NAHB Member Saves $100K on Infrastructure Measure NAHB Championed


In a great example of the value of NAHB membership, President Biden today signed infrastructure legislation into law that includes a key provision fought for by NAHB that will save many members thousands of dollars and one member at least $100,000.

Of importance to the housing community, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains one provision that NAHB has been fighting to enact for the past three years that restores an exemption for water and sewer contributions in aid of construction (CIAC). This provision will save some developers as much as 40% on water and sewer costs and one Tennessee builder and developer said it will save his business $100,000 on one development alone.

The background of CIAC can be traced to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in 2017, when Congress eliminated an exemption for water and sewer CIAC, making such contributions taxable if the utility is a privately-owned, for-profit entity.

As a result, in areas served by a corporate, for-profit water utility, when a builder installs new water or sewer infrastructure to support additional housing — at no cost to the existing residents — that infrastructure is taxed by the federal government. In some states, affected utilities were required to pass this tax liability to the developer, resulting in CIAC surcharges as high as 40%.

The new law, which is effective for CIAC contributions made after Dec. 31, 2020, ends this tax liability and could not come soon enough for James Carbine, a residential builder/developer in the Nashville area.

“The taxes alone on a sewer system by a private utility that we are starting to develop were $100,000,” said Carbine. “This subdivision is 50 lots and that’s $2,000 per lot. And if a lot cost goes up by $2,000, the house sales price goes up five times that to $10,000. This new law that NAHB fought for not only saves the developer money, it also promotes housing affordability.”

Carbine has been an NAHB member for 35 years and says the investment is well worth it.

“My annual dues are $700. This year alone I have saved $100,000 because of NAHB’s efforts. That’s a pretty good return,” he said.

Sewer systems with private utilities in the Nashville area very prevalent, so Carbine noted the new law “will save builders a lot of money.”

“This is something our members need to be aware of,” he added. “This is just one item that NAHB has done this year and there’s a long list of things that are sometimes difficult to equate to dollars that help our industry nationwide. I know NAHB has worked on this issue since it went into effect. It took three years and it’s a big win.”

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