State Legislative Issues

Illinois State Historic Tax Credit

The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state income-tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures (QREs), not to exceed $3 million, to owners of certified historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitation projects.

The statewide historic tax credit program took effect January 1, 2019. Landmarks Illinois, alongside preservation partners, spent over a decade advocating for this important incentive. The tax credit program is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Illinois Department of Natural Resources. More information on the Illinois Historic Tax Credit Program is available on the SHPO website.

Learn more about the statewide tax credit

River Edge Redevelopment Zone Hisoric Tax Credit

Like the Illinois statewide historic tax credit, the River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Historic Tax Credit provides an income-tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures (QREs). The RERZ credit, however, only applies to five river cities: Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria and Rockford, while the statewide program is available to historic property owners undertaking an eligible rehabilitation project anywhere in Illinois. (Pictured is Prairie Street Brewing Co. in Rockford, a RERZ project. Credit: Liz Chilsen)

Help up advocate for an extension of the RERZ tax credit!

Since the program took effect in 2021, 32 projects representing over $295 million in investment have been completed with the help of RERZ tax credits, with an additional $325 million of projects in planning phases or underway. It is thanks to the RERZ 25% income-tax credit, an industrial building in Rockford is now a hotel, a beloved vacant church is now a brewery in Peoria and a former hospital in Aurora now offers affordable senior housing, for example.

The RERZ program is set to expire at the end of 2021. Illinois Senate Bill 0157 would extend the tax credit another five years. It has passed out of the Illinois Senate and is now in the Illinois House of Representatives. Please contact your State Representative and urge them to co-sponsor SB0157 to extend the RERZ Historic Tax Credit, allowing important reinvestment projects in Illinois to move forward!

Learn more about the RERZ tax credit

Illinois Historic Tax Credits By the Numbers

4

Rounds of Illinois Historic Tax Credit allocations issued so far in Illinois since the program took effect January 1, 2019

5.21.2021:

Date when the first round of 2021 Illinois Historic Tax Credits are announced

38

Qualified preservation projects have applied to receive Illinois Historic Tax Credits

17

Preservation projects awarded Illinois Historic Tax Credits

$30

Million of historic tax credits issued thus far to preservation projects in Illinois (The program allots $15 million per calendar year)

$1.2

Billion worth of Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures (QREs) among all qualified projects that have applied for the tax credit among applicants

32

Preservation projects awarded RERZ Historic Tax Credits

22

Preservation projects in progress that are eligible for RERZ Historic Tax Credits

$63.3 Million

of RERZ Historic Tax Credits issued thus far to preservation projects in Illinois’ five river cities

$322.9 Million

estimated QREs for RERZ Historic Tax Credit-eligible projects in progress

WHY DOES ILLINOIS NEED A STATEWIDE HISTORIC REHABILITATION TAX CREDIT?

A state historic rehabilitation tax credit is critical to create new jobs and leverage private investment in Illinois. Without this tax credit, Illinois risks losing hundreds of redevelopment, investment and job creation opportunities to neighboring states that do have this type of incentive, thereby slowing our overall economic recovery. In the fall of 2013, Landmarks Illinois released a study demonstrating the positive economic return a state historic tax credit would provide for communities and the state. Read the study: “Economic Development Opportunities from an Illinois Historic Tax Credit.”

Further Reading

State HISTORIC TAX CREDIT PROJECT

The Cooperage 214 in Peoria one example of a historic preservation project in Illinois that used the RERZ Historic Tax Credit. The preservation project at the Cooperage 214 transformed a 27,000-square-foot cooperage factory in Peoria’s downtown warehouse district into attractive office space and 18 luxury apartments.

Before Restoration

After Restoration

Before Restoration

After Restoration

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