides the required training in her Signature Course “Tax Credit SHCM Certification 12-hour Exam Prep Course” which includes instruction on the four areas of knowledge covered by the SHCM exam: program regulations, unit eligibility, applicant eligibility and certification, and documentation, record keeping, compliance monitoring and reporting. Gwen Volk provides this and other tax credit compliance courses for private companies as well as through the NAHMA approved providers. She has frequently been a trainer for NAHMA/NAA’s SHCM on-line Blended Learning course. The Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM) certification has been developed by the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) especially for management professionals involved with properties developed and operated under the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. The SHCM is designed by management professionals for management professionals to ensure they have attained the knowledge, experience and competence required to excel in the housing credit property management industry.

LIHTC Occupancy: From Basic to Black Belt

Format: On-Site: 6-hour Workshop or Virtual: one 6-hour session or two 3-hour sessions

Focus: Reviews six key requirements for managing an LIHTC property, plus minimum set-asides, applicable fraction, annual recertification, and tips on maintaining compliance. Includes special rules (available unit, vacant unit, and transfers), Non-§42 regulations impacting LIHTC properties (criminal background, VAWA, nuisance ordinances, LEP, quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment), correcting non-compliance, the state agency’s requirements, and proposed changes to the student rule and set-asides Students will need a calculator. Mini-quizzes, case studies and whiteboarding activities are included to reinforce the learning.

Tax Credit Occupancy: Back to Basics

Format: On-Site: 4-hour Workshop or Virtual: One 4-hour session or two 2-hour sessions

Focus: For newly hired managers or those with no Tax Credit experience as well as those needing a refresher course on the basics and the latest updates. This course translates the complexity of the program into plain language that even the newest manager can understand – answering the questions: “What is a housing credit?” and “How does it differ from other programs?” The course covers eligibility (including the student rule), the application process, calculating and verifying income, and maintaining compliance (including the available unit and vacant rules and annual recertification). Mini-quizzes, case studies and whiteboarding activities are included to reinforce the learning. Students will need a calculator.

Managing the LIHTC Utility Allowance

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: Making a mistake in the calculation or timing of a utility allowance and/or failing to analyze the effect on tenant rents can be costly. Participants will learn how utility allowances affect rents, what methods are allowed by the IRS and by the state, how they work, what makes the most sense for the property, If, when, why and how owners can or should change the method they are using, how other funding sources /HUD/RD/HOME) affect their choices, and management’s responsibilities to the tenant, to the owner, and the monitoring agency.

LIHTC “Unit Rules” Available Unit, Vacant Unit, Unit Transfer and more

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: Master the special unit rules of the tax credit program: The Available Unit rule, The Vacant Unit rule, The Unit Transfer rule and the Manager Unit rules. A straightforward, practical discussion of the rules that make the tax credit program challenging – especially on mixed income properties - with lots of examples and the opportunity to practice applying these rules in real-life situations.

Section 42 Non-Compliance: How it Happens and How to Repair

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: The IRS 8823 Guide lists the 17 types of non-compliance that state agencies must report to the IRS. Learn the common mistakes that lead to non-compliance, how to avoid them, how to repair them if they occur and the penalties that are incurred for each.

LIHTC Recertification In-Depth

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: Recertification can be a difficult task for the tax credit property: “HUD isn’t paying my rent so why do I have to recertify?” This course takes an in-depth look at the requirements and timing of annual and other recertification’s as well as the 140% (Next Available Unit) Rule, unit transfers, and changes in household composition. We will also tackle the special challenges with resyndication and for properties with blended financing, and prevention and cures for delinquent annuals.

Master the Applicant Interview (Protect the Owner’s Credits)

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: The LIHTC program is unforgiving when an unqualified applicant is moved into a housing credit unit. There are no second chances once they have moved them in and a well-conducted interview is insurance against non-compliance. This course covers how the applicant interview is key to Section 42 “due diligence”, how to establish rapport, gain trust, and ask the right questions in the right way while ensuring a consistent scripted approach to prevent costly fair housing mistakes. Includes valuable tips on interviewing persons with various types of disabilities and how to respond to situations and conversations that commonly occur. Plus, interview methods and techniques during the pandemic.

Self-Auditing Tax Credit Files

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: What is a “self-audit” and when should management do one? And how does the manager correct non-compliance if they find it? The instructor will highlight the issues monitoring agencies zero in on – incomplete applications, delinquent recertifications, insufficient documentation, income calculation errors, contradictions within a verification, underestimating anticipated income, late verifications and missing or late signatures. Participants will have a chance to try out their auditing skills.

Tax Credit Student Rules

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: What does the IRS have against full-time students? We will answer that question and examine the rules they impose and exceptions they make so the tax credit property doesn’t turn into a college dorm. Some of these rules make sense and some of them do not. But to remain in compliance and protect the owner’s credits, the manager must know how to apply them at move-in and what to do when an existing resident turns out to be (or into) a full-time student.

Tax Credit Restrictions and Set-Asides

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: What makes a tax credit property a tax credit property? What makes a unit a tax credit unit? This session reviews the minimum set-aside and applicable fraction and the basic restrictions that every unit must meet to be qualified for credits: income, rent, utility allowance, habitability, and more.

Tax Credit Calculations and Verifications

Format: On-Site: 1 – 1½ hours or Virtual: 90 minutes

Focus: Because we don’t do “interims” on a tax credit tenant, anticipating annual income (especially on move-in) is critical. This means we need consistency and accuracy in interpreting verifications and calculating the income that is disclosed and not be tempted to over-calculate income “just to be safe”. This session will cover best practices for verifications and calculations, what the IRS and the state monitoring agent require, and how to defend the calculations in a file audit.