The National Register is an authoritative guide to be used by Federal, State, and local governments, private groups and citizens to identify the Nation's cultural resources and to indicate what properties should be considered for protection from destruction or impairment. Listing of private property on the National Register does not prohibit under Federal law or regulation any actions which may otherwise be taken by the property owner with respect to the property.
(a) The National Register was designed to be and is administered as a planning tool. Federal agencies undertaking a project having an effect on a listed or eligible property must provide the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment pursuant to section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. The Council has adopted procedures concerning, inter alia, their commenting responsibility in 36 CFR part 800. Having complied with this procedural requirement the Federal agency may adopt any course of action it believes is appropriate. While the Advisory Council comments must be taken into account and integrated into the decisionmaking process, program decisions rest with the agency implementing the undertaking.
(b) Listing in the National Register also makes property owners eligible to be considered for Federal grants-in-aid for historic preservation.
(c) If a property is listed in the National Register, certain provisions of the Tax Reform Act of 1976 as amended by the Revenue Act of 1978 and the Tax Treatment Extension Act of 1980 may apply. These provisions encourage the preservation of depreciable historic structures by allowing favorable tax treatments for rehabilitation, and discourage destruction of historic buildings by eliminating certain otherwise available Federal tax provisions both for demolition of historic structures and for new construction on the site of demolished historic buildings. Owners of historic buildings may benefit from the investment tax credit provisions of the Revenue Act of 1978. The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 generally replaces the rehabilitation tax incentives under these laws beginning January 1, 1982 with a 25% investment tax credit for rehabilitations of historic commercial, industrial and residential buildings. This can be combined with a 15-year cost recovery period for the adjusted basis of the historic building. Historic buildings with certified rehabilitations receive additional tax savings by their exemption from any requirement to reduce the basis of the building by the amount of the credit. The denial of accelerated depreciation for a building built on the site of a demolished historic building is repealed effective January 1, 1982. The Tax Treatment Extension Act of 1980 includes provisions regarding charitable contributions for conservation purposes of partial interests in historically important land areas or structures.
(d) If a property contains surface coal resources and is listed in the National Register, certain provisions of the Surface Mining and Control Act of 1977 require consideration of a property's historic values in the determination on issuance of a surface coal mining permit.