• Key Opportunity to Strengthen the Federal Historic Tax Credit!

    June 24, 2020

    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.

    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 HTC is a proven economic recovery tool that should be strengthened and incorporated into legislation designed to revitalize our nation’s struggling communities.

    On June 22nd, the House of Representatives released text of H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, a comprehensive proposal designed to rebuild and invest in our nation’s infrastructure. The proposal incorporates community development provisions that support infrastructure financing, including several provisions that strengthen the historic tax credit (HTC).

    The legislation would increase the HTC from 20 percent to 30 percent for all projects from 2020 through 2024, before gradually transitioning back to 20 percent by 2027. The House infrastructure bill also incorporates many of the provisions in the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (H.R. 2825), including a permanent increase for smaller HTC projects to 30 percent, changes that will make it easier to satisfy the substantial rehabilitation test, elimination of the requirement that HTCs must be deducted from a building’s basis, and provisions that will make it easier for community development organizations and nonprofits to participate in the redevelopment process.

    H.R. 2 would also extend deadlines to qualify for HTCs for projects already underway but delayed as a result of the pandemic. Finally, H.R. 2 would modify the definition of a qualified rehabilitation expense to enable rehabilitation of historic public schools. H.R. 2 proposes significantly strengthening the HTC and if enacted would bolster community revitalization and job creation efforts, better promote affordable housing in historic buildings, and create long overdue efficiencies to the program.

    Join the National Trust for Historic Preservation in thanking your Representative for including HTC provisions in H.R. 2, and urge your Senators to similarly strengthen the Historic Tax Credit in a Senate infrastructure package or economic relief legislation.

  • Senate Introduction of Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity Act (S. 2615)

    October 17, 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.

    Please join us in urging your senators to co-sponsor the Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity Act [S.2615],a bill that would make the credit even more impactful—particularly for smaller projects typically found in historic Main Street districts and more rural areas.

  • National Trust continues to support the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act

    June 26, 2019

    The National Trust continues to support the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (H.R. 2825) (“HTC-GO Act”), which was introduced in the House last month. The bipartisan bill now has more than 20 cosponsors, of which five are original. Our HTC champions are expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in the weeks ahead. Please encourage your House member to cosponsor the HTC-GO Act today!

  • Determined Advocacy Preserves the Historic Tax Credit

    December 20, 2017

    After more than five years of consistent advocacy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, together with our partners at the National Trust Community Investment Corporation and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, is pleased to report that the 20 percent historic tax credit (HTC) has survived the most significant rewrite of the tax code in more than 30 years. Congress has confirmed once again that incentivizing the rehabilitation of our historic buildings makes good economic sense. Read more.

  • Rutgers 2016 Annual Report Proves Historic Tax Credits More Than Pay for Themselves

    October 16, 2017

    New research recently released by Rutgers University, with support from the National Park Service and NTCIC (the National Trust’s for-profit subsidiary), is relevant to what might be thought of as a strange mix of bedfellows: history buffs, millennials, and tax credit advocates on Capitol Hill. To show where these identities collide, let’s start with a story about the Coke Building in Paducah, Kentucky.

    Paducah Coca Cola Company Exterior

    photo by: Chuck Fisher, National Park Service

    Paducah, Kentucky, Coke Bottling Plant

    A Coca-Cola bottling plant, once owned and operated by a local family business founded in 1903, had sat vacant since 2005 in Paducah’s Midtown neighborhood. Its beautiful architecture caught the eye of Ed and Meagan Musselman, of Musselman Properties. Together with a skilled general contractor and a supportive city partner, the Musselmans finished a faithful restoration of the Coke Plant’s exterior facade and distinctive copper dome in 2016. The interior was reconfigured to serve restaurants, bars, offices a yoga studio, and more. Meanwhile, the building’s lobby was fully restored and features a Coca-Cola logo in its terrazzo floor, a cantilevered terrazzo stairway, and a hemispherical domed ceiling 45 tall and 30 feet in diameter.

    Upon its reopening in 2016, the Coke Plant now houses a diverse array of businesses, including a pizza restaurant, brewery, coffee shop, yoga studio, local artist collective, and office space for a marketing and web design firm. Federal historic tax credits (HTC) were critical to making the conversion of the Coke Plant possible, bridging the gap between what loans could be attained and what the rehabilitation would cost. Without about $1 million in federal and state historic tax credits, the project would not have provided enough of a return on investment for the developer to proceed.

    The broad strokes of this story—a once-proud icon of local history suffering from becoming obsolete or neglect finds a new, modern relevance through a tax credit-enabled rehabilitation—has played out in cities and towns across the country since the HTC’s inception. This type of activity is on the upswing nationwide, and it has tremendous cumulative economic impact—proven in the recently released Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit for Fiscal Year 2016. The report shows that 2016 was a record year for the use of the federal historic tax credit and the national economic impact it generates.

    Historic Tax Credits: By the Numbers

    • Rehabilitation of 1,039 buildings was made possible by $1.2 billion in tax credits in 2016.
    • HTC generated 109,00 jobs and $1.7 billion in federal state and local taxes.
    • Annual activity level increased nearly one third (32 percent) over last year’s program activity
    • 2016 represents the largest year over year increase since 1986.
    • Between 1978 and 2016 (the life of the HTC program), tax credit projects rehabilitated 42,293 buildings, created 2.4 million jobs, and generated $29.8 billion in federal taxes, which exceeds the $25.2 billion in credits allocated by the U.S. Treasury.
    • Most of the revenue to the Treasury stemming from HTC-enabled projects comes from federal payroll taxes, paid by construction workers and manufacturing workers that produce construction materials. Most of the revenue is received by the Treasury before it pays out the tax credits at the end of the project—making it a relatively safe taxpayer investment.

    These statistics demonstrate that the HTC more than pays for itself and that most of the revenue is received prior to the allocation of the credits at project completion, which is a powerful argument as the Congressional tax reform effort ramps up on Capitol Hill—a process that is expected to intensify this summer.

    Both the Millennial and Baby Boomer generations are driving much of the growing demand for historic tax credits, and they can agree on at least one thing: they want to live, work, and play in authentic downtown historic residential and commercial spaces.

    It should not be lost that even with these favorable demographic and real estate market trends, developers consistently report that they still need the HTC to make these projects financially possible, given banks’ concerns about financing a project that carries the risks inherent in a historic rehabilitation—mostly, the unforeseen and sometimes costly quirks hidden within the walls of our nation’s historic churches, warehouses, theaters, department stores, schools, and more. Yet it is precisely these quirks that make spending time in places like the Coke Plant—or any of the other thousands of buildings that have been rehabilitated with the federal historic tax credit—so satisfying.

    Dig deeper into the numbers in the Rutgers Report on Preservation Leadership Forum, and learn how you can help protect and enhance them on our Historic Tax Credit page.

All 5 updates

Join us for PastForward Online 2020, the historic preservation event of the year, October 27-30, 2020.

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