Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit
Before You Apply
- Consult an accountant, tax attorney, other tax advisors, or the IRS frequently asked questions to determine whether these incentives apply to your own tax and financial situation. The Real Estate Tax Tips pages on the IRS website are also a good resource for applicants, consultants, and other preservation professionals working with the historic tax credit program.
- Make sure the project meets the “substantial rehabilitation” test and other IRS requirements.
- Contact your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for information and technical assistance.
- Familiarize yourself with the Basic Submission Requirements and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
Application Review Fees
- The National Park Service invoices applicants for the fees associated with Part 2 and Part 3. There is no fee for state-level review of Federal applications. charges fees to review Part 2 and Part 3 of the application.
The National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service administer the 20% Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit program in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices.
Since 1976, the program has encouraged private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings that are income-producing and determined eligible by the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, to be “certified historic structures.”
The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service review the rehabilitation work to ensure that it complies with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
Projects applying for the federal tax credit often apply for the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit (OHPTC). Please note that aspects of both the state and federal applications must be submitted when applying for the combined credit.
Project Receipt Status
Click here to check the receipt status of your project materials received.
Entries are in ascending order with new entries appearing at the top of the list. The list is searchable using the global "find" commands for PC (CTRL+F) and MAC (CMD+F). This chart includes the owner's last name, contact last name, project location, and type of material received by our office.
Submitting a Federal Historic Tax Credit Application
Evaluation of Significance
The National Park Service's, Technical Preservation Services consider these things when determining if a property is historic.
• The property is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places
• The property contributes to a National Register of Historic Places-listed historic district
• The property contributes to a National Park Service-designated Certified Historic District
• The property is individually listed by a Certified Local Government* Contributes to a Certified Local Government-designated historic district. Click here to learn whether your community participates in the Certified Local Government program and for information on how communities qualify for this status.
Use Part 1 to request certification that a building:
• contributes to the significance of a registered historic district or a National Register property with more than one building and is thus a “certified historic structure” for purposes of the 20% rehabilitation tax credit or for easement donation purposes.
Use Part 1 to request a preliminary determination:
• of whether an individual building not yet listed in the National Register of Historic Places might meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation;
• of whether a building in a potential historic district contributes to the significance of that district;
• of whether a building outside the period or area of the significance of a registered historic district contributes to the significance of the district.
From the time a complete application is received, it typically takes a minimum of 90 days to receive the National Park Service decision.
Download, complete and submit the Part 1: Evaluation of Significance application form. Send two hard copy sets of the completed application and all supporting materials to the State Historic Preservation Office, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, 43211.
These expenditures include costs associated with the work undertaken on the historic building, as well as architectural and engineering fees, site survey fees, legal expenses, development fees, and other construction-related costs if such costs are added to the basis of the property and are determined to be reasonable and related to the services performed. They do not include costs of acquiring or furnishing the building, new additions that expand the existing building, new building construction, or parking lots, sidewalks, landscaping, or other facilities related to the building.
Tips for Completing a Federal Historic Tax Credit Application
Part 1 and 2 of the application may be submitted separately or together. If submitted separately, Part 1 must precede Part 2. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications describing proposed work and to receive approval from the National Park Service prior to the start of construction. Owners who undertake rehabilitation projects without prior National Park Service approval do so at their own risk.
Send two hard copies of your Part 1 application form and accompanying materials to the following address. Note that one copy of the Part 1 application must contain an original "wet" signature of the applicant.
State Historic Preservation Office
Ohio History Connection
Technical Preservation Service Department
800 E. 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211-2474
Is the Property Listed in the National Register of Historic Places?
Contact the State Historic Preservation Office at 614-298-2000 to determine if the property is listed individually or part of a listed historic district.
For buildings within National Register-listed historic districts, use relevant information from Section 7 and 8 of the National Register nomination to prepare Part 1.
When Should I Submit Part 1 Application?
The Part 1 Application should be submitted if you are seeking a preliminary determination of National Register eligibility for a property not yet listed or if your property is located within the boundaries of a National Register-listed historic district. To avoid delays in your project, it is recommended that you submit a Part 1 well ahead of the planned project start date.
