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NH Barn owners can receive tax breaks for historic preservation

CONCORD, N.H., March 26, 2019 – Farmers and other barn owners who wish to apply for the state’s barn tax incentive program in 2019 must submit their application by April 15, 2019.

 

The state law RSA 79-D authorizes towns and cities to grant property tax relief of 25 to 75 percent to barn owners who can demonstrate the public benefit of preserving their barn or other older farm buildings. To qualify, barn owners must agree to maintain the buildings throughout a minimum 10-year preservation easement.

North Country Farm Sandwich BT

Renewal applications will also be due for current easement holders whose 10-year easements went into effect in 2009. These easements will expire on March 31, 2019 unless a renewal application is received by the April 15th deadline. Property taxes on the relevant structures may then increase unless the easements are renewed. 

 

A growing number of towns and cities across New Hampshire are participating in the state’s tax incentive program to encourage historic barn preservation. The most recent communities to join the program include Andover, Canaan, Danville, Goshen, Newmarket and Stratford.

 

By the end of 2018, data collected by the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration indicated that 96 communities had enrolled 567 historic agricultural structures in the program—a 2% increase over 2017.

 

The towns of Freedom, Sandwich, Deerfield, Plainfield and Kensington lead the state in the number of structures protected by the barn tax incentive. Other communities that protected between 10 and 15 structures under the program include Alton, Candia, Concord, Cornish, Fitzwilliam, Henniker, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lee, Loudon, Lyme, Marlborough, Moultonborough, New Boston, North Hampton, Stratham and Weare.

 

“We are encouraged that six new towns are participating in this program,” said Beverly Thomas, program director at the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. “People across the state and their municipal leaders understand the significance of these historic structures, the opportunities to continue to use them in creative ways, and the value these barns bring to the scenic landscape of their communities.”

Carl Schmidt, chair of the N.H. Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee, is pleased with the program’s growth but wishes more people and towns would take advantage of the tax incentive program. He urges barn preservation advocates and members of localhistoric and heritage commissions to learn about and guide their local selectboards andcity councilsin the use of this valuable tool for historic preservation.

 

“This important tool is still under-utilized,” Schmidt says, “and I hope more barn owners and municipalities embrace this opportunity to help save an essential part of our state’s character.”

Applications for the program can be obtained from local town offices or downloaded from the Preservation Alliance’s website at www.nhpreservation.org. Applications are also available at www.revenue.nh.gov/forms/2010/documents/pa-36a.pdf. For more information about the program, contact the N.H. Preservation Alliance at (603) 224-2281 or Carl Schmidt at (603) 353-9307.  

 

The N.H. Division of Historical Resources and the N.H. Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee work with the Preservation Alliance to provide barn assessment grants, publications, tours and workshops, an information network, and a voluntary survey program.

 

The N.H. Historic Agricultural Structures Advisory Committee was established by state legislation in 1999 to support the preservation of the state’s historic barns and agricultural structures. The committee is comprised of representatives from state agencies, non-profit organizations and agricultural leaders.


The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance strengthens communities and stimulates local economies by encouraging the protection and revival of historic buildings and places. Learn more at www.nhpreservation.org.