CPAs Can Offer Cost-Saving Advice for Historic Tax Credits

Proponents of Missouri’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program rejoiced back in May of last year when a proposed economic development bill that would have reduced the state-wide historic tax credit cap from $140 million to $90 million died during a legislative session. However, while this bill failed to live another day, the discussion of cutting state taxes continued.  Now, almost a year later, it appears that a tax cut compromise between Senator Will Kraus and Governor Jay Nixon may soon be unveiled, which has a strong possibility of being signed into law by the governor. Among the details of this tax cut compromise, you guessed it, a reduction of the available historic preservation tax credits to $90 million annually. While this news will come as a disappointment to developers and property owners who participate in historic property redevelopments, the fact remains that these tax credits still exist, albeit possibly on a smaller scale.

One reality that remains unchanged is that the Missouri Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a large incentive for owners of certified historic structures to rehabilitate those buildings which increases their return on investment of the projects. For more information on the program itself, visit a previous Anders blog on the topic: http://anderscpa.com/historic-tax-credits/.

Another strategy to increase the return on investment from these projects is to control project expenses. Project participants are sometimes surprised to find out that one of the requirements of the historic tax credit program is that a CPA must perform an examination of the project expenditures list. Depending on the project size and documentation organization, the fee range for these examinations can vary significantly. Frequently, project participants speak with historic tax credit application consultants up front, but do not consult with the CPAs examining the projects until after the renovation project is completed.

A little known fact is that meeting for a few hours at the inception of the project with the CPA, who will perform the examination is crucial to reducing the final CPA examination fees.  Additionally, it makes for a much smoother examination process. CPA’s knowledgeable in the historic tax credit project arena can provide invaluable cost saving advice such as:

  1. How to develop and format the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s (DED) prescribed EXP-Form to summarize project costs.
  2. How to organize invoices and bank statements to cut down on CPA examination time.
  3. Helping to identify what costs are qualified versus non-qualified according to the DED’s guidelines.
  4. Identifying what tasks project participants can complete on their end before giving the project to their CPA for examination to avoid the CPA performing administrative tasks that add to the examination fees.
  5. Providing tips and advice on how to maximize total qualified costs so that no dollar in credits is wasted.

For more information on how to reduce your CPA examination fees, and keep more money in your pocket, contact a member of Anders’ Historic Tax Credit Team before you begin your next project. Also, stay tuned to the Anders blog for more information on the proposed Missouri tax cut bills as the legislative session continues.