Federal Historic Tax Credit

Preservation & the Historic Tax Credit

For more than 40 years, the Federal HIstoric Tax Credit (HTC) has supported adaptive reuse projects throughout the nation. Created in 1978 as an incentive to catalyze economic development through the restoration and reuse of America’s historic buildings, today the HTC continues to revitalize communities of all shapes and sizes. Used as a redevelopment tool, the HTC  helps revitalize cities, towns, and rural communities all across the country and to date has rehabilitated more than 44,341 buildings.

Advocate for Historic Preservation

Visit Preservation Leadership Forum's Advocacy Resource Center for resources regarding threats to the protection of historic places. 

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Key Opportunity to Strengthen the Federal Historic Tax Credit

As Congress considers its ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to stimulate economic activity, legislators must hear from the preservation community that the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is a proven economic recovery tool that should be strengthened and incorporated into legislation designed to revitalize our nation’s struggling communities.

On July 1, the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a $1.5 trillion proposal designed to rebuild and invest in our nation’s infrastructure, passed the House 322-188 largely along party lines. The proposal incorporates community development provisions that support infrastructure financing, including several provisions that strengthen the HTC. If enacted, H.R. 2 would bolster community revitalization and job creation efforts, better promote affordable housing in historic buildings, and create long overdue efficiencies to the program. 

Extending the HTC During Coronavirus

On July 30, the IRS provided important relief for historic tax credit projects that are underway but facing significant delays because of Covid-19. Specifically, the IRS extended the deadline for certain rehabilitation projects to satisfy the substantial rehabilitation test when claiming historic tax credits (HTC). Under normal circumstances, a building is treated as substantially rehabilitated and eligible for the HTC only if qualified rehabilitation expenses are incurred over a 24-month period, or 60-month measuring period for phased projects, and that those expenses exceed the adjusted basis of the building or $5,000, whichever is greater. The IRS notice extends the 24 and 60 month measuring periods to satisfy the substantial rehabilitation test for qualifying projects.

Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity Act

The historic tax credit (HTC) has a proven track record of kickstarting job creation and attracting private investment, while preserving tangible links to our past.

But with some strategic improvements, this vital program can do even more—specifically for smaller projects typically located in Main Streets and more rural areas.  Ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor the HTC-GO Act.

Update October 2019:Members of the Senate have just introduced legislation that will enhance the value of the federal HTC and help ensure that historic rehabilitation continues unabated after changes were made to the program in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

State Historic Tax Credits

Key Advocacy Resources

Senator Cassidy Receives the John H. Chafee Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy

Ronald Reagan and the Historic Tax Credit

 On September 18, 1984, three years after signing the credit expansion into law, President Reagan addressed the National Conference on Revitalization of America’s Towns in a taped message. He emphasized the many benefits the HTC offers our communities—the same reasons we need to save it now.