Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Important Notice:
Effective July 24, 2023, the State Historic Preservation Office will accept the federal historic tax credit applications only in electronic format.

See "Submitting a Federal Historic Tax Credit Applications" below for more information.

Before You Apply

Application Review Fees

  • The National Park Service invoices applicants for the fees associated with Part 2 and Part 3. There is no fee for state-level review of Federal applications.

The National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service administer the 20% Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit program in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices.

Since 1976, the program has encouraged private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings that are income-producing and determined eligible by the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, to be “certified historic structures.”

The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service review the rehabilitation work to ensure that it complies with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Projects applying for the federal tax credit often apply for the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit (OHPTC). Please note that aspects of both the state and federal applications must be submitted when applying for the combined credit.

Quick Links

For detailed instructions for preparing a federal tax credit application. See the tabbed section below named "Submitting Your Federal Historic Tax Credit Application."

Submitting Your Federal Tax Credit Application

Part 1 - Evaluation of Significance

Use Part 1 to request certification that a building:

• contributes to the significance of a registered historic district, or a National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) property with more than one building, and is thus a “certified historic structure” for purposes of the 20% rehabilitation tax credit or for easement donation purposes.

Use Part 1 to request a preliminary determination:

• of whether an individual building not yet listed in the National Register of Historic Places might meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation;
• of whether a building in a potential historic district contributes to the significance of that district;
• of whether a building outside the period or area of significance of a registered historic district contributes to the significance of the district.

If the property is a single building listed in the NRHP, it is already a “certified historic structure,” and a Part 1 is not needed. A Part 1 is required for all other properties, including individually listed properties that have more than one building.

If the building is neither within a registered historic district nor individually listed in the National Register, the owner must submit a Part 1 and begin the separate process of requesting the SHPO to nominate the building or the district to the National Register.

Late Submissions. Owners who wait until after all work is complete, and the building is placed in service, before they file Part 1 of the application and, where applicable, request that the SHPO nominate the building or district to the National Register, do not qualify for the 20% tax credit under IRS regulations. For additional information, see Topical Tax Brief - Late Submission of Historic Preservation Certification Applications on the IRS website.

Following state-level review, the SHPO transmits the Part 1 application with its recommendation to the National Park Service for final review and approval. From the time a complete application is received by the National Park Service and the federal review fee is paid, it takes approximately 90 days to receive the NPS decision.

Download, complete and submit the Part 1: Evaluation of Significance application form electronically to the SHPO. See the E-Submission Requirements and Application Transmittal Form tabs for more information.

Part 1 Review Decision by the National Park Service
The National Park Service will convey its Part 1 decision by e-mailing a copy of the signed decision to the applicant.

Common Definitions

These expenditures include costs associated with the work undertaken on the historic building, as well as architectural and engineering fees, site survey fees, legal expenses, development fees, and other construction-related costs if such costs are added to the basis of the property and are determined to be reasonable and related to the services performed. They do not include costs of acquiring or furnishing the building, new additions that expand the existing building, new building construction, or parking lots, sidewalks, landscaping, or other facilities related to the building.

Tips for Completing a Federal Historic Tax Credit Application

Part 1 and 2 of the application may be submitted separately or together. If submitted separately, Part 1 must precede Part 2. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications describing proposed work and to receive approval from the National Park Service prior to the start of construction. Owners who undertake rehabilitation projects without prior National Park Service approval do so at their own risk.

Submitting Your Project
Effective July 24, 2023 the State Historic Preservation Office will accept historic tax credit applications electronically only. Click here to submit your application.

National Register of Historic Places?
Contact the State Historic Preservation Office at 614-298-2000 to determine if the property is listed individually or part of a listed historic district.

For buildings within National Register-listed historic districts, use relevant information from Section 7 and 8 of the National Register nomination to prepare Part 1.

When Should I Submit Part 1 Application?

The Part 1 Application should be submitted if you are seeking a preliminary determination of National Register eligibility for a property not yet listed or if your property is located within the boundaries of a National Register-listed historic district. To avoid delays in your project, it is recommended that you submit a Part 1 well ahead of the planned project start date.

If rehabilitation work is completed and the building has been placed in service prior to the submission of the Part 1, the project will likely not qualify for the tax credit according to IRS regulations. To learn more about late submissions, read Topical Tax Brief – Late Submission of the Historic Preservation Certification Application. It is recommended that you consult with the IRS regarding late submissions.

If you are working with a property that is less than fifty years old, has experienced extensive alterations or additions, or the history and significance of the property are difficult to determine, work with the Inventory and Registration Department of the State Historic Preservation Office to complete a National Register Preliminary Questionnaire before submitting the Part 1 application.

What Should I Submit with the Part 1 application?

National Register Nomination Draft
For properties not yet listed in the National Register, a draft narrative, equivalent to Sections 7 and 8, of a National Register nomination must be submitted with the completed Part 1 application.

Historic District Map
A copy of the district map from the National Register nomination should be included for buildings located in a National Register-listed historic district. Clearly mark the property location on the district map.

All Part 1 and Part 2 photographs should be taken at the same time, BEFORE starting any work and submitted with the Part 1 application. All photos submitted must follow these guidelines:

  1. Photo Orientation: Be sure photos are properly oriented on the page and that the page is formatted in portrait orientation.
  2. Photo PDF File: Place the photos in a separate PDF file, with a maximum of two per page. If necessary, adjust the number of photos per page to be sure they are properly oriented. ALL photos views must be oriented upright.
  3. Photo Key: Save the photo key as a separate PDF file, ensuring that it includes matching property address and photo numbers as found in the photo PDF.
  4. Identifying Photos: Each page of the photos must include the property address, date of the photos, application part (e.g., Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Amendment) and photo number as they appear on the Photo Key, click here for examples.
  5. Photo Size: Each photo must be a minimum size of 4" x 6" and minimum 300 dpi.

How Can I Know the Best Photographs to Take?

Views of all interior and exterior spaces and elevations are required whether or not you intend to work in those areas or take the tax credit for those areas. Additional things to consider when taking photographs:

• Remember that the state and federal reviewers do not know the building! The photos need to document every aspect of it, top to bottom, inside and out.
• Make sure spaces are well lit and otherwise adjust camera settings to achieve the best quality photos.
• Exterior photographs must include all elevations, the immediate site area and some of the surrounding buildings and streetscape
• Interior photographs should be taken and cross-referenced going systematically floor by floor.

How Will I Know You Have Received My Application?

You can see your project submission online using the project receipt status form.

How Long Does It Take For My Part 1 To Be Reviewed?

Once a completed submission is received the review period is 30 days. Remember that our 30-day review period does not start until an application is complete, so there is no advantage to submitting part of the information or incomplete information ahead of time. If additional information must be requested, the 30-day review period begins anew.