Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits

Income tax incentives for the rehabilitation of historic structures are important tools for historic preservation and economic development in North Carolina. A federal income tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic structures first appeared in 1976 and today consists of a 20% credit for the qualifying rehabilitation of income-producing historic properties. Since 1976, over 3,100 completed "certified rehabilitation" projects have been reviewed by the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office, representing almost two billion dollars of investment in historic properties. The spinoff from all this activity includes job creation, downtown and neighborhood revitalization, improved community appearance, and greater community pride. Historic preservation is smart growth, and smart investment.

Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credits: Making a Difference in North Carolina

Historic preservation in North Carolina provides jobs, bolsters the tax base, and utilizes existing buildings and infrastructure while preserving the state’s priceless historic character. 

Since 1998 rehabilitation tax credits have encouraged over $1.36 billion of private investment in North Carolina’s historic resources.

Rehabilitation of North Carolina’s historic buildings increased dramatically following the 1998 expansion of the state tax credit for historic structure rehabilitation. Since 1998, under the new state credits that enhanced the existing federal credit, 2,146 projects with a total estimated rehabilitation cost expended by private investors of $1.36 billion have been completed. For Federal Fiscal Year 2011, North Carolina was third in the nation in the number of completed certified rehabilitations. The State consistently ranks in the top five in the nation. From the inception of the federal program in 1976 through 1997, 689 projects were completed with $288 million in rehabilitation costs.

Historic preservation creates jobs, generates income, and stimulates tax revenue in North Carolina.

In a 2008 study by Rebecca Holton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, A Profitable Past, A Priceless Future: The Economic Impact of North Carolina’s Historic Tax Credit, Rebecca worked with the North Carolina Department of Commerce to utilize IMPLAN, an input-output multiplier system, to estimate the program’s statewide impact of the economic benefits. Using those multipliers, North Carolina Historic Preservation Office staff estimates that rehabilitation costs expended on historic tax credit projects in North Carolina since 1998 have created 23,100 new full-time jobs. For the Federal Fiscal Year 2011, the National Park Service reports that $4.02 billion in certified rehabilitation projects have created 55,458 new jobs nationwide, concentrated in the construction, service, and retail sectors.

Reuse of North Carolina’s existing structures supports both historic preservation and environmental sustainability principles and makes good economic sense.

In addition to the powerful economic benefits of historic preservation, the North Carolina rehabilitation tax credits encourage the reuse of existing buildings, reducing the need to expand public services and infrastructure which saves taxpayers’ dollars. Historic structures such as schools, textile mills, and tobacco warehouses are reclaimed for housing, retail, and office uses.    

Entire neighborhoods, towns and cities benefit from these incentives.  Historic rehabilitation projects have occurred in 90 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

The North Carolina rehabilitation tax credits help citizens preserve and care for their communities and neighborhoods. Historic preservation, assisted by the tax credits, serves to return a sense of pride and optimism to communities large and small, rural and urban across the state.

The Restoration Services Branch reviews and provides technical assistance to all preservation tax credit projects, both state and federal.

Contact Information

Tim E. Simmons, AIA, Senior Preservation Architect/Tax Credit Coordinator for income-producing projects

Mitch Wilds, Restoration Branch Supervisor and Interim Coordinator for nonincome-producing projects 

Restoration Branch, State Historic Preservation Office
Office of Archives and History
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
4617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4617