Tax credits available to repair historic buildings damaged in Utah earthquake

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bricks that fell from the facade of Red Rooster Records in Magna after an earthquake, as seen on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Owners of historic buildings damaged in Utah’s March 18 earthquake could be eligible for rehabilitation tax credits administered by the state Historic Preservation Office.

“Eligible projects might include repairing and bracing historic chimneys, repairing cracked plaster, stucco, or brickwork, or even restoring broken windows,” said Amber Anderson, who manages the state and federal historic tax credit programs.

At least 150 historic buildings in Salt Lake City and Magna were damaged in the magnitude 5.7 quake last month. Particularly hard hit were Magna’s Main Street, the western portion of downtown Salt Lake City and the neighborhood around 500 East and Garfield Avenue.

These programs may provide some relief for property owners when they file their 2020 income tax returns. Approved projects are awarded credits equivalent to 20% to 40% of the costs. These programs do not typically provide any upfront money for rehabilitation projects.

“The two programs do not require repair work to be earthquake-related, but these resources might help those impacted by the earthquake,” Anderson said. “They also cover interior rehabilitation.”

The programs require that properties are historic and the work must meet certain historic preservation standards. Anderson encouraged owners to contact her office before beginning rehabilitation work to learn about the application process. To quickly determine whether a project could be eligible, fill out this Google form.