Awards, Grants, Funding

Preserving Iowa's barns is a worthwhile endeavor!

Barn Preservation Awards, Grants, Programs, Funds, and Taxes

Matching Grant.  Owners interested in restoring their barns may apply for a Matching Grant from the Iowa Barn Foundation.

Award of Distinction.  In addition to receiving tax credits, owners who have restored their barn at their own expense may apply for an Award of Distinction.  Award of Distinction icon.

Small Project Grant  (May 6, 2013).  The Iowa Barn Foundation has initiated a new program to highlight and preserve small barns in Iowa with the Small Project Grant.

Special Opportunities Grant  (June 17, 2013).  The Iowa Barn Foundation board has established a special opportunities grant program to help "mothball" a barn until long-term preservation plans can be implemented or to help stabilize a structure because failure to do so will result in a barn's demise.

Financial incentives  (Aug 3, 2015).  Incentives from the Iowa Barn Foundation are now available to barn owners to take advantage of tax credits that are available from the federal government and the state of Iowa.

Information about Iowa Tax Legislation for Barn Restoration.

Information about Federal tax credits for rehabilitating barns and depreciation deductions.

The Farm Conservancy Project supports and encourages agriculture and agricultural practices in Iowa.

The Iowa Barn Endowment Fund was established so that individuals can donate cash, real estate, and securities to the fund.

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Matching Grant - IBF Restoration Grant

The Iowa Barn Foundation has awarded more than 119 matching grants, with a total of over one million dollars to property owners to help them preserve their barns. It is hoped that these grants may save many Iowa barns that otherwise might be lost.

The Iowa Barn Foundation Restoration Grant is aimed at saving good barns in need of repair: a new roof, roof repair, some siding, or a repair of the foundation.

This is a matching grant. Any funds from the Iowa Barn Foundation must be matched by you or another source of funding. There is also an Iowa Barn Foundation Easement Agreement that must be accepted and filed before any grant can be awarded. (The signed easement form will be submitted toward the end of the project).

Besides the completed Restoration Grant Application (typed or printed), also submit photos with your name on the back, bids for the cost of the project, and anything else mentioned on the application form. Nothing will be returned to you.

If you have any questions, please contact the Iowa Barn Foundation. Call or email: Andrea Corcoran   515-326-1232
Email

You can download and print the IBF Grant Guidlines.pdf (PDF) and the IBF Grant Application.pdf (PDF) forms.

To qualify for a Restoration Grant, the barn must be important to the landscape and the community. Some buildings may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places upon completion of work, but most of these barns will receive grants for sealing foundations, new roofs, siding, etc.

Priority will be given to barns in their original site and are of historical significance.

Barns must be 50 years or older and be used for agricultural purposes.

If awarded a grant, work must begin within 1 year and the project completed within 2 years.

Barns must be restored as closely as possible to the original. Metal siding and vinyl/ metal windows are not allowed, and adornments such as quilt block are not permitted. Shingled roofs are preferred, but medal roofs will be permitted if a grey or beige color is used in keeping with the old barn look.

A perpetual easement must be signed. The easement will be filed in the respective county courthouse. This means the easement remains with the barn should the property be sold. The barn cannot be torn down. In fact, it must be kept up. (The signed easement form will be submitted toward the end of the project).

The $25 application fee must be submitted. Make checks payable to the Iowa Barn Foundation. Include your check with your Grant Application.

If your grant is approved, you will be notified.

The Grant checks are written when the ENTIRE project is completed: windows and doors repaired, barn is structurally sound, roof is repaired and barn is painted.

Thank you for your interest in saving your barn and for your interest in the Iowa Barn Foundation.

Note about the National Register of Historic Places designation:
Barn owners who have a preservation project (for instance, if the barn is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places designation, which may play a part in your preservation plans), are encouraged to apply for a grant from the State of Iowa. The State grant is for 75% and can be coupled with a Federal grant of 20%.

An IBF grant for the funds to pay someone to prepare the State grant application is available from the IBF.

For more information about the NRHP, see the National Register of Historic Places Program: Fundamentals web page. Details of their criteria can be seen on the National Register Criteria For Evaluation web page.

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Award of Distinction Award of Distinction icon

The Iowa Barn Foundation give an Award of Distinction to those property owners who restore or rehabilitate their barns at their own expense. Awards of Distinction are given to property owners who take great pride in their barns and by their efforts, enrich Iowa. Eligible barns must be restored as closely as possible to original condition. A plaque is presented to owners of these barns to affix to their buildings. Awards are presented to those property owners whose barns meet these guidelines:

Eligibility

  Structures which meet all of the requirements of, and would be eligible for a grant of funds from the Iowa Barn Foundation, shall be eligible for the Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction.

