Bi-Partisan HTC Bill Introduced to Bring More Value to HTC Projects

Last year, industry and preservation advocates worked with many Members of Congress to retain the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) in a reformed tax code.  Our collective hard work paid off, and advocates breathed a sigh of relief when the credit was retained but with some modifications.

On June 13, HTC champions on the House and Senate tax writing committees, Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Cardin (D-MD), introduced legislation to eliminate the basis adjustment requirement for HTC transactions. Original Co-sponsors include Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the House and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate. The bill will enhance the value of HTC investments from urban cores to rural Main Streets across the country, while also keeping most of the associated cost savings from the tax reform modifications in place. Sponsors anticipate there is an opportunity to attach the basis adjustment language to a larger legislative package that is likely to move through Congress toward the end of the year.   Support for the legislation needs to come from both sides of the aisle to improve its chances of enactment.

Call (during office hours) the offices of your Members of Congress. Ask to speak to tax staff, your staff contacts in offices or ask for email addresses of tax staff. Below are suggested talking points:

  • The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) provides owners of historic buildings with an incentive to invest in the difficult task of rehabilitating their properties according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
  • While the 20 percent historic tax credit was maintained in the final tax reform bill, it was modified and this is expected to reduce the amount of reinvestment flowing into our historic communities and neighborhoods.
  • Presently, the tax code requires that building owners subtract the amount of federal historic tax credits from a building’s basis (the amount a property is worth for tax purposes). Eliminating this requirement will increase the basis of rehabilitated historic buildings for building owners, providing a tax benefit, and attract more capital from tax credit investors. Rep. LaHood (R-IL) and Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), and Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Cardin (D-MD), have introduced legislation to eliminate the basis adjustment for federal HTC transactions.
  • This legislative change still preserves the vast majority of the savings achieved by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and eliminating the basis adjustment will also bring the HTC in line with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which does not require a basis adjustment.
  • Enacting this legislation will strengthen the credit and improve the incentive for building owners who are revitalizing historic properties in communities nationwide. Please co-sponsor the Cassidy/Cardin bill in the Senate and the LaHood/Blumenauer bill in the House.

Opportunities to Connect with House and Senate Members during Congressional Recesses

It is important to show Members of Congress the impact of the HTC in revitalizing communities and preserving our heritage. Both House and Senate Members of Congress will be home for the Independence Day recess June 30-July 8. In August, the Senate will be in recess August 4-10 and the House will be in recess July 28–September 3.

We encourage you to plan a site visit with a Member of Congress to share impactful projects!

Ask for the contact information for schedulers in offices of your Members of Congress; once connected, make a request to accompany the Member on an HTC project tour (or a meeting) during the upcoming recesses.

Helpful Tips

  • Combine your meeting with a tour of a completed or potential HTC project;
  • If a meeting with the Member is not possible, request a meeting with staff, including in-district staff;
  • Coordinate meetings with local preservationists, developers, architects, mayors, Main Street organizations and others to convey the broad impact of the Historic Tax Credit program in your community.

Please share the outcomes of your advocacy or gain assistance in coordinating your site visit by contacting Mike Phillips, NTCIC’s Public Policy Manager at