Tax Incentives For Downtowns and Village Centers

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Historic Pittsfield

 Downtown Pittsfield, NH has adopted RSA 79-E

Community Revitalization Tax Incentive RSA 79-E is a state law that encourages investment in downtowns and village centers. It provides a tax incentive for the rehabilitation and active use of under-utilized commercial buildings and, in so doing, aims to promote strong local economies and smart, sustainable growth as an alternative to sprawl. The tax incentive must be adopted at the local level before it can be offered to property-owners.

Any city or town may adopt this program with the majority vote of its legislative body. Once RSA 79-E is adopted locally, a property owner who wants to substantially rehabilitate a building located in a downtown or village center may apply to the local governing body. If approved, the property owner receives a period of relief from increased property taxes, usually 5 years. In exchange, the property owner grants a covenant for a certain period of years ensuring there is continuing public benefit to the rehabilitation.

Note: A 2009 legislative amendment extended the community revitalization tax relief under RSA 79-E to apply to replacements of qualifying structures. Previously, the incentive was available only for rehabilitation of existing structures and the law contained provisions to ensure that the incentive would not used to replace structures that had significant historic, cultural architectural value. In a municipality that already has adopted the provisions of RSA 79-E, the incentive can now be available to replacement structures only if the municipality re-adopts the chapter in its entirety or adopts the provisions regarding replacement structures. (Thanks to the N.H. Local Government Center for this summary.)

Download these two information sheets for details on this important preservation planning tool: Page 1    Page 2  (both are PDFs)