Give the Gift of Homeownership to Newlyweds

December 1, 1996

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Your soon-to-be-wed prospects can get blenders, china, and a downpayment for a house as wedding gifts.

Henry Cisneros, secretary of U.S.Department Housing and Urban Development, has announced a plan that will allow couples to establish a bridal registry account at participating FHA-approved lenders. ''The homeownership rate for households under the age of 35 is 58.8 percent, but the rate for households nationwide is 65.4 percent,'' says Cisneros. ''This bridal registry program can help close the gap.''

Under the policy, FHA lenders will set up interest-bearing accounts for couples, and family members and friends can contribute toward the downpayment on a couple's house. More than 30 lenders nationwide have agreed to participate in the program.

For information on the bridal registry, call 800/CALLFHA, and visit http://www.hud.gov/apprbank.html for a list of participating lenders.

Keep the IRS at Bay

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Exaggerating your income on a loan application can trigger an Internal Revenue Service audit, according to the California Society of Enrolled Agents.

The IRS and mortgage lenders hope to expand a program--currently operating only in California--to identify self-employed persons who report higher incomes on loan applications than on tax returns. With loan applicants’ consent, participating lenders send income figures to the IRS that applicants have supplied; the IRS then compares those figures with those on applicants’ tax returns.

''People are sometimes tempted to bump up their adjusted gross income to qualify for a loan,'' says Sidney Norton, CSEA president. And according to CSEA, if there's a significant difference between the two income figures, loan applicants could be subject to criminal prosecution, as well as an IRS audit.

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