Greene County, Georgia maintains a stable business tax environment and offers attractive incentives to new and existing businesses to encourage the creation of new jobs and investment. Our Leadership Team is very pro-economic development, and supports The Office of Economic Development and their efforts to be an ongoing resource for workforce recruitment, positive public relations and marketing, navigating tax incentives and needs from offices around the county.
The Greene County Development Authority and our joint development authority, The Lake Oconee Area Development Authority, work closely with our team to assist as needed with projects. The Greene County Manufacturers, Fulfillment Centers and Distributors Council offers a league of professionals with strong connections and industry best practices that are exchanged through networking and education seminars with our local economic development team.
STATUTORY STATE OF GEORGIA INCENTIVES
JOB CREATION TAX CREDITS
Corporate income tax credits for new and expanding industries are available for companies that create qualifying new jobs under guidelines of Georgia’s Business Expansion and Support Act (BEST) legislation. To determine applicable tax credit levels, Georgia’s 159 counties are divided into four levels or “tiers” based on the relative economic strength of the county, with Tier 1 counties being the most economically disadvantaged and proceeding through Tier 4 counties which are the least economically disadvantaged. Job creation or investment thresholds are set for each tier, with a per job tax credit amount established per tier. Permanent job creation levels are established in year one of a business’s operation, and the credits are allowed for new full-time employee jobs for five years in years two through six after the creation of the jobs. In Greene County, a Tier 3 county, the per job tax credit is $1,250 per job, per year; however, since Greene County participates in a multi-county joint development authority, the amount of the credit increases by $500 per job per year for a total credit of $1,750 for businesses locating or expanding in Greene County.
The total credit amount may offset up to 50% of a taxpayer’s state income tax liability for a taxable year. A credit claimed but not used in any taxable year may be carried forward for 10 years from the close of the taxable year in which the qualified jobs were established. The measurement of new full-time jobs and maintained jobs is based on average monthly employment.
Companies that create five or more jobs in a Opportunity Zone (OZ) offer job tax credits to business of any nature, including retail businesses that create at least two new jobs. The credit value for locating within one of the Opportunity Zones in Greene County is a total for $3,500 per job, per year for five years. This credit is not in addition to the Job Tax Credit mentioned above. Credits may be taken against 50 percent of state corporate income tax liability. Credits that are claimed but not used in any taxable year may be carried forward for 10 years from the close of the taxable year in which qualified jobs were established.
PORTS ACTIVITY JOB TAX & INVESTMENT TAX CREDITS
Businesses or the headquarters of any such businesses which meet the eligibility requirements for the job tax credit or the investment tax credit and that have increased their port traffic tonnage through Georgia ports during the previous 12-month period by more than 10% over their base year port traffic, or by more than 10% over 75 net tons, five containers or 10 20-foot equivalent units (TEU’s) during the previous 12-month period, qualify for increased job tax credits of $1,250 per job or investment tax credits. NOTE: Base year port trac must be at least 75 net tons, ve containers, or 10 TEU’s. If not, the percentage increase in port trac will be calculated using 75 net tons, ve containers, or 10 TEU’s as the base.
NEW QUALITY JOBS TAX CREDIT
In 2009 the Georgia Legislature passed a law amending Georgia’s former Headquarters Tax Credit program. In its place it created the new Quality Jobs Tax Credit offering higher incentives for higher paying jobs. Jobs must be created on or after January 1, 2009 to be eligible. In order to qualify for any level of the Quality Jobs Tax Credit, a company must create at least 50 eligible new full-time jobs in a 12-month period and ALL JOBS must meet the 110 percent minimum wage requirement. For 2013, the average wage for Greene County Development Authority was $700 per week.
Qualifying Level Credit Earned
110 percent of county average wages $2,500 per person tax credit
120 percent of county average wages $3,000 per person tax credit
150 percent of county average wages $4,000 per person tax credit
175 percent of county average wages $4,500 per person tax credit
200 percent of county average wages $5,000 per person tax credit
Once all earned credit has been applied against a company’s Georgia corporate income tax liability, excess credit may be monetized against employee withholding taxes. This credit is administered by the Department of Revenue.
