Florida Direct Financial Incentives 2010
Florida's economic development, finance and tax organizations provide a range of incentive programs to initiate new business and commercial investment. Specific programs include tax incentives, direct investments and loans, and the Florida Recycling Loan Program.
Qualified Target Industry Tax Refunds: The Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund is a tool available to Florida communities to encourage quality job growth in targeted high value-added businesses.
Pre-approved applicants who create jobs in Florida receive tax refunds of $3,000 per net new full-time equivalent Florida job created; $6,000 in an enterprise zone or rural county. For businesses paying 150 percent of the average annual wage, add $1,000 per job; for businesses paying 200 percent of the average annual salary add $2,000 per job. New or expanding businesses in selected targeted industries, or corporate headquarters, are eligible.
If approved, the applicant may receive refunds on the taxes it pays. This includes corporate income, sales, ad valorem, intangible personal property, insurance premium, communications services, and certain other taxes. There is a cap of $5 million per single qualified applicant in all years, and no more than 25 percent of the total refund approved may be taken in any single fiscal year.
Capital development is a focus of Enterprise Florida, Inc., Florida's government/business partnership for economic development that assumed responsibility for guiding the state's economy. Capital development's mission is to build access to financial markets for small and medium-sized Florida firms in sectors generating high-wage jobs. Several financing programs are administered or marketed by Enterprise Florida, Inc. These include:
• The SBA 504 subordinate mortgage loan program, administered by Florida First Capital Finance Corp. (FFCFC), offers loans that can be used to buy land or existing buildings, construct new or expanded facilities, and purchase machinery and equipment.
• The Enterprise Bond program offers tax-exempt, low interest bond financing to qualified manufacturing and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations through Florida Development Finance Corporation. This program was designed to improve low cost capital availability to Florida's manufacturers and non profit companies that qualify for tax exempt finance under IRS rules, allowing these companies to be more competitive in the global and domestic market place. Bonds can be issued as stand-alone transactions or pooled transactions. Bonds can be credit enhanced through a direct pay letter of credit from an investment-grade commercial bank.
• Loans and guarantees are available to black-owned and -operated businesses through the Florida Black Business Investment Board's regional affiliates.
• Export finance-related direct loans and guarantees as well as packaging services are offered through the Florida Export Finance Corporation. This entity provides access to EXIM Bank and SBA export finance and working capital guaranty programs. • Enterprise Florida publishes on its website (www.eflorida.com) a listing of Florida based venture capital and angel firms providing risk capital to Florida companies. The listing can help economic development organizations assist entrepreneurs in raising risk-based capital.
The Florida Recycling Loan Program:
The program, administered by Florida First Capital Finance Corp. (FFCFC) for the Department of Environmental Protection, provides below-market financing for companies that manufacture products from recycled materials or convert recyclable materials into raw material for use in manufacturing. Direct loans have a minimum of $20,000 and a maximum of $200,000. Maturity is up to 10 years or the weighted average life of asset(s), whichever is less. Rate of interest is fixed for the life of the loan and may be as low as 2 percent below the prime lending rate. Eligible use includes machinery and equipment for manufacturing or processing, or for conversion systems utilizing materials that have been or will be recycled.
Private activity bonds (PABs):
There is a federal allocation of tax-exempt bonding authority granted to each state. Florida reserves a portion of its federal allocation of tax exempt debt for manufacturing to assure that bonding capacity is reserved to finance manufacturers, which are important to our economy.
Work force training:
• Quick Response Training Grant (QRT) is available for new or expanding Florida businesses that create high quality jobs and produce exportable (beyond local market) goods or services, particularly high-value-added businesses in Florida's targeted industries.
Customized training programs, not available at the local level, are eligible for reimbursement for instructor wages, curriculum development and textbooks or manuals.
The process is designed to be a collaborative effort between the business requesting training, the fiscal agent who is a local, state educational entity (community college, school district or university) and Workforce Florida. The fiscal agent is available to assist in the application process. The company will choose the training provider. Once an application (available at www.workforceflorida.com) has been approved, a grant agreement is prepared and signed by the business, the fiscal agent and Workforce Florida, Inc.
• Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is a program that provides training to currently employed workers to keep Florida's work force competitive in a global economy and to retain existing businesses. The program is available to all Florida businesses that have been in operation for at least one year prior to application and require training for existing employees.
