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Historic Property Tax Incentives

Joy Sears 
(503) 986-0688
FAX (503) 986-0793 

Mailing Address:
Special Assessment Program
State Historic Preservation Office
725 Summer Street NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

Special Assessment of Historic Property Program 

Financial incentives are important tools in encouraging the preservation of historic buildings.  Established in 1975, Oregon's Special Assessment of Historic Property Program was the nation's first state-level historic preservation tax incentive.  The program specially assesses a property's assessed value for 10 years.  It is most effective when the program is in place prior to any substantial rehabilitation of the property. 
Basic program requirements are as follows:

  • The property must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, either individually or as a contributing property in a historic district, or be considered historic by the State Historic Preservation Officer, and listed within two years of being certified for the benefit program.
  • A preservation plan must be prepared that outlines substantial rehab work the building will undergo during the 10-year period, with emphasis on exterior rehabilitation of the structure.
  • There is an application fee equal to 1/10 of 1% (0.001) of the assessed value.
  • 10% of the total real market value (RMV) of the property must be invested in rehabilitation within the first five years of the program. For most properties, this includes the RMV of both the building (improvements) and the land. 
  • State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) approval or local government approval, which ever is appropriate, is needed for exterior projects, and interior projects of substance.
  • An approved plaque provided by the Oregon SHPO must be installed on the building. 

To receive the maximum benefit, an application should be submitted BEFORE any rehabilitation is undertaken. This helps assure that the specially assessed value is the PRE-rehabilitation value.
Income-producing historic buildings may also qualify for the Federal Tax Credit program

       -- Special note regarding second 10-year term of the Special Assessment benefit --
  • Owners of commercial property are eligible to reapply for a second term without needing local government approval.
  • Owners of residential property are only eligible to reapply for a second term if their local government has not passed an ordinance or resolution PROHIBITING a second term. (Currently, SHPO is unaware of such prohibitions.)
  • The Preservation Plan for a second 10-year term is limited to the following types of projects: energy conservation, ADA compliance, seismic improvements, or sustainability, with an investment that meets or exceeds 10% of the total Real Market Value of the property at time of application. 
Forms and documentation
SHPO is currently updating the Special Assessment Propery Tax program paperwork. Please contact Joy Sears at Joy.Sears@oregon.gov or 503-986-0688 to get the most current forms.
Statutory References
Senate Bill 192 was passed during the 2009 Oregon legislation session; this bill contains revisions to the Special Assessment of Historic Property tax benefit program. The new statute is posted below. 


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