In April, Commissioners, past and present Historic Preservation Board members, and residents and property owners gathered at the municipal building to celebrate the designation of the Mt. Lebanon Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
We wanted to make sure this wasn’t just an opportunity to express gratitude for the work done by so many, but to share the tangible benefits that make this exciting news! Before cutting the cake, we held a workshop about the Historic Preservation Tax Incentive, which provides a 20 percent rehabilitation tax credit to owners of qualifying properties. This incentive is the direct result of our inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
This blog is about that tax credit and the gentlemen we met at the workshop who help shepherd rehabilitation projects toward gaining the credit. It aims to help all of our residents understand the benefits of this designation for our community.
Here’s a short list of what you should know if you want to take advantage of this credit:
- It applies only to income-producing properties.
- It applies only to contributing properties within the Mt. Lebanon Historic District. (I’ll tell you know how to determine that shortly.)
- To receive the credit, the IRS requires a substantial rehabilitation. Be prepared to spend somewhere in the ballpark of the purchase price of your property, usually within a 24-month period, but up to five years, on a qualifying rehabilitation project.
- The incentive is intended as a long-term investment. You must retain ownership of the building and it must continue as an income-producing property for at least five years to avoid recapture of the credit.
Here’s a short list of who you should know if you intend to pursue this credit:
- Bill Callahan, the Western PA Coordinator for the Bureau of Historic Preservation. Well-known to Mt. Lebanon’s municipal leaders as an expert in this field, he would be your first call. He can be reached at 412-565-3575.
- Scott Doyle, who directs this tax incentive program for the PA Historic and Museum Commission. If you are a serious candidate for the tax incentive program, work with him so you don’t get caught with a complete rehabilitation that does not qualify for the credit.
If you think you or a property owner you know might benefit from the tax incentive program, the first steps are to examine a few vital documents:
- This brochure published by the National Park Service
- the nomination of the Mt. Lebanon Historic District here
- the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation” here
The brochure gives you more detailed information about the Historic Preservation Tax Incentive. The nomination will provide you with an inventory and mapping of the district, which includes contributing and noncontributing designation for properties with the historic district, so you can determine if you have a property that can be certified as historic. The Secretary’s Standards, which I’ve broken down in previous blogs, will give you a good idea of what the expectations of a rehabilitation project will be in regards to the actual materials and character-defining features of the building.
Feel free to contact me through the public information office at 412-343-3407 if you have a question or concern about a particular property. I can give you the best information about the designation of your property in the nomination.
If you know you cannot benefit directly from the credit, I hope you can envision the benefits to our community as a whole. Thanks to the success of our nomination to the National Register, projects that were once out of reach are now within grasp. Can you imagine the possibilities?