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Congressional Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Historic Rehabilitation Credit Bill

A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers have introduced companion Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HTC) bills. The measure aims to strengthen the HTC by encouraging investment and minimizing administrative burdens, according to the lawmakers.

Rehabilitation Credit

As amended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97), the rehabilitation credit under Code Sec. 47 is limited to 20% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures (QREs) of the taxpayer for qualified rehabilitated buildings. The credit is claimed ratably over a five-year period beginning in the tax year in which the rehabilitated building is placed in service. A “qualified rehabilitated building” (QRB) is a building and its structural components for which depreciation is allowable, and that has been substantially rehabilitated and placed in service before the beginning of the rehabilitation. The building must be a certified historic structure, but any expenditure attributable to rehabilitation of the structure is not a QRE unless it is a certified rehabilitation.

Property is considered substantially rehabilitated only if the expenditures during an elected 24-month measurement period (60-month period for phased rehabilitations) ending with or within the tax year are greater than the adjusted basis of the property or $5,000.

Basis-Adjustment Requirement

The bipartisan HTC Enhancement Bill would eliminate the existing basis-adjustment requirement. Eliminating this requirement would “bring the HTC in line with other tax credits claimed over multiple years,” according to a joint press release by the bill’s sponsors.

The measure was introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Susan Collins, R-Me., and Reps. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. “Protecting this credit was one of my top priorities in tax reform, and I’m glad there is bipartisan support for making it even better,” Cassidy said in the joint press release. Cardin praised the measure for helping to create economic growth.

Improved HTC

Likewise, Collins said the bill would make the HTC easier to use as well as create economic development across the country. Additionally, an improved HTC would create jobs, according to Blumenauer. “Strengthening the Historic Tax Credit will further revitalize American cities while creating local jobs and spurring economic development in communities large and small,” Blumenauer said.

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