State Tax Credits
Tax credits give Georgia businesses the opportunity to minimize or even eliminate state corporate income tax. They apply to all qualifying companies - large, small and in between - rooted in Georgia or new to the state.
Typically, corporate income tax credits apply to 50 percent of a company’s state tax liability in a given year. But in some cases, they can offset up to 100 percent of corporate income tax as well as payroll withholding liability.
The tax credits referenced here are extended by the state of Georgia; local incentives are also available through the Stephens County Development Authority. In addition, Georgia offers tax exemptions to support business growth. The links below will take you to the appropriate state web page for more information and will open the page in a new window.
Here are the primary tax credits Georgia extends to new and existing companies:
Job Tax Credit
A job credit is a tax credit that helps fuel company expansion by rewarding job creation. Job tax credits or investment tax credits are available to businesses (or their headquarters) in seven strategic sectors:
Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Warehousing and Distribution,
Research and Development, Processing, Tourism.
The exact value of of the job credits depends on two factors -- how many jobs are created, and where. Georgia counties are ranked as "economic tiers" based on three factors: unemployment rate, per capita income and percentage of residents whose incomes are below poverty level.
Stephens County is ranked as Tier 2 for 2016. Click map to enlarge.
SCDA participates in a Joint Development Authority, therefore, Stephens County businesses get $500 extra in tax credits.
Job Tax Credit Application
Read more detailed information about the current Business Incentives by The Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Port Job Tax Credit Bonus
The port tax credit bonus rewards new or expanding Georgia companies that increase imports or exports through a Georgia port by at least 10 percent over the previous year.
Eligibility, requirements and calculations for the port tax credit bonus.
Opportunity Zone Payroll Withholding Tax Credit
Local governments which undertake redevelopment and revitalization efforts in certain older commercial and industrial areas can now qualify those areas for the State’s maximum job tax credit of $3,500 per job. The incentive, which is available for new or existing businesses that create two or more jobs, is a Job Tax Credit which can be taken against the business’s Georgia income tax liability and payroll withholding tax. The credit is available for areas designated by DCA as an "Opportunity Zone."
Learn more about the Department of Community Affairs Opportunity Zone Tax Credit incentives.
Official Opportunity Zone Map for Stephens County (Approved August 12, 2011)
Official Opportunity Zone Map for Stephens County (Approved September 14, 2012)
OZ Certification Form
Stephens County OZ Application 2011
Stephens County OZ Award Letter 2011
Stephens County OZ Application 2010
Stephens County OZ Award Letter 2010
Stephens County Urban Redevelopment Plan
Stephens County OZ Annual Report 2010-2011
Stephens County 2010 Census Tract Reference Map
Freeport Tax Exemption
Stephens County voters have elected to exempt the following types of commercial and industrial inventory:
Class 1 -- Raw materials and goods in process of manufacture -- 100 percent exemption
Class 2 -- Finished goods produced in Georgia within the last 12 months -- 100 percent exemption
Class 3 -- Finished goods stored in Georgia within the last 12 months and destined for shipment out-of-state -- 100 percent exemption
The City of Toccoa has also elected to exempt 100 percent of all qualified inventory.
Learn more about Freeport Tax Exemption and download an application.
Sales and Use Tax Exemption
Georgia helps companies lower their cost of doing business by offering the ability to purchase various types of goods and services tax free. Click here for a list of exemptions, descriptions and complete list of items exempt from the state Sales and Use Tax.
Research and Development Tax Credit
Research and Development (R&D) tax credits are a valuable benefit for companies developing new products and services in Georgia. R&D tax credits are available to any company that increases its qualified research spending. Brand new companies, existing companies embarking on R&D for the first time, established companies expanding their R&D budget - all are eligible for R&D tax credits. The tax credit earned is a portion of the increase in R&D spending. The credit can be used to offset up to 50 percent of net Georgia income tax liability, after all other credits have been applied. Any unused R&D tax credits can be carried forward for up to 10 years. In addition, new business enterprises in their first five years of operation can use excess R&D tax credits against state payroll withholding.
Mega Project Tax Credit
Mega Project Tax Credits benefit Georgia companies that 1) employ a minimum of 1,800 "net new" employees; and 2) have either a minimum annual payroll of $150 million OR make a minimum $450 million investment in Georgia. Companies meeting both requirements may claim a tax credit of $5,250 per job per year for the first five years of each net new job position.
