Tax Credits for Owners of Historic Properties
If you are considering taking advantage of these credits, please contact the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. Structural historian Jennifer Brennan is currently the tax credit coordinator. She can be reached at Jennifer.L.Brennan@wv.gov or at (304) 558-0240, extension 138.
AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL:
- Historic structures certified by the National Park Service (those listed on the National Register of Historic Places or contributing structures within a National Register historic district) may apply for a credit of 20% toward qualifying expenses. This credit only applies to income-producing properties. All rehabilitation work is subject to review and must comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
- Structures that are not certified by the National Park Service but were in service before 1936 and are being rehabilitated for non-residential use may still qualify for a 10% tax credit. This rehabilitation is not subject to review but must meet 3 criteria: at least 50% of the existing external walls must remain in place as external walls, at least 75% of the existing external walls must remain in place as either external or internal walls, and at least 75% of the internal structural framework must remain in place.
You can read more about both of these tax credits here.
There are also tax benefits available to owners who donate a historic preservation easement on their property to a preservation or conservation agency. Easements are complicated, and making use of these credits would require the aid of a tax attorney or accountant.
You can read more about the benefits of preservation easements here.
AT THE STATE LEVEL:
- For income-producing properties certified by the National Park Service, WV offers a state income tax credit of 25% (as of January 1, 2018) of the capital investment in the rehabilitation of a structure. Together with the federal credit, the total benefit is 45% of the investment. For provisions, procedures, and rules, click here.
- There is a $30 million program cap and $10 million project cap for this credit, which is distributed on a first come, first served basis. $5 million of the program funds is set aside for small projects. The tax credit amount is reserved after the project is approved by the National Park Service.
- The total project costs must be at least $5,000 or the adjusted basis of the property.
- There is a state review fee: the lesser of .5% of the tax credit or $10,000
- Non-taxpaying entities (like non-profits) may transfer their credits to a tax-paying entity.
- The applicant must be current on all taxes.
- The tax credit may be carried forward 10 years.
- For residential properties certified by the National Park Service, WV offers a 20% state income tax credit. For provisions, procedures, and rules, click here.
- The project must meet the material rehabilitation test: an amount greater than 20% of the assessed value of the building, not including the value of the land.
Again, these credits apply only to qualifying expenses and must conform to The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. For an overview of these credits and a list of forms, click here.