Historic Preservation funding and other financial incentives can be be divided into three basic categories:
1) Funding for Homeowners restoring a historic house or other structure for their primary residence:
Owners of historic residential properties listed on the Hawaii or National Registersof Historic Places after January 1, 1977 are eligible for tax abatements in all four counties in Hawaii, provided the residence is owner-occupied. Owners who comply with the county guidelines pay the minimum property tax in that county per year. The form and guidelines for Oahu can be found on the Real Property Tax website.
2) Funding for Non-Profit Organizations and Federal, State and Local Government Agencies:
The National Trust Preservation Fund includes funds that provide two types of assistance to nonprofit organizations and public agencies: 1) matching grants from $500 to $5,000 for preservation planning and educational efforts, and 2) intervention funds for preservation emergencies. Matching grant funds may be used to obtain professional expertise in areas such as architecture, archeology, engineering, preservation planning, land-use planning, fund raising, organizational development and law as well as to provide preservation education activities to educate the public.
The Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation provides nonprofit organizations and public agencies grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 for projects that contribute to the preservation or the recapture of an authentic sense of place. Individuals and for-profit businesses may apply only if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. Funds may be used for professional advice, conferences, workshops and education programs.
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors provides nonprofit organizations and public agencies grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to assist in the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic interiors. Individuals and for-profit businesses may apply only if the project for which funding is requested involves a National Historic Landmark. Funds may be used for professional expertise, print and video communications materials, and education programs.
The Peter H. Brink Leadership Fund helps to build the capacity of existing preservation organizations and encourages collaboration among these organizations by providing grants for mentoring and other peer-to-peer and direct organizational development and learning opportunities. The purpose of these grants is to support the leadership and effectiveness of staff and board members of preservation organizations to fulfill their mission and to create a stronger, more effective preservation movement. Grants from the Peter H. Brink Leadership Fund pay for travel costs and honoraria and generally range up to $1,500.
3) Funding for Business Owners seeking to restore income-producing properties:
Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives:
- 20% Rehabilitation Tax Credit applies to any project that the Secretary of the Interior designates a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure (a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places). The credit is available for properties rehabilitated for commercial, industrial, agricultural or rental residential purposes, but is not available to properties used exclusively as the owner’s private residence
- 10% Rehabilitation Tax Credit is available for the rehabilitation of non-historic buildings placed in service before 1936. The credit applies only to buildings rehabilitated for non-residential uses. Rental housing therefore would not qualify for the credit.
Honolulu County Commercial Property Tax Exemption:
- After acceptance into the program, 50 percent of the value of the real property designated as historic is exempt from real property taxes.
- The program was approved to provide an incentive for property owners to maintain and preserve their historic buildings. The intention is to use the property tax savings to supplement capital maintenance and improvements to the buildings.