Quality Jobs Tax Credit
The Quality Jobs Tax Credit is another job tax credit for jobs that pay higher-than-average wages. It can give Georgia companies a significant tax break and help drive growth. The Quality Jobs Tax Credit rewards companies that create at least 50 jobs in a 12-month period - provided the jobs pay wages that are at least 10 percent higher than the county average for wages.
Single Factor Corporate Income Tax
Under this new apportionment formula which came into effect in 2008, income tax is substantially reduced for companies based in Georgia that deliver a large portion of products or services to customers outside the state. The Gross Receipts or sales element is now the only factor used in determining the apportionment of a company’s income in Georgia. This applies to manufacturing, sales, and service companies doing business in Georgia – whether manufacturing products within the state of Georgia, selling goods from a Georgia base, or rendering services from a Georgia base but selling those products or services to customers in other states. Georgia is the first state in the southeast to adopt a single factor apportionment.
Learn more about the Corporate Income Tax Apportionment formula.
Port Tax Credit Bonus
Georgia companies that increase imports or exports through a Georgia port by at least 10 percent can qualify for a bonus tax credit. Two options are offered: an addition of $1,250 to the job tax credit or an adjustment in the investment tax credit.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Georgia’s Department of Labor administers a federal tax credit to Georgia companies that hire individuals who have faced barriers to employment. The tax credit ranges from $1,200 to $9,000 per hire.
Investment Tax Credit
Companies in manufacturing or telecommunications support that have operated in Georgia for at least three years are eligible to earn investment tax credits for upgrades or expansions. Credit earned amounts to 1 percent to 8 percent of qualified capital investments of $50,000 or more.
Optional Investment Tax Credit
Optional investment tax credits reward growing companies for making major investments in Georgia. The exact value of the optional investment tax credits depends on three factors: how much is invested; where the investment is made in Georgia; and the change in a company’s tax liability.
Retraining Tax Credit
Georgia businesses may offset their investment in retraining employees to use new equipment or learn new skills through a retraining tax credit. The credit equals 50 percent of direct training expenses, up to $500 credit per full-time employee, per training program.
Film, Television and Digital Entertainment Tax Credit
Film and television companies may receive a tax credit of up to 30 percent of money spent on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple projects. Minimum spending amount is $500,000. Sales and use tax exemptions can save as much as an additional 8 percent.
The SCDA is responsible for the recruitment of new businesses including industrial, manufacturing, distribution, corporate and regional headquarters and customer service centers. It also provides support and assistance with all other types of economic development projects.
The SCDA also works with existing businesses and industries to ensure their continued success. While recruitment of new industry is a significant function, aiding in existing industry expansion and retention is just as significant. About 80 percent of all new jobs in Georgia come as a result of existing industry expansion.
Georgia Work Ready
State Tax Credits
Opportunity Zone Tax Credit
Freeport Tax Exemption
Training and Education
Grants & Other Finance Options
Drugs Don't Work
A couple of years ago, the Stephens County Development Authority informed us that we were located in an Opportunity Zone which qualified us for tax credits that were applied to our GA payroll taxes for adding new employees. We were able to realize these savings. We are thankful to our local development authority for making sure that we were taking advantage of all the tax credits available to us.-
From the beginning of our interest in moving to Toccoa-Stephens County, the Stephens County Development Authority made regular trips to our office to make sure we are adjusting to our new home and acclimated to the community resources in Stephens County. They provided a wealth of information on Georgia Business Incentives and tax incentives specific to Stephens County. They introduced us to many connections in Stephens County. We now are well connected with the Department of Labor and attend their monthly meeting and after SCDA's help with some paperwork we have taken advantage of GDOL's Incumbent Worker Program. The Development Authority also shared their long list of local vendors with us and we were able to find our utilities provider, an insurance agent, a computer technician and research local CPAs. Basically, the SCDA is our go to. If we can't figure it out or just need some guidance on an issue we don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call. We definitely appreciate the Stephens County Development Authority's efforts to make Toccoa a great place to do business. They truly make us feel welcome and appreciated in Stephens County!-