House and Senate Reconciled Tax Bill Includes 20% Historic Tax Credit, Final Vote Next Week

The House and Senate Conference Committee has reconciled the differences between the two versions of the tax bill. The agreement eliminates the pre-1936 non-historic tax credit and includes the 20% Historic Tax Credit (HTC) with a provision that it will be claimed over five years. Also, the Conference Committee also included additional transition rule language that now clearly covers phased rehabilitations for which the taxpayer may select a 60-month period.

Both the House and Senate are likely to pass the final bill early next week and the vote is expected to be on party lines.  President Trump is then expected to sign the bill before the end of the year.

While advocates may be disappointed they could not fully restore the 20% HTC to current law and prevent the elimination of the 10% pre-1936 rehabilitation credit, there is plenty to celebrate.  Despite this being the most significant overhaul of the nation’s tax code in three decades in which hundreds of deductions and credits have been reduced or eliminated, the HTC is expected to be retained as an incentive to protect and restore historic buildings across the country. 

Background

The House passed H.R. 1 “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” on November 16th.  The House version of the bill eliminated both the 10% pre-1936 non-historic “old building” credit and the 20% HTC. With House Republicans highly motivated for a legislative win, few Republicans voted against the bill.  

Last month, Senate Finance Committee legislation also eliminated the “old-building” credit but retained the HTC at a level of 10%.

HTC advocates were successful in working with Senator Cassidy (R-LA), and other Finance Committee Senators, to support a provision to restore the HTC to 20% for historic buildings. As a cost-saving measure, the “Cassidy Amendment” provided that the 20% credit will be earned over the 5-year compliance/recapture period (or 4% per year). The Finance Committee approved the provision, which was included in a Manager’s Amendment, on a party line vote. The full Senate approved the bill with the HTC provision with a 51-49 vote on November 25th.

As the two bills moved to conference for the reconciliation process, advocates continued to reach out to conferees in both the House and the Senate with the request that the Senate provision related to the HTC be incorporated into the final bill. 

Next Steps

At some point in the New Year there will also be an opportunity to make positive adjustments to the HTC in a “Technical Corrections” bills that will clean up ambiguities unanticipated consequences of changes in the tax code.

Additionally, there may be opportunity for improvement to the HTC in new legislation that could be considered next year. Within these opportunities, advocates will focus to further improve the HTC by attempting to eliminate the basis reduction (bringing parity with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits), strive for more favorable transition rules, and enact main street revitalization provisions of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1158/S.425).

Please Thank Those Who Voiced Support!

We could not have achieved this great result without the leadership of many Members of Congress who responded to the requests of their constituents and fought for the retention of the HTC in the tax code.

Please thank your House and Senate Members for voicing support for the HTC!

Message: “I understand that the final tax reform bill includes a 20% Historic Tax Credit. Thank you for voicing support through the legislative process of how important this market-driven incentive is to bringing investment, preserving our heritage and revitalizing our communities.”

SENATE: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Thank You HTC Advocates!

Thank you for your steadfast advocacy during this threat to the HTC! In a Congress that wanted to eliminate or reduce all real estate tax credits and deductions, your voice and relationships with your members of Congress were the reason why legislators are poised to pass and protect a 20% HTC.

NTCIC, the National Trust for Historic Preservation the Historic Tax Credit Coalition and preservation partners will be working on subsequent technical corrections bills and will provide updates on these actions. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Mike Phillips, mphillips@ntcic.com

 

 In 1981, President Ronald Reagan significantly expanded an innovative program to draw investment to the rehabilitation of older properties, now known as the federal historic tax credit. He was so impressed with the program’s success that he made it a permanent part of the tax code in 1986.


Advocacy Resources


• Webinar on the HTC by Washington, D.C lobbyists 


Find contact information for your House Representative


• Find contact information for your Senators


• Talking points


• State and congressional district maps with economic impact data


• Interactive mapping tool developed by Novogradac and Company 


• *Recording* of November 2 HTC Advocacy Webinar – National Trust Gov. Affairs Staff and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition’s lobbyists provide overview of the House tax reform bill and ways advocates of the HTC can take action.