Nominations

  The owner or owners of record of a structure eligible under the Eligibility guideline hereof may nominate the structure for the Award of Distinction on forms provided by the Iowa Barn Foundation.

Approval

  Upon approval of a structure for the Award of Distinction by the Board of Directors of the Iowa Barn Foundation, a plaque signifying such recognition shall be presented to the owner or owners and shall be affixed to the structure in a prominent location.

Future Commitment

  The owner or owners of a structure which has received the Award of Distinction agree to maintain the structure in the condition existing on the date of receipt of the award. The owner or owners of a structure receiving the award may voluntarily sign and record the standard easement of the Iowa Barn Foundation committing the structure to uses compatible with agricultural use and the owner or owners to maintaining the property. If an easement is not signed and recorded, the Iowa Barn Foundation reserves ownership of the plaque signifying the Award of Distinction and may remove the plaque if the structure suffers significant deterioration in condition.

For more information about the Award of Distinction, contact -

Andrea Corcoran   515-326-1232
Email

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Small Project Grant

The Iowa Barn Foundation initiated a new program (as of May 6, 2013) to highlight and preserve small barns in Iowa.

Owners with barns that qualify will be encouraged to take advantage of Diamond Vogel's 40 percent off the retail price for paint bought by members of the Iowa Barn Foundation (see details below).

In addition, owners will be eligible for a $1000 grant (as of 11-03-2015, up from $500) to go toward paying for preparation before painting.

Small barns will include those whose size does not exceed 2000 square feet.  The barns must be 50 years or older.  Owners must be members of the Iowa Barn Foundation, and the foundation must approve applications including paint color.  Owners do not have to sign the easement that is required on major grants.

If you have any questions, please contact the Iowa Barn Foundation. Call or email: Andrea Corcoran   515-326-1232
Email

Just a reminder about the Diamond Vogel offer.  They are proud to join the effort to preserve Iowa's historic barns and agricultural buildings by offering special pricing on paint and coatings to help protect our important rural heritage.  There is a link to a discount e-coupon on the "Become a Member" page.

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Special opportunities grant program  (June 17, 2013)

The Iowa Barn Foundation board has established a special opportunities grant program to help "mothball" a barn until long-term preservation plans can be implemented or to help stabilize a structure because failure to do so will result in a barn's demise.

Funds will be allocated based on the need for timely and appropriate intervention and only to preserve, save, or rescue barns of remarkable distinction such as a one-of-a-kind or last-of-a-kind structure.

In all cases, an owner's long-term plans for the barn will be considered with highest priority given to restoring a structure to its previous function or to restoring a structure for a function that exposes the public to the importance of barns (or of this specific barn) in the region's history.

For more information, contact Ann Harvey   515-255-5213
Email

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Financial Incentives for Restoring Your Barn  (Aug 3, 2015)

The Iowa Barn Foundation is now providing incentives for barn owners to take advantage of tax credits that are available from the federal government and the state of Iowa.

Submitting a nomination to put your barn on the National Register of Historic Places or applying for State Tax Credits can be challenging for many of us, but the financial benefits are significant.  Your barn qualifies for a tax credit of 20% of a renovation project if it is on the National Register.

The State of Iowa offers a 25% tax credit for barns built prior to 1937.  Please visit the State Historical Society of Iowa's website, the State Historical Society of Iowa's website for qualifying details.

For barn owners to get some help in applying for these programs, the Iowa Barn Foundation is offering a cost share program so you can hire consultants to help you work through the process.

The Iowa Barn Foundation will cost share 50 per cent of the cost of the consultant up to $2500.  Interested parties must submit an application to the Iowa Barn Foundation before hiring a consultant.  This application can be obtained from the Iowa Barn Foundation website. www.iowabarnfoundation.org

Applicants must hire consultants who have been approved by the Association of Iowa Archaeologists or Preservation Iowa.  Cost share payments will be made after completed National Register Nominations and/ or State Tax Credit applications are submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office.  The Iowa Barn Foundation will allocate a given amount of funds to be used for this incentive program.  Once these funds are utilized, any unfunded cost share applications will be considered after the next funding cycle.

The cost for barn renovations can be high.  To counteract this, the Iowa Barn Foundation encourages you to apply for a matching grant to restore your barn, but also strongly consider taking advantage of the tax credits.  If we put all these preservation advantages together, many more of our Iowa barns will remain proud.

