October 17, 2019

Cassidy, Cardin, Collins, Cantwell Introduce Bill to Expand Access to Historic Tax Credit

WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today introduced legislation to expand the Historic Tax Credit to foster economic growth and urban renewal.

The Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity (HTC-GO) Act creates a new 30 percent credit for projects that cost less than $3.75 million while maintaining the existing 20 percent credit. Credits are capped at $750,000.

The bill lowers the threshold the cost of a project must meet to be eligible by eliminating the basis-adjustment requirement, which will bring the HTC in line with other credits such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. This language carried over from a bill introduced during the 115th Congress.

It further expands eligible renovation projects by decreasing the rehabilitation investment threshold from 100 percent to 50 percent of the project’s expenses. Project expenses would only have to exceed half of the project’s cost to qualify for the credit. It also amends rules for tax-exempt entities – such as health care centers, arts organization, community services and workforce training providers – to allow better access to the credit.

“Many of the historic buildings in Louisiana have been restored because of the Historic Tax Credit. It creates jobs and revitalizes communities. This bill will help people across our state and nation return historic buildings to working use and preserve our architectural heritage,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“The Historic Tax Credit is a vital economic and preservation tool, creating jobs and saving history in Maryland and across America. In Maryland, there have been hundreds of projects supported by this incentive, directly driving growth in local communities and neighborhoods,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “This legislation, the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act, makes key updates to the successful Historic Tax Credit program to help small and rural communities redevelop and revitalize.”

“I have long supported the Historic Tax Credit, a proven tool for revitalizing communities and catalyzing economic development in Maine and across the nation,” said Senator Collins. “In 2017, I successfully advocated for the retention of this important credit in the new tax law. Our bipartisan legislation will make the historic tax credit even easier to use, leveraging greater investments in restoration projects and creating good-paying jobs for hardworking Americans.”

“Since 1977, the Historic Tax Credit has helped preserve historic Washington buildings like the Hastings Building in Port Townsend and the Holly Madison Building in Spokane,” said Senator Cantwell. “This legislation will make the program more accessible to communities throughout our state and around the country, helping to create jobs, generate new investment, and help us preserve our history.”


Elimination of the basis adjustment will increase the value of the credit and simplify transaction structures. Under current tax law, a building owner must subtract the amount of credits received from a building’s basis (the amount a property is worth for tax purposes). Eliminating this requirement will bring more value to all HTC projects by increasing the basis of rehabilitated historic buildings for building owners, provide additional depreciation and other tax benefits, and attract more capital from tax credit investors.