SALES AND USE TAX EXEMPTIONS
- Georgia provides several exemptions for its sales and use tax on corporations, including: Purchases intended for resale
- Machinery used directly in the manufacturing or production process (such machinery purchase must be made by a Georgia company, after ling a sales tax exemption application; the machinery maker does not need to be a Georgia company).
- Manufacturing machinery replacement parts, costing up to $150,000 per part. Primary material handling equipment is exempted from sales tax if a company invests $5 million or more in a new or expanded facility; equipment covered is:
1. The principal machinery and equipment used to lift or move tangible personal property in a warehouse or distribution facility located in this State.
2. The computer software and hardware whose purpose is to lift or move tangible personal property qualifies for the exemption.
3. A racking system defined as any system of machinery equipment, fixtures or portable devices whose function is to store, organize, or move tangible personal property within a warehouse or distribution facility, including, but not limited to, converting systems, chutes, shelves, racks, bins, drawers, pallets, and other containers and storage devices which form a necessary part of the facility’s storage system.
- Sale of fuel and supplies for use or consumption on board ships plying the high seas in foreign or interstate commerce.
- Property manufactured for export when delivery is taken outside of Georgia.
- Transportation equipment manufactured for exclusive use outside the state. Items used in packaging.
- Air/water pollution machinery and equipment.
- Computer equipment purchased by high-technology companies (or companies operating high-technology facilities such as data centers) that purchase or lease in excess of $15 million in such equipment in one calendar year. This does not include data cabling and other infrastructure, or soft costs.
Machinery, equipment, and materials incorporated into and used in the construction or operation of a clean room of class 100 or less in Georgia, provided that such clean room is used directly in the manufacture of tangible personal property.
Local incentive proposals are determined based on an evaluation of the economic impact of economic development projects and recommendations by the Greene County Development Authority, However, the following represents potential general local incentives for economic development projects. Other incentives may be available as determined on a case-by-case basis:
EXPEDITED PLAN REVIEW AND PERMITTING
Greene County, Greensboro and Union Point will commit to expediting all development and building permitting plan review for economic development projects upon recommendation of the Greene County Development Authority.
INVENTORY TAX EXEMPTIONS (FREEPORT)
In most states, business and industry are subject to ad valorem taxes on real property (land, building) and tangible personal property (inventory of raw materials, work in progress, and inventory of completed products). In Georgia, local communities have been granted the authority to provide a tangible personal property tax reduction or exemption if approved by the voters in a local referendum. There are three classes of goods that may be exempted from taxation. The classes to be exempted include the following:
CLASS 1: Tangible personal property grown, harvested, manufactured processed or refined in Greene County and stored therein for shipment outside the state is exempted at the 100 percent level. Raw materials and partially finished goods not destined to be shipped outside the state are subject to tangible personal property taxation.
CLASS 2: Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the state of Georgia in the ordinary course of the taxpayer’s manufacturing or production business when held by the original manufacturer or producer of the finished goods for a period not to exceed 12 months is exempted from personal property taxation at the 100 percent level.
CLASS 3: Tangible personal property transported into Greene County from outside the state in transit to a nal destination outside the state is exempted from personal property taxation at the 100 percent level. Tangible personal property that is not destined for out- of-state shipment is subject to ad valorem taxation.
For businesses seeking long-term, low-interest rate financing for the construction or improvements of manufacturing facilities, Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB), also known as Industrial Development Bonds, or IDBs, are available through the Greene County Development Authority. IDB financing offers long- term, low-payment financing, with term matched to the useful life of the assets financed. We would be happy to discuss this option should there be interest.
PROPERTY TAX INCENTIVES
The ability to convey property tax incentives is limited in Georgia. In order to obtain ad valorem property tax savings for a company’s project or in order to obtain certain State grants of local incentives for the project, an industrial development bond (IDB) financed sale/leaseback is required. Such transactions are typically referred to as “bonds for title” transactions, and use of this technique involves the issuance of IDBs by a development authority to acquire or construct the project, with the title to the project vested in a development authority and with the company having the status of a lessee. The lease of the project to the company is typically at a rent equal to debt service on the bonds. Availability of property tax incentives is considered on a case-by-case basis.