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Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program

Retaining the historical character of buildings

This program offers tax credits to developers who sensitively rehabilitate historic buildings to offer them new life. Iowa offers this tax credit program to ensure character-defining features and spaces of buildings are retained to help create distinct and vibrant communities.

  • State income tax credit of up to 25% 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


  • 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 State Historic Preservation Office 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% 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% 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
    • Applicant may be a nonprofit but may not be a governmental body

How to Apply

  • Applications will be accepted through  
  • Registration applications for small projects (projects with qualifying expenses less than $750,000) are accepted on an ongoing basis
  • Registration applications for large projects (projects with qualifying expenses over $750,000) are typically accepted twice per year
  • The next Historic Preservation Tax Credit registration round for large projects will be held from May 1, 2019 through May 29, 2019.  Applications must be submitted through

    Please note that this will be the only large project registration round held for FY 2020.  Approximately $29 million in tax credits are expected to be available.
    Please contact Dan Hansen with questions regarding this registration round at 515.348.6212 or

Program Contact(s)

Daniel Hansen

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