IRS Regulations Clarify Rules for Transferring Energy Tax Credits

IRS building in Washington, DC

On Thursday, the IRS issued a package of final regulations on the transferability of tax credits for rooftop solar and other clean energy investments under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). (Final regulations and IRS news release, April 25)


  • The final rules relate to the transferability of qualifying credits to third-party credit purchasers in the context of partnerships and pass-throughs, as well as potential credit recapture events and penalties for excessive credit transfers. (PoliticoPro, April 25 and Tax Notes, April 26)
  • The ability to transfer clean energy credits allows REITs to participate in the new IRA tax incentive regime. The final regulations address several concerns raised by The Roundtable in its July 2023 comment letter, particularly in the context of REIT investments. For example, the regulations clarify that as-yet-untransferred credits are disregarded for purposes of the REIT 75% asset test.
  • Unfortunately, the final regulations did not reverse the Biden administration’s prior guidance that generally limits the ability of mixed real estate partnerships (taxable and tax-exempt partners) to maximize their credit benefits through a combination of credit transfers and direct payments.  Mixed partnerships can still claim the new tax credits, but may lose some of the financial value due to the specific tax attributes of the individual partners. 
  • Treasury indicated additional guidance is likely to help taxpayers meet the cumbersome credit registration requirements and ensure taxpayers can qualify for the underlying incentives. The IRS also updated its FAQs on tax credit transfers on April 25.  

The Roundtable’s Energy Credit Transferability/Direct Pay Working Group is analyzing the regulations and assessing their impact on CRE.

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Roundup: Lawmakers Seek Action on Affordable Housing Incentives, Senators Push Treasury for EV Recharging Station Guidance, and Joint Tax Committee Releases Long-Awaited “Bluebook”

House Ways and Means Committee members sent a bipartisan letter to House Leadership last Friday urging consideration of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 3238) in any potential tax legislation brought to the floor in 2024. (Letter, Dec. 15)

AHCIA Provisions

  • Since the introduction of H.R. 3238 in May, the bill has garnered strong bipartisan support with 200 cosponsors—100 Republicans and 100 Democrats. (summary of AHCIA)
  • Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL), Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and others wrote to House leadership urging inclusion of two key changes to the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) in any tax legislation that emerges (Tax Notes, Dec. 15):
  • Restoring the 12.5% increase in state allocation of housing credits that expired at the end of 2021, and
  • Lowering the threshold of private activity bond financing (currently 50%) that a project must meet in order to qualify for the maximum amount of 4% housing credits. 
  • The competitive and over-subscribed LIHTC program is a critical federal tool for addressing the widespread lack of affordable rental housing. The arbitrary 50% bond financing requirement creates a barrier to affordable housing production, especially for the growing number of states that fully utilize their private activity bond cap. (Roundtable Weekly, May 19)

Senators Push Treasury to Finalize Rules for EV Recharging Infrastructure Incentives

  • The Roundtable previously submitted detailed comments seeking guidance requesting greater clarity for real estate owners and others contemplating new investments in EV recharging stations.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act generally limits the credit to facilities installed in rural or low-income census tracts. The letter encourages Treasury to adopt an inclusive definition that effectively covers any tract if 10 percent or more of the “census blocks” inside the tract are rural. 
  • The Senators’ letter includes other requests that align with the Roundtable’s comments and aims to help the administration realize its goal of deploying 500,000 chargers by 2030. For example, the Senators urge that the rules treat each port at a refueling property as a “single item” that effectively qualifies for its own credit.

Joint Tax Committee Releases “Bluebook” Describing Recent Tax Laws

Joint Committee on Taxation logo
  • On Friday, Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released its long-awaited explanation of recently enacted tax laws.
  • The so-called “JCT Bluebook” is often relied upon by Treasury officials and federal courts when implementing and interpreting tax statutes. 

Congress reconvenes in Washington the week of January 8, where they will face a fast-approaching deadline for fiscal year 2024 spending bills and additional priorities, including a tax package.

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White House Holds Property Conversions Briefing for Roundtable Members

Last week, the White House hosted a virtual briefing for Roundtable members to discuss federal loan and guarantee programs at the federal departments of Energy, Housing, Transportation and the General Services Administration that may assist with financing commercial-to-residential conversion projects.

Property Conversions Briefing

  • In October, the administration announced a suite of federal resources—including low-interest loans—across various agencies to assist conversion projects aimed at increasing the housing supply, revitalizing urban downtowns, and cutting climate pollution. (Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 27; White House Commercial to Residential Conversions Guidebook)
  • The briefing last week provided members with a high-level overview of the administration’s conversion work and focused on the Transportation Department’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement (RRIF) financing programs. (See FAQs)
  • White House staff also announced upcoming workshops with the Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau to learn more about how TIFIA and RRIF financing can be used for transit-oriented development (“TOD”) that takes the form of adaptive reuse.

