tax incentives, tax shelters, historical structures


Over the past decade, there has been a growing awareness of the need to restore structures of historic significance on both national and local levels. Both Presidents Carter and Reagan have supported the adoption of extensive federal tax legislation which would provide owners of historic investment property with tax incentives to rehabilitate rather than to raze such property. Unfortunately, these tax enactments have not provided the type of incentive for rehabilitation which was desired. Today in Congress, there is a growing school of thought that the current tax provisions foster the promotion of abusive tax shelters which allow investors to obtain tax benefits greater than their investments warrant. Some members of Congress feel that these provisions should be limited, if not eliminated, in their application to historic rehabilitation property. In both the House and the Senate, legislation has been introduced to try to cut tax incentives of this sort. This Note explores the possible ramifications of such legislation on the incentives to rehabilitate historic property, refutes the contention that such incentives promote abusive tax shelters in the area of historic rehabilitation, and advocates the extension of such incentives to individual taxpayers beyond those who hold historic buildings for use in the ordinary course of their business or as income producing property by enacting new legislation similar to the Residential Energy Credit. Historic structures provide unique evidence of our country's cultural development, while also providing a viable source of reusable commercial and residential property. The federal government must continue to provide tax incentives so that the cost of upkeep of these historical structures may be met.

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