What is the application process?
The Historic Preservation Certification application is a 2- or 3-part process, depending on whether the building is individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Each part requires approval or “certification” by the National Park Service. The application is always submitted in duplicate to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), which retains one copy and forwards the other to the National Park Service.
Part 1 is the Evaluation of Significance of the property
Owners of buildings located in a historic district or buildings eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places must complete Part 1 of the application to determine if the building contributes to the significance of the historic district. If the National Park Service determines that the building does contribute to the significance of the historic district, the National Park Service issues a decision that the building is a certified historic structure. The National Park Service bases its decision on the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Evaluating Significance within Registered Historic Districts. The Part 1 application form must have been submitted and approved by the National Park Service before the Part 3 application form, "Request for Certification of Completed Work," is submitted.
Note: Properties that consist of a single building and are individually listed in the National Register are automatically certified historic structures and do not need a Part 1 form.
Part 2 is the Description of Rehabilitation Work
All owners of a certified historic structure who are seeking the 20% tax credit for the rehabilitation work must complete a Part 2 application form, which is a description of the proposed rehabilitation work. The National Park Service reviews the description of the proposed rehabilitation for conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. If the proposed work meets the Standards, the National Park Service issues a preliminary decision approving the work. Or, the proposed work may be given a conditional approval that outlines specific modifications required to bring the project into conformance with the Standards.
Part 3 is the Request for Certification of Completed Work
After the rehabilitation work is completed, the owner must submit a Part 3 application form requesting final approval of the completed work. The National Park Service evaluates the completed project and compares it with the work proposed in the Part 2 application form. If it meets the Standards, the National Park Service approves the project as a certified rehabilitation eligible for the 20% rehabilitation tax credit.
Note: This general guidance regarding the application process for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program does not substitute for a complete reading of the Historic Preservation Certification Application instructions.