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Montgomery County Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Helpful Guidance and Tips for Complete Tax Credit packages

  1. Contact the historic preservation office as soon as you contemplate undertaking a county historic preservation tax credit project. We are happy to help guide you through the process and give you advice regarding preservation contractors, good historic preservation practice, and the general benefit of our expertise. You may also want to access our historic preservation design guidelines. These guidelines can give you much information about good historic preservation practice.
  2. The twenty-five percent County Historic Preservation Tax Credit is intended for projects that fall into the category of ordinary maintenance. Ordinary maintenance is defined as "work on a historic site or an historic resource within a historic district which does not alter in any way the exterior features of the subject property, including the architectural style, design, and general arrangement of the exterior, as well as the nature, texture, details, and dimensions of building materials, windows, doors, siding, etc. This definition applies, whenever appropriate, to the appurtenances and environmental setting of an historic site or resource, as well as to the building, structure, or object itself."
  3. Some projects that fall outside the purview of ordinary maintenance can be considered. These projects will have received a Historic Area Work Permit (HAWP) from the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Office before the work was initiated. No tax credits will be given to projects that did not go through the HAWP process. This guideline does not apply to projects that meet the definition of ordinary maintenance. If you need clarification on whether your project should receive a HAWP, please contact the Montgomery County Preservation Staff at 301-563-3400.
  4. Where original historic or nonhistoric materials or design was faulty and the maintenance or protection of the property is in question, then on a case-by-case basis, the HPC may chose to grant a county tax credit for all or a portion of rehabilitation work done to stabilize a property. The work must have received a Historic Area Work Permit prior to project initiation and must use compatible materials or design.

    Example: A 1960s brick garage addition was constructed on the back of a 1920s Colonial Revival House. This garage has a rolltop door that has leaked nearly since its installation, resulting in moisture problems on the rear of the house. The applicant applies for and receives a HAWP to brick-in the garage. Some elements of this work would be considered tax credit eligible, because the project will seal the building envelope and prevent structural damage due to water infiltration. Therefore, the applicant should request a tax credit for the project and carefully price out each work item.
  5. Projects that restore a historic portion of a property to its original appearance using acceptable documentation, i.e. historic photographs, forensic evidence on the building itself, drawings/paintings, or diary entries, to name a few sources, may be considered eligible.

    Example: In the 1980s, a homeowner replaced original wood windows with vinyl windows, which are failing — not even twenty years later. The current owner wishes to restore the original wood windows using old photos and an original window which was moved to the rear of the property on an enclosed porch addition. The owner would get a HAWP, initiate work, and then apply for the credit.
  6. Alternately, work that replaces a historic feature, while approved for a HAWP, may not meet eligibility for a preservation tax credit. This is especially true when the new feature differs from the original in materials or design.

    Example: A one-story porch addition to a contributing bungalow is taken down and a two-story frame addition with a new deck is placed on the rear of the property. This work received a HAWP, but is not tax credit eligible. It does not restore a historic feature to the property, and is not needed to prevent damage to the historic structure. The work was perfectly appropriate and met all of the HPC guidelines, yet it does not meet tax credit guidelines.
  7. Replacement of historic or nonhistoric features must be completed in-kind, i.e. wood to wood, slate to slate. Introduction of new materials requires a HAWP and may not be eligible for the credit — unless the new material or design is a restoration to the property's primary period of significance or if the original material was faulty. In either case, the project should still receive a HAWP.
  8. When obtaining receipts for work done, make certain to have your contractor price out each element of the job. Some items may not be eligible and you may lose the entire credit if you fail to provide sufficient information. Remember you may not be available when the credit is processed and we might not be able to ask you for clarifications, so please be sure and itemize receipts.
  9. When purchasing equipment or supplies for a job, please note on the receipt or a separate page attached to the receipt exactly what the items are and what they were used for in your project. This is only necessary if you purchased items for the contractor and the supplies were used for multiple on-going projects.

    Example: A receipt that shows house paint can be clearly explained on the receipts transmittal form. However, on a project in which you replaced wood on several features on the property, it will be necessary to state where the wood was used specifically.
  10. Make certain to enclose a paid-in-full receipt or a cancelled check with your application. Also, be sure to include a proposal or a scope of work from the contractor who completed the work clearly stating what eligible exterior work was done on your property.
  11. Again, call us with any questions. We are here to help. 301-563-3400.

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