If you have questions about this new program from the IBF, please contact Craig Pfantz at cmpfantz@partnercom.net or 641-750-0187.

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Iowa Tax Legislation for Barn Restoration

The Iowa General Assembly, in a bill signed by Governor Tom Vilsack in May 2000, enacted legislation of great interest to those restoring barns and other farm structures. House File 2560 added (1) a property rehabilitation credit against state income tax and (2) a provision exempting from property tax increases in assessed value added by a farm structure built prior to 1937.

The income tax credit

The income tax credit, which is refundable, is available for "eligible property" which includes:

 ⚫ Property listed on the National Register of Historic Places or is eligible for such listing,

 ⚫ Property designated as of historic significance to a district listed in the national register,

 ⚫ A local landmark designated by a city or county ordinance, or

 ⚫ A barn constructed prior to 1937.

The amount of the credit is 25 percent of the "qualified rehabilitation costs" on eligible property. In the case of barns or residential property, the costs must equal at least $25000 or 25 percent of the fair market value of the structure excluding the land, whichever is the less. For commercial property, the rehabilitation costs must equal at least 50 percent of the assessed value of the property, excluding the land, prior to the rehabilitation.

In computing the tax credit, the only costs which may be included are the rehabilitation costs incurred between the period ending on the project completion date and beginning on the later of the date of issuance of approval of the project or two years before the project completion date.

"Qualified rehabilitation costs" include amounts properly includable in computing the income tax basis for the eligible property tax purposes. Architectural fees, site survey fees, legal expenses, insurance premiums, development fees, and other construction-related costs are qualified rehabilitation costs to the extent they are added to the basis of the property. Costs of sidewalks, parking lots, and landscaping do not constitute qualified rehabilitation costs.

The project must receive the approval of the state historic preservation office. The approval process is not to exceed 90 days.

A refunded tax credit cannot exceed 75 percent of the original credit.

Exemption from property tax

Under the same bill, H.F. 2560, the legislature decreed that the increase in assessed value added to a farm structure"for purposes of preserving the integrity of the internal and external features of the structure as a barn" is exempt from property tax. To be eligible for the exemption, the structure must have been first placed in service as a barn prior to 1937. The exemption applies to the assessment year beginning after the completion of the improvements to preserve the structure as a barn.

For this purpose, the term "barn" means "an agricultural structure, in whatever shape or design, which is used for the storage of farm products or feed or for the housing of farm animals, poultry, or farm equipment."

Application for the exemption is to be filed not later than February 1 of the first year for which the exemption is requested. The Department of Revenue and Finance is to provide application forms. Once the exemption is granted, it continues to be granted for subsequent assessment years without further action as long as the structure continues to be used as a barn. The taxpayer is to notify the assessing authority when the structure ceases to be used as a barn.

Future prospects

Passage of H.F. 2560 represents a major step in achieving the Iowa Barn Foundation's legislative goals. Achieving status to receive check-off funds from Iowa income tax forms remains a legislative objective. Work done by the Iowa Barn Foundation's legislative contacts has been enormously important to success of further initiatives in 2001 and future years.

Contributed by Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Professor of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Director for the Center for International Agriculture Finance; Member of the Iowa Bar; charter board member of the Iowa Barn Foundation.

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Federal Tax Incentives for Barn Restoration

Those committed to restoring old barns usually have enough enthusiasm to see the project to its conclusion without tax incentives.  But, there is an income tax credit available to help cover part of the cost.  And there may be depreciation claimable after the restoration.

Rehabilitation credit

A credit is available for rehabilitation expenditures on buildings at least 50 years old in 1986 and buildings that are "certified historic structures."  The credit is equal to 10 percent of expenditures for "qualified rehabilitated buildings" first placed in service before 1936.  This ten percent credit is available only for non-residential property.  A credit offsets calculated tax dollar for dollar so it is considerably more valuable than a deduction against income.

A 20 percent credit is available for certified historic structures (both residential and non-residential buildings) listed on the National Register of Historic Places or are located in a registered historic district and certified as being of historic significance to the district.

For both the 10 percent and 20 percent credits, the income tax basis must be reduced by the amount of the credit claimed, reducing the amount of depreciation that can be claimed on the property.

The credit is generally claimed in the year the property on which the expenditures are made is placed in service.  Buildings must meet several requirements to be eligible.

To be eligible there must be a substantial rehabilitation of the building.  The qualifying expenditures over the tax year and the preceding year must exceed the greater of the taxpayer's adjusted basis in the property or $5000.

