Congress keeps Historic Tax Credit

Published 7:24 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 signed into law on Dec. 22 changes a lot of things, but one of the things it doesn’t get rid of is the federal Historic Tax Credit.
Previous versions of the sweeping bill had eliminated or halved the credit, causing outcry from historic preservation groups at the national, state and local levels.
Danville Mayor Mike Perros warned in November that elimination of the credit would lead to “a slow death of every small town across this state.”
Boyle Landmark Trust Chair Jacob Pankey said historic preservationists across the U.S. were “fighting the toughest battle we have faced in decades” to keep the credit.
The final law has retained a full-size — but modified — version of the Historic Tax Credit.
“The National Trust for Historic Preservation commends Congress for retaining a common-sense tool that has done so much to draw public and private investment to the historic fabric of our nation and to create local jobs,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement. “The inclusion of the historic tax credit as part of the most expansive overhaul of our nation’s tax code in more than three decades is a reaffirmation that reviving older and historic buildings is sound federal policy and good for the nation.”
The tax bill “keeps the Historic Tax Credit at 20 percent, but requires that the credit be taken over five years instead of all at once at the time of project completion,” according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Historic Tax credit allows people to reduce their taxes by a portion of the costs of restoring historically important buildings.
“Since 1981, the credit has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment, created more than 2.4 million jobs and preserved more than 42,000 historic buildings that form the fabric of our nation,” according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“The Federal Historic Tax Credit was permanently included in President Ronald Regan’s tax code in 1986. Those who qualify for this program can receive up to 20 percent in tax credits on the amount spent on investing in the restoration of historic buildings,” Pankey said in November. “President Regan described his program as ‘not only a matter of respect for our beauty and history but good economic sense.'”
Meeks said senators from Louisiana, Iowa, Kansas, Georgia and North Carolina helped ensure the credit stayed around in the Senate version of the bill; representatives from West Virginia, Iowa and Arkansas “were essential to the successful retention” in the House of Representatives. She did not identify any Kentucky senators or representatives by name.
“We heartily thank the many preservationists and other stakeholders who worked countless hours with us to ensure that this critical preservation tool remained a pillar of federal historic preservation police,” Meeks said in her statement.

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