March 30, 2014

Does Your Property Belong In The Pages Of History?

The Nathan Aldrich House — a large, elegant, Greek revival stone house — was the residence of Catherine Regina Seabury in 1889. She chose to use it as a recreational and spiritual retreat for women factory workers, a remarkable choice at the time. In recognition of Seabury’s visionary activities, her home is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Recognition in the National Register of Historic Places

Do you own a property that is more than 50 years old and has retained its historical features, looking as it did in the past? Is your property part of singular lives or events in history? Does it provide a link to the history of architecture or engineering or landscape design? If so, your property might qualify for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Such a listing is not only about meriting a plaque on your wall — it may entitle you to substantial tax incentives and preservation grants, even as you are serving the humanitarian goal of historic preservation.

Tax incentives and other benefits

Owners of historic properties may be able to receive rehabilitation grants, federal tax and charitable contribution credits as outlined in land use law. The Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit program (RITC), and the charitable contribution deduction apply to historic properties. The RITC also lowers rehabilitation costs for a historic property that produces income. The deduction for the charitable contribution stems from a conservation easement. The easement entitles the owner to a one time deduction for donating the historic value of the property to a not-for-profit agency. It can be applied to both residential and income-producing properties.

Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit (RITC)

The RITC program offers a federal income tax credit of 20 percent of the eligible rehabilitation expenses. To qualify for the tax credit, the following requirements must be satisfied:

  • The building must be individually listed in or eligible for the National Register of          Historic Places, or be a contributing part of an historic district.
  • The cost of the rehabilitation must be at least $5,000 and greater than the adjusted cost basis of the property, which is the “substantial rehabilitation test.”
  • The rehabilitation must be completed within two years.
  • The building must be income-producing for five years or more after rehabilitation.
  • The rehabilitation work must meet the rehabilitation standards of the Secretary of the Interior.

The Georgia Historic Preservation Division reviews all tax credit rehabilitation projects, which must then be certified by the National Park Service.

The knowledgeable attorneys at Hartman Simons and Wood LLP offer creative, cost-effective, tax-saving suggestions for the revitalization of your properties.

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