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Home Purchasers Should Pay Attention to IRS Form 4506-T
Thu 01/07/10 11:59:13 pm
by JD Evans

Buyer beware of what you sign. Read and question all documents when you close your home loan. Date when you sign. Never leave the date blank and never sign any documents with any blanks left unfilled. Do not leave any chance for any changes you might not approve of.

Not just a innocuous part of the paper blizzard, it potentially exposes otherwise confidential personal financial facts to unknown and uncontrollable numbers of people. Reporting from Washington – You could guess it’s just another boring-looking piece of the paper blitz you’re hit with when you apply for a household loan. But given IRS Form 4506-T’s new prominence in the fraud-shocked mortgage market, it’s much more than just another licence to sign.

The form authorizes a loan officer or mortgage investor to acquire electronic transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service doormat multiple years of your federal income tax filings. The IRS has supplied private tax return facts to lenders for years, however the data typically were requested only at the close of escrow, and mainly for self-employed applicants or those with unusual earnings patterns.

But Fannie Mae recently aimed lenders to obtain two sets of electronic transcripts for all borrowers, regardless of earnings sources — a 4506-T upfront at application and another at closing. Fannie told lenders the move was part of its efforts to spot fraudulent earnings claims and delimit loan losses.

During the height of the housing boom, many lenders went soft on borrowers, allowing millions of them to “state” their incomes rather than supply copies of tax returns filed with the IRS. These so-called no-documentation loans often later turned out to be “liar loans,” with puffed-up incomes enabling borrowers to obtain larger mortgages than they could justify — or afford — based on their actual incomes.

When lenders didn’t verify stated earnings claims, liar loans often turned into foreclosure bombs. Their remains are discernible in neighborhoods across the country, where foreclosures have soared to history levels.

Now, not only Fannie Mae however also most major lenders are tightening standards and double checking everything. When it comes to what you say is your annual income, they want to check it twice — even if you submitted stacks of IRS returns.

The IRS is helping out as well by lowering the price of those multiple verifications. As a result of higher-than-expected revenues generated by skyrocketing demands for 4506-Ts, the IRS — which is not permitted to make a profit on services such as earnings verification checks — has cut the price of transcripts from $4.50 to $2.25, according to industry sources.

“The timing of the cost reduction couldn’t be better for lenders looking to return to more frugal underwriting,” said Curtis Knuth, vice president of New Jersey-based NCS Inc., one of the largest vendors of Form 4506-Ts to the mortgage industry. Most lenders, he said, do not charge loan applicants separately for earnings verifications but roll the costs into their origination or processing fees.

The much more intensive use of Form 4506-T also is focusing new light on what consumers should — and shouldn’t — do when confronted with a lender’s or settlement agent’s request that they fill one out.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Take Form 4506-T seriously. It’s a powerful tool, and potentially exposes otherwise confidential personal financial facts to unknown and uncontrollable numbers of people. It is not just another part of the paper blizzard.

  • Pay careful attention to the IRS’ instructions on the form, particularly as related to the tax return transcript years being requested, and to the dating of the precious next to your signature. The date you write in is important because the IRS won’t provide transcripts unless it receives the request within 60 days of the signing date by the taxpayers making the loan application. Make sure you date the precious when you sign it.

    Filling in the tax return years is distressing as well because it allows you to delimit what the lender, settlement official or secondary market purchaser of the home loan can obtain. The precious includes boxes allowing up to four years of tax data to be accessed, but loan applicants can specify that fewer years be available.

    Earlier this decade, discussion erupted in the home loan industry because some large secondary market loan investors and banks were requiring brokers or closing agents to instruct applicants to sign Form 4506-Ts but not date them or fill in the transcript years being requested. Some lenders even distributed their own printed instructions along with the Form 4506-T, requiring the home buyer’s or refinancer’s signature, but no dates. This not only countermanded the IRS’ instructions however gave investors the ability to verify incomes whenever they chose — long after the closing.

    Bottom line here: Make sure you understand the new importance of Form 4506-T, and get used to seeing it duplicated during the mortgage cycle. Make sure you know how it’s supposed to be used — and how it can be abused. Check it out in spread by going to the forms area at the IRS website www.irs.gov and downloading a copy.

    California Mortgage Refinance is our specialty. San Diego Mortgage Group are California mortgage experts, with over 28 years of experience. Our experience and honest approach make us the premier mortgage brokerage firm in California.


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