Legislation is now working its way through the House of Representatives calling for keeping intact a federal tax credit that has helped to see the preservation of more than 40,000 historic structures across the country.
The Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act, as introduced by Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer, essentially reaffirms a tax credit that has been in place since the early 1980s.
That credit, according to preservation experts, was diminished as a result of the sweeping Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
That 2017 legislation included what is officially called the Historic Tax Credit Basis Adjustment, requiring building owners to subtract the credits from the worth of the preserved building in question.
This meant, according to a think piece published earlier this year by the National Trust Community Investment Corporation that Washington was “giving an incentive and then taxing that incentive.”
The new legislation will increase the Historic Tax Credit from 20 percent to 30 percent for any preservation project with a rehabilitation expense of less than $2.5 million.
“Proponents of the bill hope that the expanded credits will incentivize the owners of smaller, income-generating properties to rehabilitate their buildings,” notes the news service Archinect.
The new legislation has won the praise of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
In a statement, Paul Edmondson, chief executive officer with that group, said the legislation will “strengthen the federal historic tax credit and provide communities with new opportunities for revitalization and economic growth.”
Edmondson added that in the last three decades, the tax credit has “consistently demonstrated its ability to kick start job creation and attract private investment while preserving nationally significant historic buildings.”
Companion legislation to Blumenauer’s bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate sometime this month.
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