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State Historic Preservation Income Tax Credits

Colorado offers a state income tax credit to property owners for preservation and rehabilitation work on designated historic properties. 

Denver Landmark Preservation staff processes state income tax credit applications for historic properties within the City and County of Denver. Owners are advised to obtain appropriate tax advice to ensure that all requirements are met. 

New in 2015

The Colorado General Assembly enacted changes to the state tax credit program in 2014 that will affect both residential and commercial projects starting October 1, 2015. For an overview of the programs and how to determine which is best for your project, see the Tax Credit Programs handout (PDF). 

Residential Projects Commercial Projects

The tax credit for residential projects will remain at 20% of the qualified rehabilitation costs up to a maximum $50,000 credit per qualified property for a ten year period. 

WHAT HAS CHANGED:

  • The application (PDF)
  • The list of applicable projects 
  • Some requirements
  • Part II Application fees no longer apply* 

See the Historic Preservation Income Tax Credit - Residential Program Customer Guide (PDF) or read instructions below for more information.

*NOTE: Only for projects granted Part I Application approval AFTER October 1, 2015. Residential projects with Part I Application approval granted BEFORE October 1, 2015 will be subject to Part II Application fees, as listed in the Traditional Tax Credit Program Guide (PDF).                                                                                                                                                 

WHAT HAS CHANGED:

Commercial applicants may opt for one of two programs:

(1) The historic preservation income tax credit program administered by the City and County of Denver, which offers a tax credit at 20% of the qualified rehabilitation costs of a project up to a maximum $50,000 credit per qualified property. See the Historic Preservation Income Tax Credit - Denver Commercial Program Customer Guide (PDF) or read instructions below for more information.

(2) A new program for commercial projects administered by the State of Colorado, which offers up to a 25% credit and a higher maximum credit. For information on this program, visit the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade website

Is a Certificate of Appropriateness required?

Projects that involve changes to the exterior of landmark structures or properties in historic landmark districts may require review by Landmark Preservation staff or the Landmark Preservation Commission before you begin construction. Contact Landmark Preservation staff if you are unsure if design review is required for your project.

If your tax credit project does require design review, we encourage you to complete the design review process and obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness before submitting your application for the applicable tax credit program. 

Applications for either of the Denver-administered tax credit programs will not be considered complete until a Certificate of Appropriateness has been issued for any applicable exterior work included in the tax credit project.

Visit the Design Review web page for information on the design review process and how to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Residential Properties

(1) Properties must be at least 50 years old and historically designated by one of the following: 

  • National Register of Historic Places 
  • Colorado State Register
  • City and County of Denver - designated as an individual landmark, or as a "contributing" property (historic property) in a designated historic district. (See landmark map to determine the status of your property. If you are unsure if your property is a "contributing" property in a historic district, contact Landmark Preservation staff.)

(2) Applicants must be owners of the property or tenants with leases of five or more years

(3) Projects must involve physical preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of historic buildings. A project can include multiple work items.

(4) Eligible work can only include what is listed in the Historic Preservation Income Tax Credit - Residential Program Customer Guide (PDF) in the section "Qualified Expenses." If the type of work is not listed in the guide, it is not eligible for tax credits. 

Landmark Preservation staff can also help you determine if work items are eligible.

(5) Projects must preserve the historic character of the property and  meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Landmark Preservation staff and the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission will review your application to ensure that these standards are met.

(6) Rehabilitation costs must be over $5,000. 

You can reach the $5,000 minimum through one work item or multiple smaller work items.

(7) If the project is a Denver landmark or located in a locally-designated historic district, all exterior work items must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness.  

See Design Review page to learn how to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness.

(8) Projects should not be underway at time of application.

While the tax credit rules technically allow applicants to apply for the program if work has started within 24 months prior to project application, application submittal does not guarantee project approval. Applicants who submit an application after beginning work run the risk of project disapproval if program requirements are not met.

Submit your completed application (see submission instructions at the bottom of this page) and pay the required fee prior to beginning work.

