Growing Write-offs

The number of property owners applying to have their home or commercial building certified as contributing to a designated historical district — a first step for most people planning to donate a facade easement and claim related tax breaks — has increased dramatically in recent years. Preservationists attribute that surge largely to marketing by Washington-based charities and businesses that collect service fees and cash contributions from the easement donors. Since 1995, the National Park Service has certified 1,625 properties; it denied eight applications.

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