Top Massachusetts Brownfield Tax Credit Firm – Yet Again!
For the sixth consecutive year, Cooperstown Environmental LLC is the top consulting firm in Massachusetts Brownfield Tax Credit awards, according to official statistics released by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR).
Once again, most recipients of the state’s Brownfield tax credit were clients of Cooperstown, as reported in the state’s 2016 Tax Credit Transparency Report, released late last year. This annual report shows that more than half of the approved applications were completed by the firm, as has been true every year since the state began releasing these statistics. Cooperstown’s market position as the top firm in the Brownfield Tax Credit arena is long-standing.
The latest version of the report from DOR – the 2016 Massachusetts Tax Credit Transparency Report – once again confirms Cooperstown’s dominance in this niche. The disclosure report has been issued annually since a 2010 law passed requiring the publication of the names of the recipients of all Massachusetts tax credits. The firm has prepared and submitted applications for most of the certificates issued since 2006 – we have more successful credit applications than all others combined.
The statistics in this year’s report confirm the delays in reviews of the applications that we have noted in our practice. According to the report, DOR approved only 5 of the Brownfield tax credit applications that were submitted in 2016, with the others either denied or yet to be reviewed. Unofficially, DOR has stated that they are working through a backlog of applications from prior years, so the 2016 applications for the most part have yet to be completed.
The reduction in approved credits, however, continues a trend of generally fewer approvals each year over the past five years. DOR’s official statistics, which were updated in September 2017, show 5 approvals for 2016 applications, 46 approvals for 2015 applications, 44 approvals for 2014 applications, 59 approvals for 2013 applications, 64 approvals for 2012 applications, and 84 approvals for 2011 applications.
James T. Curtis, President of Cooperstown Environmental LLC, stated, “Our clients’ factor this important credit program into their project budgets and financing arrangements when assessing whether to develop a site with environmental contamination. DOR’s slowdown in reviewing these applications, as documented by the Tax Transparency Report, is impacting many developers. We hope the program can regain momentum.” Curtis also pointed out the advantage of enlisting the support of an experienced firm when seeking these credits.
Developers, not-for-profit organizations, property owners, and others throughout Massachusetts benefit from this vital tool, which can make the difference and turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ when looking at borderline sites. The Massachusetts House of Representatives recently voted to extend this program for five additional years, acknowledging how useful the program is at encouraging economic development and environmental benefits.
Cooperstown Environmental LLC is an Andover-based Licensed Site Professional (LSP) and environmental engineering consulting firm that was a pioneer in the Brownfields tax credit market. In addition to providing LSP Services and Brownfield Tax Credit consulting and advisory services, the firm purchases Brownfields tax credits and provides brokering services.
The Massachusetts Brownfields Tax Credit program was created in 1998 to help spur the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated commercial and industrial properties throughout the state. It offers a rebate, in the form of a tax credit, of up to half the cost of responding to contamination in economically distressed areas. Only property owners who are “Eligible Persons” – which the law defines as parties who did not cause or contribute to the contamination nor who owned or operated the property at the time of the contamination – can recover a portion of their costs.