Landmark Preservation staff will review the application within ten days and contact you if the application is incomplete or if additional information is needed to complete the review. In some cases, Landmark Preservation staff will need to perform a site visit to review the proposed scope of work.

Once a Part I application has been received and reviewed, Landmark Preservation staff will place the item on the next available agenda of the Landmark Preservation Commission for approval. The applicant is notified of the approval status within 90 days (typically within 45 days) of receipt of a complete application.

Once LPC approval is granted, work can proceed.

For residential projects with Part I Applications approved AFTER October 1, 2015: There is no deadline to complete the project.

For residential projects with Part I Applications approved BEFORE October 1, 2015: The project must be completed within 24 months of the Part I tax credit approval (note that one extension up to 24 months may be obtained under certain conditions). The Part II Application also must be submitted to Landmark Preservation within 60 days of completion of the project.   

For residential projects with Part I Applications approved BEFORE October 1, 2015:
For residential projects with Part I Applications approved BEFORE October 1, 2015:

(1) Ensure that work detailed in Part II applications matches the scope submitted in the Part I application.

(2) Complete and submit Part II application. (See submission instructions at the bottom of this page.)

NOTE: Projects that were granted Part I Application approval BEFORE October 1, 2015 must pay the applicable fee when submitting the Part II Application, according to the fee table in the Traditional Tax Credit Program Guide (PDF). For projects granted approval AFTER October 1, 2015, no Part II Application fees apply.                    

(3) Landmark Preservation staff will review Part II application within ten days. 

Staff will notify applicants if the application is incomplete or if additional information is needed to complete the review. In some cases, Landmark Preservation staff will need to perform a site visit to review the proposed scope of work.

(4) Once a complete Part II application is received, Landmark Preservation staff will place the item on the next available agenda of the Landmark Preservation Commission for approval.   

(5) Landmark Preservation staff issues final certificate of approval or disapproval.

Once applicant receives tax credit certificate from Landmark Preservation staff, applicant must file the tax credit with the State of Colorado to offset taxes due in year of tax credit approval. 

The property owner is responsible for requesting tax credits by submitting Form 104CR to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The approval certificate issued by Landmark Preservation staff must be attached to your Colorado income tax return.

PLEASE NOTE: If a property owner obtains tax credits, and then sells the property within five years of project completion, the state will require that a portion of the credit be recaptured.

Applicants are advised to obtain the necessary tax and legal advice to ensure that they qualify for the state income tax credit.

For more information, contact Landmark Preservation staff atlandmark@denvergov.org or 720-865-2709.  Additional information on state income tax credits can be found at the History Colorado website.

 

Commercial Properties

(1) Properties must be at least 50 years old and historically designated by one of the following: 

  • National Register of Historic Places 
  • Colorado State Register
  • City and County of Denver - designated as an individual landmark, or as a "contributing" property (historic property) in a designated historic district. (See landmark map to determine the status of your property. If you are unsure if your property is a "contributing" property in a historic district, contact Landmark Preservation staff.)

(2) Applicants must be owners of the property or tenants with leases of five or more years

(3) Projects must involve physical preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of historic buildings. A project can include multiple work items.

(4) Eligible costs include but are not limited to carpentry, plaster, painting, ceilings, fixtures, door and window repairs, fire sprinklers, roofing, exterior repairs, attic insulation, and tuckpointing of brick.

Applications cannot include the costs of the following:

  • Soft costs, such as architectural and engineering fees, acquisition costs, building permit and inspection fees, insurance, temporary power, etc.
  • Routine or periodic maintenance, such as routine painting 
  • Repairs to outbuildings less than 50 years old
  • New construction, as well as repairs to additions that were built after a property received historic designation
  • Interior furnishings
  • Grading, paving, landscaping work

Other costs not listed here may be ineligible. Landmark Preservation staff can help you determine if work items are eligible.

(5) Projects must preserve the historic character of the property and  meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Landmark Preservation staff and the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission will review your application to ensure that these standards are met.

