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Tax Incentives for Rehabilitation

Online Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program Now Open

The HPCED Tax Incentive Program now online. All applications, including Registration, will now take place through this website. Information which was previously submitted on paper forms will now be entered by the applicant online. Attachments such as photos, assessor statements, Iowa Site Inventory Forms, etc. will be uploaded as separate documents. Information from projects which are already in progress has been uploaded into the new online database. Instructions for current applicants to log in to the database and link to their projects can be found in the Online Registration Guide.

(Multiple program use encouraged)

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the State Historical Society of Iowa administers the State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program, and participates in the certification process for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives and county Historic Property Tax Exemption programs. All of these programs encourage the reuse of historic properties while retaining their character-defining features. Ultimately, each of these programs contributes to the revitalization and preservation of historic properties across the state.

Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program

20% or 10% of qualified rehabilitation costs

Description: 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs are available as a credit against federal income taxes on income-producing historic properties. Rehabilitation work on historic properties must be “substantial” (an IRS test) and meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings. Applications and photos must be reviewed by the SHPO and be approved by the National Park Service.

Eligibility Requirements: Properties must be listed on the National Register or be evaluated as National Register eligible and then listed within 30 months after claiming the credit on IRS tax forms. (A 10% tax credit is also available for non-historic, non-residential, income-producing properties built before 1936. These properties can neither be listed on the National Register nor be a contributing resource in a National Register-listed historic district.)

Projects with QRE's over $750,000

Description: This program uses a three-part certification process similar to the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program, but provides an additional tax benefit of up to 25% for the sensitive rehabilitation of historic buildings. The state tax credit is fully refundable and transferable. Because the Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District (HPCED) Tax Credit is currently capped at $45 million, the state program requires applicants to complete additional Registration and Agreement components in order to be eligible for the tax benefit.

Eligibility Requirements: The state tax benefit is available to non-profit entities and eligible tax payers that qualify for the federal program. Additionally, single-family residences and barns built prior to 1937 are eligible for the state tax credit. The entire rehabilitation project must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

Projects with QRE's under $750,000

Description: This program uses the same description, eligibility requirements and regulations as the program described above, but the funding is from a separate allocation reserved for small projects which have qualified rehabilitation expenditures less than $750,000.

Eligibility Requirements: In addition to the eligibility requirements for the program above, properties must have qualified rehabilitation expenditures that do not exceed $750,000. The entire rehabilitation project must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

Temporary Historic Property Tax Exemption

4-year “freeze” on property tax increases, then 25% increase per year to adjusted value after rehabilitation.

Description: Local property tax incentive for the sensitive, "substantial rehabilitation" of historic buildings. Property taxes remain the same for four years followed by increases of 25% per year for the following four years. Two applications are required – one from SHPO and one from the county assessor.

Eligibility Requirements: Properties must be listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register, contributing to National Register or local historic districts, or designated by a county or municipal landmark ordinance.

The property must also be eligible based on the specific county's priority list for that tax year. The County Board of Supervisors will establish priorities for which an exemption may be granted and will annually designate real property in the county for a historic property tax exemption. A public meeting must be held, with notice given, at which the proposed priority list will be presented.

State Historical Society of Iowa Grants

Grant programs administered by the State Historical Society of Iowa may also be used to preserve historic properties. Find out more about State Historical Society of Iowa Grants.

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation

To receive historic tax credits and/or grants, rehabilitation work must meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Preservation Program Manager
Department of Cultural Affairs
State Historic Preservation Office
600 E. Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0290
(515) 281-8742
SHPOTaxCredit@iowa.gov

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