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Financial help for barn preservation projects

The BARN AGAIN! program does not provide grants to private individuals to fix up their barns. It would be impossible for us to give grants for every barn in the country that needs to be rehabilitated! That's why we developed BARN AGAIN! Using an older building is an economical alternative to building new. Our statistics show that on average barn rehabilitation costs one-third as much as constructing a comparable new building.

Some federal, state, and local programs are available, however, to help defray the costs of a barn preservation project. Some states offer property or income tax relief for the rehabilitation of historic buildings, and a few localities have grant or loan programs for preservation.

The BARN AGAIN! program does not provide grants to private individuals to fix up their barns. It would be impossible for us to give grants for every barn in the country that needs to be rehabilitated! That's why we developed BARN AGAIN! Using an older building is an economical alternative to building new. Our statistics show that on average barn rehabilitation costs one-third as much as constructing a comparable new building.

A 20% rehabilitation tax credit is available for certified rehabilitation of buildings listed on, or eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places. To qualify, a building must be used for income-producing purposes, and the rehabilitation costs must be greater than $5,000 or the adjusted cost basis for the building. A 10% credit is available for buildings built before 1936 that are not on the National Register. For more information about the 20% (historic) tax credit, contact your State Historic Preservation Office. For information about the 10% credit, request Form 3468 Investment Credit from the Internal Revenue Service. More information on how to benefit from tax incentives is available in A Guide to Tax-Advantaged Rehabilitation, which can be ordered from BARN AGAIN! for $8.00.

Some states offer property tax relief for the certified rehabilitation of historic buildings. These may consist of freezing property taxes at the pre-rehabilitation level or an exemption for a specific time period. A few states offer state income tax credits as well. Listed below are examples of state tax incentives from a selected number of states. Contact your State Historic Preservation Office to find out if your state has any special tax incentives for historic preservation.

Residential and commercial structures earn a 20 percent income tax credit for rehabilitation expenses, up to $50,000 per year with a minimum of $5,000 investment. There is no limit to the amount of reduction taken in the first year, and there is a carry-over period of 10 years. A property qualifies if it has been designated as historic at the local, state, or national level. The property owner may take both federal and state tax credits and projects already commenced before applying may still take credit if the work is approved by the SHPO. Partnerships may divide tax credit resources pursuant to their partnership agreement.

Many states have a "local option" for property tax incentives, which means that a local government must approve the use of the incentive within its jurisdiction. Check with your local government and State Historic Preservation Office to find out if you can take advantage of property tax incentives.

Very few grant and loan programs exist for private individuals, but it's worth checking to see if your locality has any help to offer. A few examples are the State Historical Society of Iowa's Historic Site Preservation Grant Program, Iowa Barn Foundation's matching grant program, the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund, the Colorado Historical Society's State Historical Fund, and Vermont's barn assessment and barn restoration grants. Contact your local preservation organization, county development office, state historic preservation office, and/or statewide preservation organization for more information.

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