Section 40-9F-3Standards for approval; application, rehabilitation plan; review; certification; tax credit certification; fees; report to Legislature.
(a) The commission shall develop standards for the approval of the substantial rehabilitation of qualified structures for which a tax credit is sought. The standards shall take into account whether the substantial rehabilitation of a qualified structure is consistent with the historic character of the structure or of the Registered Historic District in which the property is located.
(b) Prior to beginning any substantial rehabilitation work on a qualified structure, the owner shall submit an application and rehabilitation plan to the commission and an estimate of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures under the rehabilitation plan; provided, however, that the owner, at its own risk, may incur qualified rehabilitation expenditures no earlier than six months prior to the submission of the application and rehabilitation plan that are limited to architectural, engineering, and land surveying fees and related soft costs and any costs related to the protection of the qualified structure from deterioration.
(c) The commission shall review the application and rehabilitation plan to determine that the information contained therein is complete. If the commission determines that the application and rehabilitation plan are complete, the commission shall reserve for the benefit of the owner an allocation for a tax credit as provided in Section 40-9F-4 and the commission shall notify the owner in writing of the amount of the reservation. The reservation of tax credits does not entitle the owner to an issuance of tax credits until the owner complies with all other requirements of this chapter for the issuance of the tax credits. The reservation of tax credits shall be made by the commission in the order in which completed applications and rehabilitation plans are received by the commission, and the reservation of tax credits shall be issued by the commission within a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days from the filing of a completed application and rehabilitation plan. Applications received by the commission on the same day shall go through a lottery process to determine the order in which the applications will be reviewed by the commission. Only the property for which a property address, legal description or other specific location is provided in the application shall be reviewed. Ownership of an entity that is the owner of property contained in the application shall not be a factor in the commission's review of the application and no subsequent change in the ownership structure of such entity shall result in the loss or rescission of a reservation of tax credits. The owner shall not be permitted to request the review of another property for approval in the place of the property contained in the application. Any application disapproved by the commission shall be removed from the review process, and the commission shall notify the owner in writing of the decision to remove the application. Disapproved applications shall lose their priority in the review process. A disapproved application may be resubmitted, but shall be deemed to be a new submission for purposes of the priority procedures described in this section and may be charged a new application fee. In the event that the commission grants reservations for tax credits equal to the total amount available for reservations during the tax year, all owners with applications then awaiting approval or thereafter submitted for approval shall be notified by the commission that no additional approvals shall be granted during that tax year and shall be notified of the priority number given to the owner's application then awaiting approval. The applications shall remain in priority status for two years from the date of the original application and shall be considered for reservations of tax credits in the priority order established in this section in the event that additional credits become available due to the rescission of approvals or when a new tax year's allocation of tax credits becomes available.
Owners receiving a reservation of tax credits shall commence rehabilitation, if rehabilitation has not previously begun, within 18 months of the date of issuance of the written notice from the commission to the owner granting the reservation of tax credits. "Commencement of rehabilitation" shall mean that, as of the date in which actual physical work contemplated by the rehabilitation plan submitted with the application has begun, the owner has incurred no less than 20 percent of the estimated costs of rehabilitation provided in the application. Owners receiving a reservation of tax credits shall submit evidence of compliance with the provisions of this subsection. If the commission determines that an owner has failed to comply with the requirements provided under this section, the reservation of tax credits for the owner may be rescinded and, if so, the amount of tax credits shall then be included in the total amount of available tax credits provided for in subsection (c) of Section 40-9F-4, from which reservations may be granted. Any owner whose reservation of tax credits shall be rescinded shall be notified of the rescission from the commission and, upon receipt of the notice, may submit a new application but may be charged a new application fee.
(d) Following the completion of a substantial rehabilitation of a qualified structure, the owner shall notify the commission that the substantial rehabilitation has been completed and shall certify the qualified rehabilitation expenditures incurred with respect to the rehabilitation plan. In addition, the owner shall provide the commission with: (i) a cost and expense certification, prepared by a licensed certified public accountant that is not an affiliate of the owner, certifying the total qualified rehabilitation expenditures and the total amount of tax credits against any state tax due that is specified in this chapter for which the owner is eligible under Section 40-9F-4 and, if the qualified rehabilitation expenditures exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000), the cost and expense certification must be audited by the licensed certified public accountant; and (ii) an appraisal of the qualified structure prepared by an independent MAI designated and licensed real estate appraiser. The commission shall review the documentation of the rehabilitation and verify its compliance with the rehabilitation plan. Within 90 days after receipt of the foregoing documentation from the owner, the commission shall issue a tax credit certificate in an amount equivalent to the lesser of: (i) the amount of the tax credit reservation issued for the project under the provisions of subsection (c), or (ii) 25 percent of the actual qualified rehabilitation expenditures for certified historic structures and 10 percent of the actual qualified rehabilitation expenditures for qualified pre-1936 non-historic structures. In the event the amount of qualified rehabilitation expenditures incurred by the owner would result in the issuance of an amount of tax credits in excess of the amount of tax credits reserved for the owner under subsection (c), the owner may apply to the commission for issuance of tax credits in an amount equal to the excess. Applications for issuance of tax credits in excess of the amount of tax credits reserved for the owner shall be made on a form prescribed by the commission and shall represent a separate certificate that shall be issued, subject to all provisions regarding priority provided in this section.
(e) In order to obtain a credit against any state tax due that is specified in this chapter, a taxpayer shall file the tax credit certificate with the taxpayer's Alabama state tax return.
(f) The department shall grant a tax credit against any state tax due that is specified in this chapter to a taxpayer holding the tax credit certificate issued under subsection (d) or, in the case of a transferee, issued by the department pursuant to Section 40-9F-4(e) against any tax due under Chapters 16 and 18 in the amount stated on the tax credit certificate. The department shall have the right to audit and to reassess any credit improperly obtained by the owner, in accordance with the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and the Uniform Revenue Procedures contained in Chapter 2A; provided, however that only the owner initially awarded the tax credit certificate, and not any subsequent transferee of the tax credit certificate or person to whom tax credits have been passed through pursuant to Section 40-9F-4(d), shall be liable for any credit improperly obtained by the owner.
(g) For processing the taxpayer’s application for a tax credit, the commission may impose reasonable application fees of up to one percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenses but not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(h) The commission shall, in consultation with the department, report to the Legislature in the third year following passage of this chapter, and annually thereafter, on the overall economic activity, usage, and impact to the state from the substantial rehabilitation of qualified structures for which tax credits have been allowed.
(Act 2013-241, p. 579, §3; Act 2014-452, §1.)