Historic Tax Credit Advocacy

Old Post Office, Ogden | Preservation Utah Old Post Office, Ogden | Preservation Utah

It’s a moment we’ve been working up to for four years, and we’re pleased to say that we’ve been successful as a key actor in a nationwide coalition effort to preserve the 20% federal historic tax credit through the tax reform process. Passed this week by both houses of Congress and expected to be signed into law today by the President, Senator Orrin Hatch played a major role as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in the bill’s passage. Representative Rob Bishop also played an important role as a member of the Conference Committee that reconciled House and Senate versions of the bill.

Please reach out and thank Senator Hatch and Representative Bishop for retaining the historic tax credit.

Keeping the HTC as a permanent part of the tax code is a significant victory for the preservation community—especially considering that the first House version eliminated the credit. And we were on the front lines, albeit behind the scenes. Preservation Utah’s work included:

  • Providing the Utah Congressional delegation with detailed information on the impact of the program in Utah,
  • Building relationships within Senator Orrin Hatch’s office for greater understanding of the impact of the historic tax credit,
  • Building a collective advocacy effort through partner organizations, developers, architects, and interested individuals,
  • Authoring and coordinating op-ed pieces,
  • Generating support from Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski that resulted in her signing on to a national mayor’s letter supporting the credit, and personal calls to the delegation.

Our action shows that our advocacy works. It’s not the most interesting thing we do. It’s more intangible than saving a building. But the result here is that hundreds of buildings will potentially be saved through advocacy that retained the single most effective incentive for rehabilitation in the historic tax credit.

Updates that have come with the revised federal historic tax credit include the following:

  • The HTC will now include a five-year vesting period, which means that the credit will not be available up front and instead will need to be spread out over five years.
  • The 10% credit for non-historic structures pre-dating 1936 has been eliminated.

Photo shows the interior of the Old Post Office in Ogden. Rehabilitation would not have been possible without the historic tax credit.


Related:  One Pager on the Utah State Historic Tax Credit and its benefits.