Historic Tax Credits
Since April, 2004, the Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program (MHRTC) has been catalyzing the rehabilitation, reuse and revitalization of historic properties across the Commonwealth. These historic structures have been rehabilitated to create quality affordable and market rate housing, community centers, commercial and office space, performing arts venues, restaurants, health centers, veteran and senior housing and more, benefiting our communities in numerous ways.
The program has proven to be a critical tool for preservation projects and economic development across Massachusetts. From theatres in Worcester and Pittsfield to hotels in Boston and Stockbridge, this credit actively demonstrates the economic benefits of preservation while revitalizing our neighborhoods. Not only is the historic fabric of our Commonwealth being reused and communities revitalized, but vital links between preservation, development, businesses and other professions are being forged and strengthened. Jobs are being created, lights are being turned back on and downtowns are being rejuvenated.
Beginning with only $10 million in annual credits available in 2004, the cap rose to $15 million in 2005 and then to $50 million in 2006 and finally to $55 million in 2018. Preservation Massachusetts continues to lead critical legislative efforts on Beacon and Capitol Hill to sustain and grow this vital program to benefit projects across the state, not only preserving historic structures but encouraging economic development, creating jobs and stimulating the economies of our communities all over Massachusetts.
Hover over the images below for more details about the MHRTC.
Oscar Romero House in New Bedford was vacant for over 15 years and in deplorable condition before its renovation
What's the credit history?
In 2002, Preservation Massachusetts organized a statewide coalition of organizations to find an initiative that would have a resounding benefit for preservation efforts in our Commonwealth. The answer was unanimous: a state historic rehabilitation tax credit. Led by Preservation Massachusetts, the Coalition has seen success in drafting, lobbying and celebrating the benefits of the MHRTC since the first application round in April of 2004.
What does the credit do?
The Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax allows the certified rehabilitation of an income-producing property to receive up to 20% of the cost of certified rehabilitation expenditures in state tax credits. This credit, many times coupled with the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit, is a critical source of attaining project feasibility. The credits can be sold to third party investor for funds which are often put back into the project. The credit program makes evident the economic and community benefits of preservation.
Why is it important?
The MHRTC has proven to be successful not only as a critical funding tool for rehabilitation projects, but through the intangible benefits of preservation and stimulus to our state’s economy. In 2009 Preservation Massachusetts felt it imperative to quantify the direct benefits of the credit back to the state. The subsequent economic study also showed the potential for even more stimulus, investment, job creation and increased tax revenue. In 2011, an update to the first economic study was published that further extolled the benefits of the MHRTC program.
How many credits are available?
There are now $55 million in credits available beginning each year in January. The credits are allocated through three application rounds; January 15, April 30 and August 30.
How do I apply for tax credits?
All projects must apply through the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC); the application and program regulations are available on MHC’s site. Applications must also obtain a support letter from Preservation Massachusetts. You must request your letter of support at least two weeks before the MHRTC deadline to ensure your letter is completed in time for your application submission. To obtain a letter of support please call our office.
Who do I contact with questions?
Preservation Massachusetts has been the lead advocate for the MHRTC since the beginning and we offer support and resources to consultants, developers and project advocates across the state. Feel free to call us at any time. For technical questions about the application process you will need to contact the MHC.
Preservation Massachusetts also strongly suggests project applicants seek the services of a preservation consultant prior to submitting an application for the MHRTC. To see a list of consultants view our Preservation Directory or contact us directly.
About The MA Historic Tax Credit
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Oscar Romero House after renovations done by Community Action for Better Housing (part of Catholic Social Services), WHALe, and NEI General Contracting.