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History in the Making

Tax program gives back to historic fixer-uppers

You'll find them scattered throughout America's older neighborhoods, historic districts and rural stretches-historic homes that have found new life among preservationists and at-home workers.

And unbeknownst to many, the federal government is lending a helping hand to people who undertake the task of reviving these pieces of American history. The federal Historic Renovation Tax Credit program provides a 20-percent tax credit against current or future tax liabilities for money spent on renovating a registered historic structure. The only caveat: The properties must be income-generating, meaning anything from a warehouse to a retail shop to a home office may qualify.

Since 1976, some $21.8 billion has been spent under the program to renovate more than 28,000 historic properties nationwide, says Michael Auer, a program administrator with the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program, which is part of the National Park Service in Washington, DC.

Journalist and author Jeff Zbar has worked from home since the 1980s. He writes about home business, teleworking, marketing, communications and other SOHO issues.

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