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Congress scrutinizes problems in homebuyer credit

WASHINGTON (AP) - A House panel is looking into concerns of fraud among those taking advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit.

The program has been central to the Obama administration's effort to get the housing market back on track.

The Ways and Means subcommittee hearing today comes as Congress considers whether to extend, and possibly expand, a stimulus act provision that allows qualified first-time homebuyers a tax credit of up to $8,000. That benefit is scheduled to expire at the end of November.

The committee is to examine past instances of abuse and consider ways to improve the program that has attracted more than 1 million homebuyers. The Internal Revenue Service has opened 107,000 examinations of questionable claims and identified 167 criminal schemes involving the tax credit.

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