Brownfields Tax Credit 20th Anniversary
The month of August 2018 marks twenty years since the Massachusetts Brownfields Tax Credit was created as part of the “Brownfields Act,” more formally a law (Chapter 206 of the Acts of 1998) with the unwieldy title of An Act Relative to Environmental Cleanup and Promoting the Redevelopment of Contaminated Property.
Originally a little known, poorly-understood program that was one of many new developments in the 1998 law, the tax credit has become a powerful economic incentive that drives cleanups of contaminated sites with the goal of returning them to productive uses. The credit is available only in economically distressed areas (EDAs) to “Eligible Persons” or parties that did not cause or contribute to the contamination. The credit becomes available after a site reaches a Permanent Solution or achieves Remedy Operation Status (ROS) under the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations.
Cooperstown Environmental LLC has been instrumental in promoting the usefulness of the program and helping ensure that developers, not-for-profits, commercial property owners, and others conducting environmental remediation projects in Massachusetts that qualify for the credit are aware of this important incentive. More than $200 million has been returned to owners and operators since 2011.
According to state records, Cooperstown has been the leading firm in filing successful applications for the past seven consecutive years – every year since the state started publishing the statistics. In fact, Cooperstown’s market share has been above 50% in each year, meaning that the firm has filed more successful applications than everyone else combined.
Recently, as part of the Housing Bond Bill (H.4536), which was signed into law by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in May 2018, the Massachusetts Brownfields Tax Credit was extended for five additional years. Prior to that extension, the credit had been set to expire at the end of 2018. The most recent extension means cleanups must begin by August 5, 2023 and the credit applies to the costs incurred through December 31, 2023.
The program has been a resounding success since it was initially passed in 1998. Hundreds of properties have been cleaned up to Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards, spurring thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars of new tax revenue.
Cooperstown Environmental LLC President James T. Curtis, P.E., LSP, an acknowledged authority on the Brownfields Tax Credit program, stated, “Cooperstown is proud to have helped our hundreds of clients since we pioneered this niche of our consulting business in 2004. We expect to remain at the forefront of this specialized niche and continue to assist our clients in recovering and monetizing the credits.”
Cooperstown Environmental LLC analyzes site cleanups for eligibility, prepares applications for Brownfield credits, assists with appeals, provides expertise for administrative appeals and litigation, and buys and sells Brownfields Tax Credits for a wide range of clients in the real estate industry or who own property in Massachusetts.