On Friday, May 16, 2014 the Cherrytree Group successfully hosted its second annual tax credit conference, “Obtaining a Brownfields: Why You May be Closer than You Think”. We have received a great deal of positive feedback including requests for information on the event from those who were unable to attend.
In response to this expression of interest, this week’s blog post is a recap of the salient parts of the presentation, as well as a link to download the PowerPoint used by the presenters:
We, at the Cherrytree Group were honored and humbled to have assembled presenters of such great stature and importance to our industry.
Kerry Bowie, Director of Brownfields and Environmental Justice at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), started off the discussion with an overview of the Massachusetts Brownfields Act. He explained how the Massachusetts Brownfields Act was enacted in 1998 and provided liability relief to the provision of MGL Ch. 21E (21E). Mr. Bowie explained the recent amendments to the MCP and explained the implications these changes have had on LSP’s conduct and their transformative effect on remediation in Massachusetts. He also explained that the program created financial incentives including a $30 million Brownfields Redevelopment Fund and that, thus far, the program has supported more than 1,300 projects, and has achieved continued success among several state agencies, including: MassDevelopment, Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of Revenue. Kerry concluded his portion of the presentation by describing the Brownfields Support Team (BST) Initiative and how the BST is a multi-stakeholder collaboration of both the private and public sector, State and Federal (EPA), Regional and municipal, and non-profits and LSPs who all work together to remediate sites.
Daniel Seferian, Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Rulings & Regulations Bureau continued the discussion by offering his legal expertise regarding the Massachusetts Brownfields Tax Credit Program. Mr. Seferian began his presentation by reviewing the eligibility requirements to receive the BTC. He explained that for a property to be considered eligible it must be “owned or leased by the taxpayer for business purposes; must have been reported to the DEP; and must be located within an economically distressed area (EDA)”. Daniel also explained that the Brownfields Tax Credit which amounts to 50% of the “net response and removal costs” is eligible for use by taxpayers who file MA personal or corporate income tax returns, and non-profits whose tax returns were filed after 2006. Mr. Seferian also explained what eligible costs are, and the procedure for filing for the credit. He then went on to describe the technical aspects of receiving the credit including the statutory limitations, recapture, and the new appeals process associated with the BTC. Daniel concluded his portion of the presentation by explaining the Technical Information Releases (TIR), and the transfer process for the BTC by which the taxpayer in possession of the tax credit may transfer the credit to another taxpayer using a Brownfields Tax Credit Transfer Application (BCTA).
Richard Cote, an LSP at Comprehensive Environmental, Inc., concluded the presentation with his segment which framed the discussion of the Brownfields Program from the viewpoint of an LSP. LSPs, are engineers authorized by the State to oversee assessment and cleanup of contamination releases. Rick discussed the various grants available to help clients finance a site remediation. For example, he detailed how assessment loans of up to $100,000 are available for environmental testing to be conducted by a LSP, and that there are clean-up loans of up to $500,000 that are available for remediation through MassDevelopment. He talked about how these grants can be used in combination with the Brownfields Tax Credit (which covers up to 50% of costs directly incurred in remediating environmental contamination in a situation where the contamination was not caused by the taxpayer, and the remediation solution has no use restrictions). Mr. Cote concluded the presentation by using case studies and exploring several different practical solutions for remediating different types of contaminated land.
To download the PowerPoint Presentation used for the event please click here.