High-Impact Performance Incentive (HIPI):
The High-Impact Performance Incentive Grant is a negotiated incentive used to attract and grow major high-impact facilities in Florida. Grants are provided to pre-approved applicants in certain high-impact sectors designated by the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED). In order to participate in the program, a company must operate within designated high-impact portions of the following sectors: clean energy, life sciences, financial services, transportation, equipment manufacturing, semiconductors and corporate headquarters; create at least 100 new full-time equivalent jobs (if an R&D facility, create at least 75 new full-time equivalent jobs) in Florida in a three-year period; and make a cumulative investment in the state of at least $100 million (if an R&D facility, make a cumulative investment of at least $75 million) in a three-year period. Once recommended by Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and approved by OTTED, the high-impact business is awarded 50 percent of the eligible grant upon commencement of operations and the balance of the awarded grant once full employment and capital investment goals are met.
Economic Development Transportation Fund:
The Economic Development Transportation Fund, commonly referred to as the "Road Fund," is an incentive tool designed to alleviate transportation problems that adversely impact a specific company's location or expansion decision. These grants are limited to $3 million per project and are awarded to the local government for public transportation facility improvements.
Special Opportunity Incentives
Florida encourages growth throughout the state by offering increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds in its rural counties. Additionally, a Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund and Rural Infrastructure Fund Grant exist to meet the special needs that businesses encounter in rural counties.
Florida offers increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds for businesses locating in many urban core/inner city areas that are experiencing conditions affecting the economic viability of the community and hampering the self-sufficiency of the residents.
Enterprise zone incentives:
Florida offers an assortment of tax incentives to businesses that choose to create employment within an enterprise zone, which is a specific geographic area targeted for economic revitalization. These include a sales and use tax credit, corporate income credit, sales tax refund for business machinery and equipment used in an enterprise zone, sales tax refund for building materials used in an enterprise zone, and a sales tax exemption for electrical energy used in an enterprise zone.
Florida offers incentives to businesses that locate in brownfield sites, which are industrial or commercial sites underutilized due to actual or perceived environmental contamination. The Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refund is available to encourage brownfield redevelopment and job creation. Approved applicants receive tax refunds of up to $2,500 for each job created. This incentive may be combined with the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Refund program.
Film and Entertainment Incentive:
• 5 year, $242 million transferable tax credit
• $53.5 million transferable tax credits authorized for the 2010/2011 fiscal year
• 20 percent to 30 percent transferable tax credit
o 20 percent base percentage
o 5 percent Off-Season Bonus
o 5 percent Family Friendly Bonus
• Three separate queues based on project type/budget:
1. General Production Queue
o Eligible productions: films, TV, documentaries, digital media projects, commercials and music videos
o $50,290,000 in tax credits available
o Minimum spend: $625,000
o Maximum incentive reward: $8,000,000
2. Commercial and Music Video Queue
o $1,605,000 in tax credits available
o Minimum spend: $100,000 per commercial or music video
o After a production company produces national or regional commercials, music videos, or both and reaches the threshold of $500,000, it is eligible to apply (can bundle projects)
o Maximum incentive reward: $500,000
3. Independent & Emerging Media Production Queue
o Eligible: films, TV, documentaries, digital media projects
o $1,605,000 in tax credits available
o Minimum spend: $100,000
o Maximum spend: $625,000
o Maximum incentive reward: $125,000
• An off-season certified production that is a feature film, independent film, or TV series or pilot is eligible for an additional 5 percent tax credit on actual qualified expenditures
• A certified theatrical or direct-to-video motion picture production or video game determined by the Film Commissioner with the advice of the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council, to be family-friendly, based on the review of the script and the review of the final release version, is eligible for an additional tax credit equal to 5 percent of its actual qualified expenditures
• Qualified high-impact television series (min $625,000 per episode with an order of at least 7 episodes per season) have priority for tax credits awards not yet certified
• Qualified projects must be certified (tax credits allocated to project) prior to principal photography or project start date (not applicable to qualified projects in the commercial and music video queue)
• Min 50 percent production cast and below-the-line production crew must be legal Florida residents on all qualified/certified projects (except digital media projects)
• Min 75 percent positions must be legal Florida residents on digital media projects
• Qualified production expenditures include pre-production, production and post-production but exclude costs for development, marketing, and distribution
Florida State Contact:
Enterprise Florida, Inc.
800 North Magnolia Ave., Suite 1100
Orlando, FL 32803
Fax: (407) 956-5599
Incentive and tax information is provided to Area Development by each state's economic development or commerce agency for information purposes only and is subject to revision at any time by the state government. Please contact the state agency directly for full requirements and offerings.
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