Additional Eligibility Requirements
Additional factors and conditions can determine whether a potential project is eligible for the 20% tax credit.
Buildings, Not Structures
Although the National Register of Historic Places lists structures, objects, and sites in addition to buildings, the 20% rehabilitation tax credit is only available for buildings. Treasury Regulation 1.48-1(e) defines a building as any structure or edifice enclosing a space within its walls, and usually covered by a roof, the purpose of which is, to provide shelter or housing, or to provide working, office, parking, display, or sales space.
The 20% tax credit for historic preservation is meant to preserve historic buildings, and not to create buildings that look old, but that are in effect new buildings. Thus, the credit is not available if the building does not have sufficient historic material to preserve at the outset of the rehabilitation. Once the integrity of a building has been lost due to deterioration, damage, or previous alterations, it can never be regained. While new material can exactly copy significant features, material integrity itself can never be re-created. It is important to select a building for rehabilitation that retains its basic physical integrity before rehabilitation.
Non-historic Surface Coverings
Some historic buildings have been covered with non-historic surface coverings that obscure the building underneath. In these cases, it will be necessary to remove the covering to make sure that there is enough historic building material remaining that the building still qualifies as historic.
Farms, mills, and other historic properties often have more than one building. For properties with multiple buildings that were functionally related historically, the rehabilitation certification decision will be based on the effect of the overall rehabilitation on the entire property, and not on each structure or individual component.
Moving a historic building can jeopardize its listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and special procedures must be followed to ensure its continued listing. Likewise, moving a building into or within a historic district may jeopardize its ability to contribute to the significance of the district. If a building will be moved as part of the rehabilitation project, consult with the SHPO as soon as possible.
Projects that involve demolition require careful planning to ensure approval whether whole buildings will be demolished or only parts of a structure.