If rehabilitation work is completed and the building has been placed in service prior to the submission of the Part 1, the project will likely not qualify for the tax credit according to IRS regulations. To learn more about late submissions, read Topical Tax Brief – Late Submission of the Historic Preservation Certification Application. It is recommended that you consult with the IRS regarding late submissions.
If you are working with a property that is less than fifty years old, has experienced extensive alterations or additions, or the history and significance of the property are difficult to determine, work with the Inventory and Registration Department of the State Historic Preservation Office to complete a National Register Preliminary Questionnaire before submitting the Part 1 application.
What Should I Submit with the Part 1 application?
National Register Nomination Draft
For properties not yet listed in the National Register, a draft narrative, equivalent to Sections 7 and 8, of a National Register nomination must be submitted with the completed Part 1 application.
Historic District Map
A copy of the district map from the National Register nomination should be included for buildings located in a National Register-listed historic district. Clearly mark the property location on the district map.
All Part 1 and Part 2 photographs should be taken at the same time, BEFORE starting any work and submitted with the Part 1 application. All photos must be:
• 4x6 color
• Printed on photo quality paper
• Labeled per application instructions and documentation requirements
• Numbered in simple sequential order starting with Photo 1. Do not introduce photo numbering systems by floor, elevation, or interior/exterior.
• Cross-referenced (keyed) to existing view floor plans
• Include true “before” rehabilitation photographs of the entire building or site
Photos cannot be bound or mounted. Please package photos in 6” x 9” manila envelopes. Lack of proper photograph documentation of the “before” condition of the building may well result in a recommendation of denial.
How Can I Know the Best Photographs to Take?
Views of all interior and exterior spaces and elevations are required whether or not you intend to work in those areas or take the tax credit for those areas. Additional things to consider when taking photographs:
• Remember that the state and federal reviewers do not know the building! The photos need to document every aspect of it, top to bottom, inside and out.
• Make sure spaces are well lit and otherwise adjust camera settings to achieve the best quality photos.
• Exterior photographs must include all elevations, the immediate site area and some of the surrounding buildings and streetscape
• Interior photographs should be taken and cross-referenced going systematically floor by floor.
How Will I Know You Have Received My Application?
You can see your project submission online using the project receipt status form.
How Long Does It Take For My Part 1 To Be Reviewed?
Once a completed submission is received the review period is 30 days. Remember that our 30-day review period does not start until an application is complete, so there is no advantage to submitting part of the information or incomplete information ahead of time. If additional information must be requested, the 30-day review period begins anew.
Basic Submission Requirements
Learn about our office's basic submission requirements (BSRs), developed to help applicants submit the information needed to complete reviews of projects in a timely manner.
Interpreting the Standards Bulletins
Interpreting the Standards Bulletins explain rehabilitation project decisions made by the National Park Service in its administration of the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program.
Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, codified as 36 CFR 67, are regulatory for the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program. The Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings and the Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, which assist in applying the Standards, are advisory.
Preservation Breifs are a National Park Service series that cover nearly 50 different technical topics and treatments. They provide basic guidance and explanations behind many aspects of the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
Tech Notes are case studies of historic preservation treatments. They provide practical information on traditional practices and innovative techniques for successfully maintaining and preserving cultural resources.
Cumulative Effect and Historic Character
A project meets the Standards when the overall effect of all work is consistent with the property’s historic character. The guidance on this National Park Service page is particularly useful for applicants who are planning rehabilitation projects using the Historic Preservation Tax Incentives.
National Park Service - Technical Preservation Services
Technical Preservation Services develops historic preservation policy and guidance on preserving and rehabilitating historic buildings, administers the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program for rehabilitating historic buildings, and sets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Historic Preservation Easements
A historic preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement, typically in the form of a deed, which permanently protects a significant historic property. Learn more about this useful preservation tool with potential tax benefits.
Tax Incentive Case Studies
View featured case studies from across the country that successfully used the 20% tax credit.
The REHAB Yes & No Learning Program
This learning program has been specially developed to make a point about choosing approaches to rehabilitation work that preserve the character of historic buildings in our nation's communities.