If you want to renovate an older building, the work may be eligible for state or federal tax credits.

The building doesn't have to be ancient to qualify. It could be built as recently as the 1950s through the late '60s in some cases.

The benefits available for renovating historic buildings were explained Friday during a meeting at the Alabama Center for the Arts recital hall.

More money for rural areas has been set aside in one program, the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said in the past this money was used primarily in large counties.

Orr said to change this, he wrote an amendment allocating 40 percent of the program's $20 million in funds to be used for historic renovations in rural areas. The counties excluded from accessing this $8 million are Mobile, Montgomery, Madison, Jefferson, Baldwin, Lee, Tuscaloosa and Shelby.

The Alabama program provides a 25 percent tax credit for renovation of commercial and residential properties 60 years old or older. The buildings must be listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The renovation must exceed 50 percent of the original purchase price to qualify for the tax credit.

Up to $5 million is available for commercial building projects, and up to $50,000 for residential.

All work must follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for rehabilitation to ensure the building maintains its historic character.

“It is important for us to not only preserve our history and historic structures but also drive the local economy,” Orr said

The other type of tax credit available for renovating a historic building is the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit.

Executive Director of the Alabama Historic Commission Lisa Jones said the purpose of the tax credits is to encourage private investment and rehabilitation of historic buildings.

Federal Rehabilitation offers a 20 percent tax credit to certified rehabilitation of commercial buildings 50 years or older listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

These applications go through the Alabama Historic Commission before being sent to the National Park Service for approval.

Chloe Mercer of the state historic commission said her office will process all applications within 30 days, but the process of getting approval could be much longer depending on the National Park Service.

Mercer said during the application process, the AHC will determine if the building and rehabilitation plans qualify for the tax credit.

Historic property also is eligible for a property tax reduction from the state.

ciera.golliver@decaturdaily.com or 2563402462. Twitter @cieragolliver

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