(1) Prior to commencing work on the historically significant real property, a person shall file an application for credits under the Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act containing all required information with the officer on a form prescribed by the officer and shall include an application fee established by the officer pursuant to section 77-2907. The officer shall not accept any application for credits prior to January 1, 2015. The application shall include plans and specifications, an estimate of the cost of the project prepared by a licensed architect, licensed engineer, or licensed contractor, and a request for a specific amount of credits based on such estimate. The officer shall review the application and, within twenty-one days after receiving the application, shall determine whether the information contained therein is complete. The officer shall notify the applicant in writing of the determination within five business days after making the determination. If the officer fails to provide such notification as required, the application shall be deemed complete as of the twenty-first day after the application is received by the officer. If the officer determines the application is complete or if the application is deemed complete pursuant to this section, the officer shall reserve for the benefit of the applicant an allocation of credits in the amount specified in the application and determined by the officer to be reasonable and shall notify the applicant in writing of the amount of the allocation. The allocation does not entitle the applicant to an issuance of credits until the applicant complies with all other requirements of the Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act for the issuance of credits. The date the officer determines the application is complete or the date the application is deemed complete pursuant to this section shall constitute the applicant's priority date for purposes of allocating credits under this section. For complete applications receiving an allocation under this section, the officer shall determine whether the application conforms to the standards, and, if so, the officer shall approve such application or approve such application with conditions. If the application does not conform to the standards, the officer shall deny such application. The officer shall promptly provide the person filing the application and the department with written notice of the officer's determination. If the officer does not provide a written notice of his or her determination within thirty days after the date the application is determined or deemed to be complete pursuant to this section, the application shall be deemed approved. The officer shall notify the department of any applications that are deemed approved pursuant to this section. If the officer denies the application, the credits allocated to the applicant under this subsection shall be added to the annual amount available for allocation under subsection (2) of this section. Any denial of an application by the officer pursuant to this section may be appealed, and the appeal shall be in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.
(2) For calendar years beginning before January 1, 2017, the total amount of credits that may be allocated by the officer under this section in any calendar year shall be limited to fifteen million dollars. For calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, the total amount of credits that may be allocated by the officer under this section in any calendar year shall be limited to fifteen million dollars, of which four million dollars shall be reserved for applications seeking an allocation of credits of less than one hundred thousand dollars. If the amount of credits allocated in any calendar year is less than fifteen million dollars, the unused amount shall be carried forward to subsequent years and shall be available for allocation in subsequent years until fully utilized, except as otherwise provided in section 77-2912. If the amount of credits reserved for applications seeking an allocation of credits of less than one hundred thousand dollars is not allocated by April 1 of any calendar year, such unallocated credits for the calendar year shall be available for any application seeking an allocation of credits based upon the applicant's priority date as determined by the officer. The officer shall allocate credits based on priority date, from earliest to latest. If the officer determines that the complete applications for credits in any calendar year exceed the maximum amount of credits available under this section for that year, only those applications with a priority date on or before the date on which the officer makes that determination may receive an allocation in that year, and the officer shall not make additional allocations until sufficient credits are available. If the officer suspends allocations of credits pursuant to this section, applications with priority dates on or before the date of such suspension shall retain their priority dates. Once additional credits are available for allocation, the officer shall once again allocate credits based on priority date, from earliest to latest, even if the priority dates are from a prior calendar year.
(3) Prior to December 1 of any year, the holder of an allocation of credits under this section who has not commenced the improvements in his or her approved application shall notify the officer of his or her intent to retain or release the allocation. Any released allocation shall be added to the aggregate amount of credits available for allocation in the following year. Any holder of an allocation who fails to timely notify the officer of such intent shall be deemed to have released the allocation.
(4) The holder of an allocation of credits whose application was approved under this section shall start substantial work pursuant to the approved application within twenty-four months after receiving notice of approval of the application or, if no notice of approval is sent by the officer, within twenty-four months after the application is deemed approved pursuant to this section. Failure to comply with this subsection shall result in forfeiture of the allocation of credits received under this section. Any such forfeited allocation shall be added to the aggregate amount of credits available for allocation for the year in which the forfeiture occurred.
(5) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, the person applying for the credit under this section may, at its own risk, incur eligible expenditures up to six months prior to the submission of the application required under subsection (1) of this section if such eligible expenditures are limited to architectural fees, accounting and legal fees, and any costs related to the protection of the historically significant real property from deterioration.