Maine Historic Preservation Tax Credits

Supporting Historic Preservation and Economic Development in Greater Portland

The Issue

The 2008 Maine Historic Preservation Tax Credit program was expanded to promote investment in rehabilitating historic structures for commercial purposes by offering a 25% refundable credit for qualified rehabilitation expenses. A maximum credit of $5,000,000 is available per project placed into service in the year in which a credit is claimed. For projects that include affordable housing, there is an additional 5% tax credit. The credit also provides for small projects of $50,000 to $250,000 in qualified rehabilitation expenses. The credit was available only for expenditures incurred between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2013.

Our Position

Income tax incentives for the rehabilitation of historic structures are important tools for historic preservation and economic development. A federal income tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic structures first appeared in 1976 and today consists of a 20% credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures.

In 2011 Landmarks supported a study commissioned by Maine Preservation on the impact of Maine’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit and were members of a coalition advocating for an extension of the program’s sunset date. The study found that Maine’s state historic tax credit program performed very well. It stimulated construction activity and jobs, even as the rest of the real estate industry slumped in the economic depression. Projects utilizing the tax credit have occurred statewide in small towns and large cities. That year the legislature extended the historic tax credit program to 2023 with unanimous bipartisan support. The tax credit program continues to foster redevelopment by attracting additional reinvestment in Maine’s cities and towns, building pride and community identity.


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