Historic Tax Credits
Since April 2004, the Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (MHRTC) program 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.
The program has proven to be a critical tool for preservation projects and economic development. 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 also 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 tax credits available in 2004, the cap rose to $15 million in 2005, then to $50 million in 2006, and finally to $55 million in 2018. PM continues to lead critical legislative efforts on Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill to sustain and grow this program in not only preserving historic structures, but also in encouraging economic development, creating jobs, and stimulating the economies of our communities.
Oscar Romero House in New Bedford was vacant for over
15 years and in deplorable condition before its renovation
Oscar Romero House after renovations completed by Community Action for Better Housing (part of Catholic Social Services), WHALe, and NEI General Contracting.
What is the
MA Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit?
What's the credit history?
In 2002, Preservation Massachusetts (PM) organized a statewide coalition of organizations to identify 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 PM, the Coalition has seen success in drafting, lobbying, and celebrating the benefits of the MHRTC since the first application round in April 2004.
What does the credit do?
The MHRTC allows the certified rehabilitation of an income-producing property to receive up to 20% of expenditures in state tax credits. This credit, many times coupled with the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit, is a critical source of funding. The credits can be sold to a third-party investor for funds, which are often reinvested in the project. The credit program exemplifies 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 also as an example of the intangible benefits of preservation in stimulating our state’s economy. In 2009, PM conducted an economic study to quantify the direct benefits of the MHRTC back to the state; it showed the potential for an even greater increase in stimulus, investment, job creation, and 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 each year, beginning 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 website. Applications must also obtain a support letter from Preservation Massachusetts. Letters of support must be requested at least two (2) weeks before the MHRTC deadline to ensure they are completed in time for your application submission. To obtain a letter of support, please call our office.
Who do I contact with questions?
Since the beginning, PM has been the lead advocate for the MHRTC. We offer support and resources to consultants, developers, and project advocates across the state and are here to support you any way we can. For technical questions about the application process, contact MHC.
PM also strongly suggests applicants seek the services of a preservation consultant prior to submitting an application for the MHRTC. To see a list of consultants, please refer to our Preservation Directory.
Applying for MA Historic Tax Credits?
All projects are required to have a support letter from Preservation Massachusetts when applying for all MHRTC rounds. Please use the forms below to request your letter.
Use the NEW letter form only when requesting a letter for the first time. For every other round you apply for, use the Re-application request form.