As the tax reform effort moves forward in Washington, the future of the federal historic tax credit program hangs in the balance.

Since Preservation Maryland’s last update, there has been a tremendous amount of activity. Here’s where the fight for the credit now stands:

  • On Thursday, November 9, 2017, the Senate released their tax reform bill. Their plan would retain the federal historic tax credit, but reduce it to 10% from the current 20%, effectively decimating the effectiveness of the program.
  • In response to the Senate bill, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced an amendment to retain the credit in its entirety, but shift it to a credit that is distributed over a 4 year period instead of the current one-time payment.
  • On November 16, 2017, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced his own amendment to to restore the historic tax credit among others, and used materials and photos provided by Preservation Maryland to make his case before the committee.
  • On Thursday, November 16, 2017, the House passed their tax reform bill on a 227-205 vote. The bill received no support from Democrats and 13 Republicans voted against.
  • The House bill which passed included a full repeal of the historic tax credit despite the efforts of Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) and many other federal legislators.

Future of the fight for preservation

While the House has passed their bill, the future of tax reform remains extremely uncertain. The Senate plan and path forward remains unclear and open to amendments and major shifts. If, or when, the Senate passes their bill, that bill and the House bill would next head to a conference committee to resolve the vast differences.

The preservation community must remain engaged and to continue to call on their elected officials to protect the credit from repeal. These efforts will be extremely important once the bill heads to conference and members of the House and Senate have an opportunity to impact the credit.

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