Interior Highlights 35th Anniversary of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program

Press Release

By:  Sally Jewell
Date: June 14, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today marked the 35th anniversary of the highly successful Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program, which has helped preserve historic buildings across America while serving as an economic engine for local communities.

According to a new report from the National Park Service, in the 35 years since the first project was certified through FY 2012, the program has helped generate $66 billion ($106 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars) in private investment in historic rehabilitation and supported 2.4 million jobs, which have tended to be local and more high-skilled and higher paying than new construction.

"Since its inception the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program has proven to be an extraordinary success, supporting rehabilitation of more than 38,000 historic properties," Jewell said. "The tax incentives administered by the program help preserve our past, benefit our economy in the present, and ensure that our national heritage will be remembered in the future. They are an investment in who we are as a country, both in conserving our heritage and in building stronger, more vibrant communities for today."

In addition, the report details that projects supported by the program have rehabilitated or created 460,000 housing units, including 124,000 low-to moderate-income units. About two-thirds of projects are located in neighborhoods at or below 80 percent of area median family income.

In Fiscal Year 2012 alone, tax incentives made possible by the program supported projects that pumped $3.5 billion into local economics, supporting an estimated 57,000 jobs.

The report builds on an announcement earlier this week from the National Park Service issuing $21.6 million in historic preservation grants to states and territories and $3.7 million to 142 American Indian tribes to help preserve and protect historic sites.

Commonly referred to as the federal historic tax credit program, the program is administered by the National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices. It provides a 20-percent tax credit to property owners who undertake a substantial rehabilitation of a historic building in a business or income-producing use, while maintaining its historic character.

Across the country, the program has helped revive abandoned or underutilized schools, warehouses, factories, churches, retail stores, apartments, hotels, houses, agricultural buildings and offices, and, in turn, helps support the redevelopment of entire downtowns and neighborhoods. It also supports community revitalization, job creation, affordable housing, small businesses, farms and Main Street development, among other economic benefits.

"The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program is the nation's most effective program to promote historic preservation and community revitalization through historic rehabilitation," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "For 35 years, we have given these buildings a new life in a manner that maintains their historic character."

The National Park service report marks the 35th anniversary of the first project to be certified under the program and highlights the program's accomplishments and economic benefits as well as examples of the many projects, in communities both large and small throughout the country, that have benefited from the program.

The 35th anniversary report follows the release by the National Park Service earlier this year of the Fiscal Year 2012 annual report on the program and an executive summary of a report prepared by the Rutgers University Center for Urban Policy Research on the economic impacts of the historic tax credit.