Federal Income Tax Credit

In 1976, the National Park Service created Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives for owners who rehabilitate income producing landmark buildings. A 20% income tax credit is available for rehabbing commercial, industrial, agricultural and rental residential buildings. A credit lowers the amount of tax owed; this is more advantageous than a tax deduction, which lowers the amount of income subject to taxation.

What buildings are eligible?

  • Income Producing Landmark Buildings. An income-producing building that is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places or cited as a contributing building in a National Register Historic District or cited as a contributing building in a local district that has been certified by the National Park Service. The city of Chicago has many Chicago Landmark Districts that are certified historic districts.
  • Benjamin Historic Certifications regularly writes Landmark Nominations so that property owners can acquire the Federal Income Tax Credit.
  • A building that is depreciable. That is, it must be used in a trade or business or held for the production of income. It may not serve exclusively as the owner's private residence. (See Property Tax Assessment Freeze for the tax advantages available to owners of landmark homes).
  • A building whose rehabilitation meets preservation guidelines. An eligible building that is being rehabilitated must follow guidelines described in The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Power House, Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Chicago

How much money must be spent?

  • The rehabilitation must be "substantial." That is, during any 24-month period selected by the taxpayer, rehabilitation expenditures must exceed the greater of $5000 or the adjusted basis of the building (generally the purchase price minus the cost of land, plus improvements already made, minus depreciation already taken). A project may be phased.

What does Benjamin Historic Certifications do?

  • Prepare all the necessary documentation required for submission to the National Park Service so an owner qualifies for the tax credit. We administer the entire process from beginning to end. We process the paperwork, gather or take photographs and coordinate all work with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which administers credit applications before sending them to the National Park Service for final approval.
  • Advise on proper preservation techniques to ensure that The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation are followed.
  • Advise on what expenditures qualify toward the rehabilitation.
  • Provide any other needed guidance.

Why hire Benjamin Historic Certifications?

Home State Bank, Woodstock

  • We advise on how to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize the project.
  • We can assure that the process is completed in a professional, efficient manner.
  • We are experienced and have a long, well-established working relationship with the SHPO, which administers the tax credit program before it is sent to the National Park Service.
  • Because of our expertise in the history of architecture, we can write the National Register nominations that make properties eligible for the Federal Income Tax Credit.
  • Projects completed by team members include the Printers Building in Chicago, the former post office building (currently Home State Bank) in Woodstock, a duplex designed by Daniel Burnham in Evanston and the Power House for the Chicago & North Western Railway.