For more information about Federal tax credits for rehabilitating barns, go to the National Park Service website and search for Federal Tax Credits.

Depreciation

If a restored or rehabilitated building has a business use, a depreciation deduction may be claimable to the extent of the taxpayer's basis in the property which includes the funds provided by the taxpayer for rehabilitation.  Barns are generally depreciable over 20-years under IRS rules.  If a credit is claimed, depreciation is usually limited to straight line depreciation -- the same allowance each year over the 20-year life.  Otherwise, it may be possible to step up depreciation to one and one-half times the straight line rate.

Contributed by Neil E. Harl, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Professor of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Director for the Center for International Agriculture Finance; Member of the Iowa Bar; charter board member of the Iowa Barn Foundation.

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Iowa Barn Foundation Farm Conservancy

In an expansion of our agricultural preservation efforts, the Iowa Barn Foundation now accepts gifts economically and financially self-sustaining farms and farmland. These farms or farmland will be saved in perpetuity for agricultural purposes according to the owner's wishes. Contributions to the Iowa Barn Foundation's Farm Conservancy Project are deductible for income tax, gift tax, and federal estate tax purposes. You can also donate real estate through the Iowa Barn Foundation's Endowment Fund. The Iowa Barn Foundation board of directors hopes this effort will have a strong and positive effect and help to further agriculture in Iowa and elsewhere.

Kelly Tobin, an Iowa Barn Foundation board member, is chairman of the foundation's Farm Conservancy Project. Kelly, a farmer and farm manager, is past president of the Conservation Districts of Iowa and is a current board member and Region 8 director. He is also a past president of the Iowa State Agriculture Foundation Farms.

The following aspects of the Farm Conservancy Project support and encourage agriculture and agricultural practices in Iowa:

 ⚫ Historic or architecturally interesting houses, barns, and other agricultural buildings on these farms will be preserved and maintained as part of the rural landscape.

 ⚫ Strong soil conservation practices will be encouraged.

 ⚫ Soil fertility will be maintained.

 ⚫ Preference will be given to young and beginning farmers from the respective localities when renting the farms as a way of encouraging young farmers.

 ⚫ Income earned from these farms, beyond that needed by the farms, will go into the preservation of agricultural buildings in the state.

Others on the Farm Conservancy Committee include Craig Pfantz, State Center corn producer; Mary Dunea, Des Moines native from Chicago, who is the daughter of Iowa writer George Mills and who has been active in historic preservation in Canada and the United States; and Jacqueline Andre Schmeal, president of the Iowa Barn Foundation.

The Iowa Barn Foundation will be taking seriously what the donor's wishes are for the land. Those involved know the special relationship many feel for their land and want to be certain those wishes are carried out. That will be the cardinal principle guiding this project. Contributions to the Farm Conservancy Project are deductible for income tax, gift tax, and federal estate tax purposes.

For more information about the Iowa Barn Foundation's Farm Conservancy Project, please contact: Kelly Tobin (712) 585-3369.

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Iowa Barn Foundation Endowment Fund

The Iowa Barn Foundation has established the "Iowa Barn Endowment Fund" so that individuals can donate cash, real estate, and securities to the fund.  Donations are placed in a permanent trust fund where the principal is kept intact and invested.  Income received from investments is used to support the Iowa Barn Foundation's preservation efforts.

Appreciated real estate and securities can be an advantageous gift for a donor to make, as the donor receives an income tax deduction for the value of the appreciated property and does not have to pay income tax on the gain.  Gifts and donations can be made to the Endowment Fund at any time.  You can also make gifts and donations to the Endowment Fund by leaving bequests in a Last Will and Testament to the Endowment Fund.  You can also donate economically and financially self-sustaining farms or farmland through the Iowa Barn Foundation's Farm Conservancy project.

The Iowa Barn Endowment Fund is also available to establish or help establish the use of Charitable Gift Annuities and Charitable Remainder Trusts.  This is a commonly used estate planning method whereby donors can make irrevocable gifts to The Iowa Barn Endowment Fund.  The donor receives an immediate income tax deduction and a regular monthly or annual income payment (called an annuity) for as long as the donor and spouse shall live.  The donors receive a tax deduction and a regular monthly payment along with the knowledge they are helping the Iowa Barn Endowment Fund carry on its purposes.

Tom Lawler is President of the Iowa Barn Foundation and past chair of State Bar Association's Agriculture Committee.  If you have an interest in this fund or questions, please call Tom at 319 346 2650.

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