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Property Tax Exemption

Historic buildings are tangible links with the past. They help give a community a sense of identity, stability and orientation. Escambia County encourages the preservation of historic buildings through a property tax exemption program designed to support the rehabilitation of historic and older buildings. This incentive was created for individuals and entities to improve historic properties.

This local program is authorized by Section 196.1997, Florida Statutes, and allows counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances allowing a property tax exemption for up to 100% of the increase in assessed improvements resulting from an approved rehabilitation of a qualified historic property. The exemption may remain in effect for up to 10 years. The exemption applies only to that portion of the property tax levied by the unit of government granting the exemption.

Qualified properties may be residential or commercial and must be either individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a contributing building in a National Register District, or designated as historic under the provisions of a local preservation ordinance. The rehabilitation work must be in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior' Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.

Applications for the property tax exemption are either reviewed by local preservation office in communities designated as a Certified Local Government or by the Division of Historic Resources for communities not designated as a CLG. To qualify for an exemption a covenant is required for the term of the exemption.

For more information on historic preservation in Escambia County, contact the historic preservationist at the UWF Historic Trust at 850-595-5985.

Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit

The Rehabilitation Tax Credit is jointly administered by the Internal Revenue Service and the National Park Service in partnership with State Historic Preservation Offices. In Florida the SHPO is the Division of Historical Resources.

The RTC is a federal income tax credit equal to 20 percent of the allowable expenses incurred in a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure.

A certified rehabilitation is one is one that is determined to meet The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings. A certified historic structure is a building that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places or deemed eligible for listing and subsequently listed. The NPS is the agency that certifies both the historic building and the rehabilitation through a three-part application.

A lesser credit of 10 percent is available for non-historic buildings placed in service prior to 1936. The 10 percent RTC is administered solely by the IRS.

The Florida SHPO is the first point of contact for Florida projects seeking the 20 percent RTC. After its review, the SHPO forwards applications to the NPS with recommendations. The NPS determinations are then forwarded to the IRS. A more detailed description of program requirements is provided in the NPS links below.

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