Historic Preservation > Tax Incentives for Rehabilitation > State Tax Credits

State Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program

Registration and Application Periods

  • The July application window has been eliminated under the new law. The new Part 1 and Part 2 Applications and Instructions are now available. The Part 3 and Registration Applications along with a sample Agreement are forthcoming.

  • UPDATE: The first Registration period for projects over $750,000 will be open from January 26 to February 6, 2015. Part 2 Applications must be approved by the State Historic Preservation Office prioir to the Registration period.

  • Effective July 1, 2014 potential program applicants must schedule and attend a 1.5 Pre-Application Meeting prior to submitting a Part 2 Application. Please use the online scheduler to arrange for your Pre-Application Meeting after you have submitted a Part 1 Application.

Effective July 1, 2014, new legislation will improve the State Historic Preservation and Cultural & Entertainment District Tax Credit Program.

The Governor’s office worked with the State Historic Preservation Office, Iowa Department of Revenue, the Iowa Legislature and Governor-appointed stakeholders to develop program improvements, including:

  • Eliminate lottery-based reservation system; implement more predictable readiness-based application process
  • Elevate emphasis on project pre-planning, financing and timeline
  • Transition from three-year reservation system to a “use-when-you’re-ready” system with more predictability in establishing project completion dates and submissions
  • Retool the review process to be more predictable for the applicant and the state
  • Use similar approach to other state tax incentive programs to promote consistency for tax preparers and ease of administration

Since the program began in 2001, the state has invested $177 million in historic preservation tax credits, which have been the catalyst behind the rehabilitation of 283 historic buildings and the revitalization of 64 communities across Iowa. That investment has leveraged and attracted $890 million in investments, including $800 million for rehabilitation activities and an additional $90 million in related new construction. The new legislation will bring more predictability to this already-successful program.

Note: Administrative Rules effective July 9, 2013: Historic Preservation and CED Tax Credits are applicable only to projects that received a HPCED Tax Credit Reservation prior to July 1, 2014.


before and after shots

The State Historic Preservation and Cultural & Entertainment District Tax Credit Program provides a state income tax credit for the sensitive rehabilitation of historic buildings. It ensures character-defining features and spaces of buildings are retained and helps revitalize surrounding neighborhoods. The Program provides an income tax credit of 25% of qualified rehabilitation costs.

Another 20% is available if the property is income-producing and qualifies for the Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax. A separate application is required.

Eligibility Requirements

Several types of properties are eligible for the state tax credit:

  • Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or determined by the staff of the State Historic Preservation Office to be eligible for listing.
  • Building contributing to the significance of a historic district that is listed, or eligible to be listed, on the National Register.
  • Building designated as local landmarks by city or county ordinance.
  • Barns constructed prior to 1937 and barns listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register.

Program eligibility depends on the type of building, the assessed value of the building and the amount of rehabilitation proposed:

  • For commerical buildings, qualified rehabilitation expenditures must equal at least 50% of the assessed value of the building (excluding the land) before rehabilitation, or $50,000, whichever is less.
  • For non-commercial buildings, qualified rehabilitation expenditures must equal at least 25% of the assessed value of the building (excluding the land) before rehabilitation, or $25,000, whichever is less.

As with other State Historical Society of Iowa incentive programs, the work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

View the National Register of Historic Places listing to find out a building’s National Register status or for information about how to nominate a property to the register.

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

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