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Historic Tax Credit Applications Exceed Amount of Credits Available

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Dare we say it–applications for the new historic preservation tax credits have exceeded more than what the state can offer. Although the limited budget is unfortunate (with 34.5 million available), the upside is that efforts to revitalize our city remains a great interest for developers and business owners. The state only began accepting applications on Thursday, August 1st.

Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan, recognizes that the overflow of candidates was unexpected: “In reopening the historic-tax-credit program, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and the General Assembly clearly anticipated that there would be great interest in the program from developers seeking to rehabilitate historic structures in the state, but until now, we did not know precisely how much interest there’d be. I’m pleased to see that 39 projects throughout the state have applied for the credits so far.”

The program received about $19.5 million dollars OVER budget (more than $54 million on August 1st), making the waiting list to be even longer as some applications are still unaccounted for.

So how is the state planning on remedying this situation? A raffle.

According to an article on PBN, the Division of Taxation will hold a raffle at 10am, August 27th, in order to determine the order in which projects will be accepted. The projects will still require an approval from the Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. It’s like forming a queue of potential candidates.

“Those who wind up at the front of the queue will essentially have the right to claim available credits, if their completed applications are approved and they clear the other hurdles,” said Neil Downing, a chief revenue agent with the Division of Taxation. “As a consequence, it’s possible that people at the front of the queue will claim all available credits. But it depends on the size of their project. Or, if some of them drop out, people in the middle of the queue or towards the end of the queue would have a chance.”

How complicated, yet exciting. And the reason is that the state didn’t anticipate how EAGER Rhode Islanders, and other developers, are to take this opportunity when it finally arises. Maybe conducting a poll or survey before budget proposals would’ve been conducive to matching the needs of developers?

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