Federal Historic Tax Credits
"Our historic tax credits have made the preservation of our older buildings not only a matter of respect for beauty and history, but of course for economic good sense."
President Ronald Reagan, 1984.
For more than three decades, the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) has successfully implemented a national policy of preserving our historic resources. It is the most significant investment the federal government makes toward the preservation of our historic buildings. Despite a proven track record of stimulating economic growth and preserving our architectural heritage, the historic tax credit faces an uncertain future. As pressure builds to reform the nation’s tax code, several influential tax reform proposals recommend a repeal of this essential credit.
While the preservation community respects the need for tax reform, it must not come at the expense of a proven program that generates more money for the Treasury than it costs, while also creating local jobs and promoting strong communities across the country and here in Maine. In Maine more than 72 historic buildings have been rehabilitated using HTC investment generating $77 million in taxes and $283 million in business and household income. Greater Portland Landmarks encourages you to ask members of Congress to take a stand for preservation and don't let tax reform efforts threaten the federal Historic Tax Credit.
Rehabilitation projects costs on average are 60% labor and 40% materials compared to new construction, which is about 40% labor and 60% materials. In addition to requiring more local labor, rehabilitation projects tend to use a greater percentage of locally purchased materials. As a result about 75% of the economic benefits of these projects remain in the communities where projects are located, and for Maine that's over $219 million in labor costs and materials purchases.
In addition to revitalizing communities and spurring economic growth, the HTC returns more to the Treasury than it costs—$1.20-1.25 in tax revenue for every dollar invested. Yet because historic rehabilitation projects frequently have higher costs and greater design challenges they face lender and investor bias against investments. The historic tax credit helps to bridge the gap when financing historic preservation projects.
Maine is one of thirty-four states across the country that recognizes the economic development potential of historic rehabilitation projects and has enacted a state tax credit program that works in tandem with the federal program. The Maine program provides an additional incentive to attract investment in Maine communities, and has been particularly useful in kick-starting economic development in Maine's small towns and rural communities.
We thank Sen. Collins for her leadership in introducing the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (HR.1158/S.425) and urge the rest of Maine's congressional delegation to support the bill as it moves through the legislative process. To read the text or to learn more about the co-sponsors of the legislation visit the Historic Tax Credit Coalition.
Greater Portland projects funded in part with Historic Tax Credits
- The Hammond Heirs Block, 587 Congress Street, Portland
- St. Dominic's School, 42 Gray Street, Portland
- Everett Chambers, 51 Oak Street, Portland
- Congress Square Plaza, 579 Congress Street, Portland
- 306 Spring Street, Portland
- Chestnut Street Church, Chestnut Street, Portland
- Samuel T Pickard House, 743 Congress Street, Portland
- Akers Building, 386 Fore Street, Portland
- Baxter Library, 621 Congress Street, Portland
- Engine Co. No. 9 Fire House, 17 Arbor Street, Portland
- Children's Hospital, 68 High Street, Portland
- Fairpoint Communications Exchange Building, 45 Forest Avenue, Portland
- 130-132 Pleasant Street, Portland
- Eastland Park Hotel, 157 High Street, Portland
- Edmund Phinney House, 191 Pine Street, Portland
- Charles B. Clarke House, 223 Western Promenade, Portland
- Court Square Building, 85 Market Street, Portland
- Rufus Tibbetts House, 804 Congress Street, Portland
- Jesse Wilson House, 25 Bramhall Street, Portland
- Nathan Clifford School, 180 Falmouth Street, Portland
- Press Hotel, 390 Congress Street, Portland
- Schlotterbeck & Foss Factory Building, Preble Street, Portland
- Scarborough High School (Bessey School), 272 US Route 1, Scarborough
- Old Westbrook High School, 765 Main Street, Westbrook
- St. Hyacinth School and Convent, 2 Walker Street, Westbrook
- Historic Factory will get $6 Million Conversion to Apartments MaineBiz
- Historic Preservation Tax Credit Sparks Development MaineBiz
- The Scoop on Portland's Press Hotel Portland Press Herald
- Tax Credits Fuel $100 Milllion in Historic Building Rehabilitation Bangor Daily News
- State Historic Tax Credits Greater Portland Landmarks
- Map of Rehabilitation Tax Credit Projects National Trust for Historic Places
- Historic Tax Credit Coalition
- Save the Historic Tax Credit National Trust for Historic Preservation
- Lawmakers Introduce the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act Historic Tax Credit Coalition
What you can do
- Contact Maine's Senators, thank Sen. Collins for her sponsorship of S.425 and ask Sen. King to support the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act.
- Contact Maine's Representatives, ask them to support the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (HR.1158).
- Join our mailing list to stay informed about our advocacy efforts, educational programs, and upcoming events.
- Support Landmarks' advocacy efforts by making a donation or becoming a member today.