Tax abatement for historic districts

If you rehabilitate a contributing property in a historic district, you are eligible for a City of Austin tax abatement. The program abates 100% of the City property taxes assessed on the added value of a property that results from the rehabilitation (see table below). Improvements must comply with applicable design standards. Download the tax abatement application (PDF).

Property type Minimum expenditure^ Duration of abatement How often abatement may be granted
Homestead 25% of pre-rehabilitation value of structure 7 years Every 10 years
Income-producing  40% of pre-rehabilitation value of structure 10 years Every 15 years
Homestead in Revitalization Area* 10% of pre-rehabilitation value of structure 10 years Every 15 years
Income-producing in Revitalization Area* 30% of pre-rehabilitation value of structure 10 years Every 15 years

^ At least 5% of the pre-rehabilitation value of the structure (“the improvement”) must be spent on exterior work. The pre-rehabilitation value is determined by the most recent appraisal value of the property by the Travis Central Appraisal District before an abatement application is submitted.

* The Revitalization Area is bounded by Interstate 35 from Manor Road to Riverside Drive, Riverside Drive from Interstate 35 to Highway 71, Highway 71 from Riverside Drive to Highway 183, Highway 183 from Highway 71 to Manor Road, and Manor Road from Highway 183 to Interstate 35.

Tax exemption for historic landmarks

The City of Austin, Travis County, and Austin Independent School District offer an annual tax exemption to owners of historic landmarks. To receive the exemption, you must file an Application for Historic or Archeological Site Property Tax Exemption with the Travis Central Appraisal District between January 1 and April 30 of the year for which you are requesting an exemption. You must also maintain your property to certain standards.

If your property is a homestead that was designated as a landmark after 2004 and/or has changed ownership since 2004, your exemption is capped at $8,500 annually.

 

Grants

If you own a historic property that attracts out-of-town tourists, you can apply for a Heritage Grant. Heritage Grants are for up to $250,000 and can be used for capital work, signage, or planning, marketing, and education projects. Grants are awarded each year. Visit the Heritage Tourism Division website for more information.

Preservation Austin offers grants up to $5,000 for education; brick-and-mortar work; and planning, historic resource surveys, and local historic designation. These grants are awarded quarterly.

 

Energy efficiency incentives

Austin Energy offers rebates and incentives to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Get help with heating, air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, pools, and water heaters. Multifamily properties are eligible for incentives for ENERGY STAR® appliances, high-efficiency lighting, ceiling insulation, cool roofs, and solar shading.

Low-to-moderate income homeowners can get free weatherization improvements such as attic insulation, weather stripping, solar screens, and water-efficient fixtures.

 

State historic tax credits

If you own an income-producing or nonprofit historic property designed at the federal or state level, you can qualify for the 25% Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The state credit can be combined with the federal credit.

 

Federal historic tax credits

If you own an income-producing historic property, you can qualify for a 20% federal historic rehabilitation tax credit. The tax credit can be syndicated upfront for project equity or applied to your tax bill over 7+ years. The federal credit can be combined with the state credit described below.