The National Park Services has published its “Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Federal Historic Tax Credit for Fiscal Year 2016.” The report, which is produced by Rutgers University with assistance from the National Trust Community Investment Corporation—provides a quantitative analysis of the success of the federal historic tax credit (HTC).
Key findings show that fiscal year 2016 was a record-setting year for historic tax credit use. Activity increased by 32 percent over the last year—the greatest year-over-year increase in the program’s history. A banner year brings the cumulative totals of the credit’s economic impact since 1986 to 42,293 buildings rehabilitated, almost 2.5 million jobs created, and $29.8 billion in federal taxes generated. This last number is particularly significant because it confirms the HTC is a revenue generator for the U.S. Treasury (tax credits issued over this same period total $25.2 billion).
The release of this NPS report is incredibly timely. With pressure mounting for the Republican-controlled Congress to deliver a legislative victory ahead of the 2018 mid-term election season, comprehensive tax reform is now Washington’s top domestic policy objective. Republican leadership is determined to send a tax reform plan to the President before the end of the year. Without frequent and sustained advocacy from constituents over the next several weeks, the HTC is likely to join the many other business tax credits that simply do not make it back into a reformed tax code.