With the 115th Congress set to adjourn this week, preservation and historic rehab advocates are less optimistic of a year-end tax bill with a provision to increase the value of Historic Tax Credits (HTC).
Reaching a deal on the FY2019 budget and preventing a government shutdown is the number one priority for Members of Congress before they leave Washington D.C. to return home for the holidays. The previous December 7th budget deadline was delayed two weeks due to the funeral of former President, George H. W. Bush. Presently, it appears that Congressional leaders have an agreement to extend funding for the government through February 8th. Advocates had hoped that Congress would solve the budget crisis in early December to pave the way for a tax bill with the remaining legislative days. This delay on the budget agreement makes passage of a robust tax bill unlikely.
Looking ahead, there is growing optimism for one or more bipartisan tax agreements in 2019, when Democrats assume the majority in the House and a Senate tax bill would require a bipartisan agreement. As a divided government commences in January, there is a high likelihood that Democrats and Republicans will have interest in addressing “Extenders” (temporary tax provisions) that expired in 2018 and provisions set to expire in 2019, technical fixes to tax reform and IRS reform, and adjustments to retirement savings provisions. Additionally, there is a desire on both sides of the aisle to address infrastructure, presuming the White House and Congressional Democrats can agree on a funding mechanism. These tax-related policy measures would provide opportunities to attach improvements to the HTC.
As these opportunities unfold and a new version of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act is reintroduced, it will be important for advocates to educate the 100+ new members of Congress on the importance of the Historic Tax Credit.
Advocates saved the HTC in 2017, garnered strong support for the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act and the Historic Tax Credit Enhancement Act in the 115th Congress, and have positively positioned the HTC to make improvements in the upcoming 116th Congress.
Thank You HTC Advocates and Happy Holidays! We look forward to working with you in January!