Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Historic Barns


The Barn Restoration program was created in 2000 to help preserve historic barns and protect agricultural landscapes throughout New York. OPRHP has actively participated with the Department of Taxation & Finance in developing the barn preservation income tax credit program.

In order to qualify for an income tax credit equal to 25% of the cost of rehabilitating historic barns the following rules apply:

  • it must be a barn (defined as being built to house farm equipment, livestock or agricultural products). Buildings built for or converted to residential use are not eligible.
  • the barn must meet the tax definition of income-producing (farming, rental, office, commercial).
  • it must have been built or placed in agricultural service before 1936. Please note that Register-listed barns built after 1936 do not qualify for the New York State Historic Barns Tax Credit, even though they are officially designated as historic.
  • the rehabilitation cannot "materially alter the historic appearance" of the barn. That is it cannot change or destroy the important characteristics that make the building identifiable as a historic barn.
  • only costs incurred after January 1, 1997 are eligible.

For barns built before 1936 that are not listed on the State Register of Historic Places, the owner will self-certify the work on the tax form. For properties listed individually or as contributing components of listed districts, the owner must submit the project to OPRHP for certification. This form will be similar to that used for the Federal Investment Tax Credit, however there will be no processing fee and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards will not be used. Owners who choose to meet the Standards as well may qualify for an additional income tax credit of 20% under the federal program.
In a section unrelated to the income tax credit, the law also enables local municipal governments to enact property tax abatement programs to phase in the increased assessed value of barns that are rehabilitated under this program.) The Taxation & Finance rules were released on October 27, 1997. Copies can be obtained from that agency. For additional information on the program and technical guidance on appropriate treatments for historic barns, contact this office.

In order to claim the Historic Barns Credit, Corporation taxpayers should use Schedule B-2 on Form CT-46, Claim for Investment Tax Credit; Personal Income taxpayers should use Parts I, II and III on Form IT-212-ATT, Credit for Rehabilitation of a Historic Barn and Instructions.


State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) - The SHPO is part of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The SHPO administers a number of programs of interest or possible benefit to barn owners, including the National Register (often a pre-requisite for financial incentive programs), the Federal Investment Tax Credit for certified rehabilitation of historic structures, the state preservation matching grants, and the Certified Local Government program. The Bureau also provides technical advice on repair and rehabilitation problems.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
State Historic Preservation Office
P.O. Box 189
Waterford, NY 12188-0189
Phone (518) 237-8643. FAX (518) 233-9049

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Taxpayer Services Division - Administers the investment tax credit under Article 9-A (business corporation franchise tax) and Article 22 (the personal income tax.) and produced "A Credit For Rehabilitation of Historic Barns" [TSB-M-97 (5)C for corporation tax; TSB-M-97(1)I for personal income tax].

NYS Legislative Commission on Rural Resources - The commission is a joint, bi-partisan agency in the State Legislature. The commission publishes "Rural Futures: News of Interest about Rural NY". This newsletter includes regular updates on new state laws affecting rural areas, news, publications, and grants.
NYS Legislative Commission on Rural Resources
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247

BARN AGAIN! - This program is jointly sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Successful Farming magazine. Together they have prepared and distribute publications and instructional videos, and sponsors an annual awards program that carries a small cash prize.
Barn Again!, National Trust for Historic Preservation
910 16th St., Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80202
Phone (303) 623-1504. FAX (303) 623-1508

  • Information Series, No. 46, 1989: Using Old Farm Buildings. An illustrated guide to options for reuse of farm buildings for new/modern farm uses. $6 from BARN AGAIN!
  • Barn Aid Series Number 1: Barn Foundations. Evaluation of typical problems, recommended treatments and "Foundation Repair Checklist". $5 from BARN AGAIN!
  • Barn Aid Series Number 2: New Spaces for Old Places. Suggestions for interior alterations that allow continued farming use with modern equipment. "Tips for working with contractors." $5 from BARN AGAIN!
  • Barn Aid Series Number 3: Barn Exteriors and Painting. Repair needs, paint failure problems, how to get a good paint job and what paint to choose. Answers the age-old question of "Why are barns red?" $5 from BARN AGAIN!

Preservation League of New York State - The statewide not-for-profit membership organization devoted to the broad range of preservation issues in New York, including legislation, funding sources and advocacy.
44 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206-3002
Phone (518) 462-5658
FAX (518) 462-5684