Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Hidden by the storm surrounding the more controversial changes in the Tax Reform Act of 1969 are subtle alterations in the tax structure that may significantly affect the rate and nature of real estate development. The Tax Reform Act amended provisions of the Internal Revenue Code directly applicable to real estate investments,' purposefully redesigning them in the hope of stimulating the construction and rehabilitation of rental housing, particularly low-income housing. The changes in the basic tax structure relative to real estate investments are an attempt to continue a national policy established in 1949, that of providing a "decent home and suitable living environment for every American family." Since 1949, Congress has assumed that an independent housing market does not produce enough quality housing to meet the nation's needs, and has progressively increased housing subsidies. In 1968 Congress reaffirmed the 1949 policy and recognized that the goal had not been fully realized for many of the nation's low-income families. Congress then gave priority to the "construction or rehabilitation of 26 million housing units, 6 million of these for low and moderate-income families," and designed a series of laws to improve the housing conditions of the poor.