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Exciting Proposed Enhancements to Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit Legislation!

October 14, 2009

Big changes could be in store for the Federal Rehabilitation Tax credit– changes that indicate that more of our

Historic downtowns in communities such as Madison have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Federal Rehabiliation Tax Credit.

Historic downtowns in communities such as Madison have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Federal Rehabiliation Tax Credit.

legislators are  finally beginning to realize just how effective this tool is at encouraaging community revitalization and creating jobs, not to mention saving our significant built environment. Within the last three weeks, two  extremely significant pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening and broadening the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit have been introduced!

First, on Tuesday, September 29th, Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri introduced the much anticipated Historic Homeowners Revitalization Act of 2009, H.R. 3670. The legislation seeks to amend the Internal Revenue Code to “expand the incentives for the rehabilitation of older buildings, including owner-occupied residences.” That’s right, passage of this legislation would actually create a 20% Federal tax credit for private HOMEOWNERS. Federal tax credits are currently only available for properties that are to be used for income-producing purposes: owner-occupied residences are only eligible for state tax credits, which we do not yet have in New Jersey. This legislation could thereby change the fate of historic houses across the U.S., making their rehabilitation financially feasible to a much expanded group of individuals.

And the proposed improvements don’t stop there! Senators Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Olympia Snowe of Maine, along with Representatives Allyson Schwartz of neighboring Pennsylvania and Patrick Tiberi of Ohio, reintroduced the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act (CRRA) on Thursday, October 1st. The bill seeks to modify the existing federal rehabilitation tax credit program to better encourage re-use of historic buildings and to promote energy efficiency. Most significantly, this legislation would provide a small credit for some older buildings not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, once again greatly expanding the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit’s applicability.

To learn more about these bills and keep up-to-date on their progress, we encourage you to visit the website of Preservation Action, the national grassroots lobby for historic preservation. This group is working every day to ensure that this and other preservation-friendly legislation has fighting chance in Washington: find out what you can do to help support the cause!

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