Upcoming Workshops – Federal Resources to Support Commercial-to-Residential Conversions

IRA Tax Incentives – 179D

  • White House staff on the property conversions briefing mentioned that green tax incentives enacted by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) may be layered with other federal loan, guarantee, and grant programs to support a project.  (See RER fact sheet, “Clean Energy Tax Incentives Relevant to U.S Real Estate)
  • Roundtable Senior Vice President & Counsel Duane Desiderio was quoted this week in Tax Notes on the deduction in section 179D for energy-efficient commercial buildings.
  • “The IRA’s changes to section 179D are good policy, but more changes need to be made for the deduction to reach its full potential,” said Desiderio.” (Tax Notes, Nov. 28). He explained that Congress should make 179D “transferable” by REITs and other private sector owners.

The Roundtable’s Property Conversions Working Group will continue to serve as a conduit between our members and the administration to help design impactful policies that can assist with office-to-residential conversions. Please contact Roundtable SVPs Duane Desiderio ( or Ryan McCormick ( for more information.

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Lawmakers Extend Government Funding Into Early 2024; Outlook Uncertain for Tax Policy and Other Priorities

Capitol Hill at dusk

The latest threat of a government shutdown eased this week after President Biden signed two continuing resolutions, funding some agencies until Jan. 19 and others until Feb. 2, giving Congress a chance to pass full-year appropriations bills in early 2024, and leaving the Biden administration’s $106 billion supplemental foreign aid request unresolved. (AP, Nov. 17 |Wall Street Journal | Washington Post | NBC News, Nov. 15)

Window Narrowing for Other Policy Priorities

  • Congress’ focus on the funding measures leave policymakers looking for a potential legislative vehicle that could support a separate, expensive tax package. Conversations among tax policy writers are ongoing, according to Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA). (BGov, Nov. 16)
  • Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) are discussing a package in the $90-100 billion range that would include measures on business interest deductibility and bonus depreciation, as well as an increase in the child tax credit for low-income families. (Roundtable Weekly, June 16)

IRA Tax Incentives

Tax Notes publication
  • On the regulatory front, Roundtable Senior Vice President Ryan McCormick was quoted this week in Tax Notes on the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) rules affecting clean energy credits—and the need to ensure incentives extend equitably to “mixed partnerships” that include both taxable and tax-exempt investors.
  • “Tax-exempt investors in mixed real estate partnerships include pension funds, educational endowments, private foundations, and public charities,” said McCormick, noting that these entities have invested over $900 billion in commercial real estate.
  • The Tax Notes article also addressed problems posed by IRA prevailing wage and apprenticeship rules that were the focus of an Oct. 30 Roundtable comment letter. The letter quantified the large compliance costs and recommended allowing contractors to self-certify their compliance with the wage and apprenticeship requirements. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 3)

The Roundtable’s Tax and Sustainability Policy Advisory Committees will remain engaged with policymakers as the IRA rules affecting CRE are finalized and implemented. These issues will be discussed during The Roundtable’s State of the Industry Meeting on January 23-24, 2024 in Washington.

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Roundtable Recommends Solutions to Ease Compliance with Labor Rules for IRA Tax Incentives

Workers on sustainable energy project on rooftop of building

The Real Estate Roundtable submitted comments this week encouraging the Treasury Department to provide a compliance “safe harbor” to streamline labor-related requirements necessary to seek “bonus” tax incentives for clean energy building projects under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). (Roundtable comment letter, Oct. 30)

Prevailing Wage and Apprenticeship Compliance Burdens

  • The Roundtable letter notes that the IRA’s objective to support retrofits and slash carbon emissions in the built environment will be undermined if the costs of labor compliance far exceed the incentives offered by Congress.
  • The comments explain that wage and apprenticeship compliance burdens would dis-incentivize businesses and taxpayers’ to pursue the IRA’s clean energy bonuses, thereby rendering the bonus credits program illusory in many cases.
  • The letter also emphasizes that a regulatory solution to ease the IRA’s paperwork burdens would spur more clean energy projects in buildings—and encourages Treasury/IRS to conduct its own thorough cost-benefit accounting of Prevailing Wage/Registered Apprenticeship (PW/RA) Requirements before issuing a final rule.

 Contractor Compliance Certifications Sought

rooftop heat pumps with solar panels in the foreground.
  • The “safe harbor” recommendation by The Roundtable would allow building owners/developers to rely on written certifications provided by their General Contractors (GCs), or any other subcontractors (subs), would confirm and fulfill all PW/RA labor requirements.
  • This streamlined approach would reduce the compliance burden and retain the fervor that IRA tax incentives could generate under the IRA. Real estate owners and developers are not the direct employers of electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, solar technicians, EV charging installers, or any others that construct or retrofit buildings. GCs and subs directly employ manual laborers.
  • The Roundtable also recommends regulators develop “Recordkeeping Requirements” for PW/RA compliance that reflect the reality of how laborers, mechanics, and apprentices are employed on real estate projects, who is hired by whom, and how hours worked are tracked.

Other targeted tax reforms that will help scale real estate’s transformation toward zero emissions are recommended in The Roundtable letter. These include expanding Section 48 of the Code to building electrification technologies; allowing private owner transfers to unrelated third parties under Sections 45L and 179D; and repealing a Section 179D rule that reduces a property’s basis by the amount of the claimed deduction. (Roundtable comment letter, Oct. 30)

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