(6) Rehabilitation costs must be over $5,000. 

You can reach the $5,000 minimum through one work item or multiple smaller work items.

(7) If the project is a Denver landmark or located in a locally-designated historic district, all exterior work items must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness.  

See Design Review page to learn how to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness.

(8) Projects should not be underway at time of application.

While the tax credit rules technically allow applicants to apply for the program if work has started within 24 months prior to project application, application submittal does not guarantee project approval. Applicants who submit an application after beginning work run the risk of project disapproval if program requirements are not met.

Submit your completed application (see submission instructions at the bottom of this page) and pay the required fee prior to beginning work.

Landmark Preservation staff will review the application within ten days and contact you if the application is incomplete or if additional information is needed to complete the review. In some cases, Landmark Preservation staff will need to perform a site visit to review the proposed scope of work.

Once a Part I application has been received and reviewed, Landmark Preservation staff will place the item on the next available agenda of the Landmark Preservation Commission for approval. The applicant is notified of the approval status within 45 days of receipt of a complete application.

Once LPC approval is granted, work can proceed.

Work must be done within 24 months from the date of Part I application approval ("construction period").

If work cannot be completed within the 24 month construction period, the applicant can request one extension, adhering to the following:

  • The written request must be filed prior to the end of the 24 month construction period.
  • The request must include "a showing of good cause" for the extension.

Landmark Preservation will review request and notify applicants if the extension is granted. 

(1) Ensure that work detailed in Part II applications matches the scope submitted in the Part I application.

(2) Complete and submit part II application within 60 days of project completion, and pay applicable fee if required. See Customer Guide for fee table. (See submission instructions at the bottom of this page.)

(3) Landmark Preservation staff will review Part II application within ten days. 

Staff will notify applicants if the application is incomplete or if additional information is needed to complete the review. In some cases, Landmark Preservation staff will need to perform a site visit to review the proposed scope of work.

(4) Once a complete Part II application is received, Landmark Preservation staff will place the item on the next available agenda of the Landmark Preservation Commission for approval.   

(5) Landmark Preservation staff issues final certificate of approval or disapproval.

Since 2011, the availability of the Colorado Historic Preservation Tax Credit in any given year has been contingent upon whether the state anticipates a revenue surplus for that year. In years when the tax credit is unavailable, property owners can claim the tax credit in the first year that it becomes available again.  

The property owner is responsible for requesting tax credits by submitting Form 104CR or Form 112CR to the Colorado Department of Revenue. The approval certificate issued by Landmark Preservation staff must be attached to your Colorado income tax return.

PLEASE NOTE: If a property owner obtains tax credits, and then sells the property within five years of project completion, the state will require that a portion of the credit be recaptured.

Applicants are advised to obtain the necessary tax and legal advice to ensure that they qualify for the state income tax credit.

For more information, contact Landmark Preservation staff at landmark@denvergov.org or 720-865-2709.  Additional information on state income tax credits can be found at the History Colorado website.

 

Submit Your Application

Complete the required application and submit application and fee by mail or in person.  

Mail In Person Email

Landmark Preservation
201 W. Colfax Ave. 
Dept. 205
Denver, CO 80202

All hard copy applications must be a size and format that may be easily scanned. Hard copies should be clipped or stapled. Please no binders or plastic covers.

Records Counter
2nd floor Webb Municipal Building
201 W. Colfax Ave.
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday          

All hard copy applications must be a size and format that may be easily scanned. Hard copies should be clipped or stapled. Please no binders or plastic covers.                                                                                               

landmark@denvergov.org

Electronic submission must include no more than three attachments: (1) application form, (2) photos, and (3) supporting. Combined file size for all attachments cannot exceed 25 MB.

NOTE: All materials submitted with your application become the property the City and County of Denver. 
The materials are part of public record, can be used in a public hearing, and cannot be returned.

 
Contact Us

Landmark Preservation Office:
720-865-2709
landmark@denvergov.org

Permit counter hours and location:
9 - 11 a.m., Monday - Friday
or by appointment