Financial Incentives & Funding Opportunities
Financial incentives fall into four major categories: federal and state rehabilitation tax credits, local incentives, low-interest loans, and grants. Of these categories, grants are generally only made to non-profit and government entities. Only at the local level are grants generally made to private, for-profit property owners.
Federal Historic Tax Credit Program: The National Park Service and the Internal Revenue Service administer the 20% Federal Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit program in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices.
Since 1976, the program has encouraged private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings that are income-producing and determined eligible by the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, to be “certified historic structures.” Certified historic structures are buildings that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places individually or as a contributing resource in a historic district.
The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service review the rehabilitation work to ensure that it complies with the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program: The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program (OHPTC), administered by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD), provides an up to 25% tax credit of qualified rehabilitation expenditures up to $5 million to leverage the private redevelopment of historic buildings that are income producing. This is a competitive program that receives applications bi-annually in March and September.
While the ODOD administers the competitive evaluation process and makes final selection decisions on state applications, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) reviews the historic rehabilitation component (Parts 1 & 2, also known as Section B—rehabilitation information) of these applications to determine whether the building is a “historic building” and if proposed and completed work complies with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. For the Ohio Historic tax credit, buildings that are only listed locally within a Certified Local Government are eligible in addition to those properties listed individually or as a contributing resource in a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program: The Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program is a partnership through the Kentucky Heritage Council and the Kentucky Department of Revenue. The Historic Tax Credits provides
- up to a 30% tax credit for owner-occupied residential qualified rehabilitation expenses.
- up to 20% tax credit for non-profit or tax-exempt qualified rehabilitation expenses.
- up to 20% tax credit for income-producing properties qualified rehabilitation expenses.
As of 2023, each fiscal year the Kentucky Heritage Council has $100 million to allocate for Rehabilitation Tax Credit Projects. All projects that qualify will get a tax credit. If there are more requests than there is funding for, the tax credit is apportioned equally which means the final tax credit awarded to each project may be less than the eligible percentage.
For the Kentucky Historic tax credit, buildings, structures and objects must be listed individually or as a contributing resource in a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Federal grants are distributed by the federal government. These grants are generally open and competitive on a national scale, unless otherwise specified.
State grants are distributed by state governments.
State grants can sometimes be pass-through grants—meaning that the federal government passed funds to individual states to distribute through a competitive process.
State funds can also be allocated for specific purposes by state legislatures.
Below is a list of grants that can be used for historic preservation in the Cincinnati Preservation Association Service Area.
There are two types of foundations—public and private. Private foundations acquire their funds from individuals, families, or corporations. Public foundations amass money through fundraising and often receive donations from a variety of sources. Below is a list of grants broken into Federal, State, and Local level.