Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Enhance the Historic Tax Credit, Support Needed

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Susan Collins (R-ME), and U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), recently introduced legislation (S.3058, H.R. 6081) to strengthen the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) and reduce the administrative burden associated with the program.

Tax reform legislation signed into law in December preserved the 20 percent HTC, but modifications included the credit now being claimed over a five-year period. The Historic Tax Credit Enhancement Act eliminates the existing basis-adjustment requirement to bring the HTC in line with other tax credits claimed over multiple years, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This encourages investment, maximizes the impact of the HTC, and still retains most of the associated cost savings achieved from the tax reform modification.

Call to Action

NH&RA encourages its members to support this important legislation. Sponsors anticipate there is an opportunity to attach the basis adjustment language to a larger legislative package that is likely to move through Congress toward the end of the year. Support for the legislation needs to come from both sides of the aisle to improve its chances of enactment.

Please Contact Your Members of Congress and Encourage them to Co-sponsor the HTC Enhancement Act (H.R. 6081 and S. 3058).

To locate the name and phone number of your House Representative go to: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

To locate the names and phone number of your Senators got to: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC

Or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121 and asked to be connected to your Senators’ or House Member’s DC office.

Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff.

Talking Points

  • The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) provides owners of historic buildings with an incentive to invest in the difficult task of rehabilitating their properties according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
  • While the 20 percent historic tax credit was maintained in the final tax reform bill, it was modified, and this is expected to reduce the amount of reinvestment flowing into our historic communities and neighborhoods.
  • Presently, the tax code requires that building owners subtract the amount of federal historic tax credits from a building’s basis (the amount a property is worth for tax purposes).  Eliminating this requirement will increase the basis of rehabilitated historic buildings for building owners, providing a tax benefit, and attract more capital from tax credit investors.  Rep. LaHood (R-IL) and Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), and Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Cardin (D-MD), have introduced the Historic Tax Credit Enhancement Act (H.R. 6081 and S. 3058) to eliminate the basis adjustment for federal HTC transactions.
  • This legislative change still preserves the vast majority of the savings achieved by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and eliminating the basis adjustment will also bring the HTC in line with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which does not require a basis adjustment.
  • Enacting this legislation will strengthen the credit and improve the incentive for building owners who are revitalizing historic properties in communities nationwide. Please co-sponsor the Historic Tax Credit Enhancement Act, sponsored by Cassidy/Cardin in the Senate (S. 3058) and LaHood/Blumenauer in the House (H.R. 6081).

Opportunities to Connect with House and Senate Members during Congressional Recesses
It is important to show Members of Congress the impact of the HTC in revitalizing communities and preserving our heritage. Both House and Senate Members of Congress will be home for the Independence Day recess June 30-July 8. In August, the Senate will be in recess August 4-10 and the House will be in recess July 28– September 3.

We encourage you to plan a site visit with a Member of Congress to share impactful projects!

Ask for the contact information for schedulers in offices of your Members of Congress; once connected, make a request to accompany the Member on an HTC project tour (or a meeting) during the upcoming recesses.

Helpful Tips:

  • Combine your meeting with a tour of a completed or potential HTC project;
  • If a meeting with the Member is not possible, request a meeting with staff, including in-district staff;
  • Coordinate meetings with local preservationists, developers, architects, mayors, Main Street organizations and others to convey the broad impact of the Historic Tax Credit program in your community.

NH&RA encourages you to share the outcomes of your advocacy or gain assistance in coordinating your site visit by contacting HTC Campaign Staff Members with NTCIC and the National Trust.

HTC Staff Contacts:
Mike Phillips (mphillips@ntcic.com)
Shaw Sprague (ssprague@savingplaces.org)
Renee Kuhlman (rkuhlman@savingplaces.org)