The tax reform conference committee issued its report late Friday afternoon and the 20% HTC taken over five years was included, a provision that was introduced in an amendment by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) which reinstated the 20% rate from 10% as contained in the original version of the Senate bill. (The 10% credit for non-historic pre-1936 buildings has been completely eliminated.) Overall, this is good news for the historic rehabilitation industry and historic communities across the country. The next step will be the reconciled version of the bill to be voted on by the House and Senate this week, with signature by the President looking likely before Christmas.
While the five year provision is not ideal, it appears the federal historic tax credit will continue to be a viable program, and hopefully there will be opportunities in the near future to improve the law. (An important note: should the bill pass as is expected, those wanting to qualify for the current federal HTC program must have the "taxpayer" claiming the credit as owner of the building by the end of 2017.)
An unexpected positive development in the conference report was the inclusion of the option for 60-month phased projects under the transition rule. This was a glaring omission from the earlier versions of the bill, which only addressed the 24-month basis test counting period and created uncertainty for current and future phased projects, and was an issue lobbied by the Historic Tax Credit Coalition (HTCC).
Many thanks are due those of you that stood with the HTCC to voice your support for the tax credit. We encourage you to reach out and thank the legislators that have been champions for the incentive in critical ways, such as Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). The need for our advocacy is far from over, but we could not have gotten to where we are now without the efforts of all involved.