Historic Preservation & Cultural & Entertainment District Tax Credit Program

The State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit program (HPCED) provides state tax incentives for the sensitive rehabilitation of historic buildings. Through this program, underused or vacant schools, warehouses, factories, residences and other buildings throughout Iowa have been returned to useful life in a manner that maintains the historic character.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) administers the program in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of Iowa. 

The application process includes several elements and applications are submitted through the online CACTAS system
  • Building must be historically significant by meeting at least one of the following criteria:
    • Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places or determined by the staff at the SHPO to be eligible for listing.
    • Building is contributing to the significance of a historic district that is listed on or eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
    • Building is designated as a local landmark by city or county ordinance.
    • Barn constructed before 1937 OR a barn that is listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Project must include substantial rehabilitation, meeting one of the following criteria
    • If building is a commercial building, qualified rehabilitation expenditures must equal at least 50 percent value of the building (excluding land) before rehabilitation or $50,000, whichever is less.
    • If building is a non-commercial building, qualified rehabilitation expenditure must equal at least 25 percent of the assessed value of the building (excluding land) before rehabilitation or $25,000, whichever is less. 
  • Rehabilitation must meet the federal Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation
  • Only an eligible taxpayer may apply for the state tax credit. An “eligible taxpayer” is defined as the fee simple owner of the property or someone having a long-term lease, which meets the requirements of the federal rehabilitation credit. The applicant may be a nonprofit but may not be a governmental body.

  • State income tax credit of up to 25 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures associated with the project. “Qualified rehabilitation expenditures” or “QREs” means the same as defined in Section 47 of the Internal Revenue Code. QREs generally include expenditures related to structural components of the building and some soft costs that would normally be charged to a capital account. QREs do not include expenditures financed by federal, state or local government grants or forgivable loans unless otherwise allowed under Section 47 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Tax credits are transferable.
  • Tax credits may be refunded or carried forward for five years or until depleted, whichever is earlier.

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