Tax Credits & Exemptions

Local Incentive Measures

Industrial Revenue Bond Financing

The Oconee County Industrial Development Authority (OCIDA) is able to offer an alternative to conventional financing through the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs).  This financing mechanism can offer considerable savings for projects and the OCIDA stands ready to guide qualified companies through this process.  For projects that are not suited for bond financing, the Oconee County Economic Development Department stands ready to assist companies explore alternative financing programs such as those offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration and other non-conventional lenders.

Property Tax Schedule

The OCIDA, in cooperation with the Oconee County Property Appraisal Department, may develop a revised tax schedule for new real and personal property for qualifying projects.  This approach is intended to offer the greatest benefit in the early years of the project with the company paying its full obligation in subsequent years.  In order to take advantage of these reductions, bond financing is required by Georgia state law.  To obtain additional information about this possibility, please contact the Oconee County Economic Development Department to learn about the job creation and private investment requirements associated with this opportunity.

Freeport Inventory Tax Exemption

Oconee County voters have approved elimination of taxes on raw materials and goods used in the process of manufacturing, finished goods produced in Georgia within the last 12 months and held by the original manufacturer, and finished goods destined for shipment out-of-state are all eligible for a 100% property tax exemption for those items.

Land at Gateway Technology Park

The OCIDA owns property along the GA 316 corridor.  These parcels range from 4 up to 52 acres and have utilities to the site.  For additional information about this property, please contact the Oconee County Economic Development Department.

Impact Fees

Neither Oconee County, nor its municipalities, impose impact fees.

Site Location

For businesses interested in locating in Oconee County, economic development staff stands ready to assist the company.

Alternative Solutions

The OCIDA will work with the appropriate governing body to assess the overall economic impact of each project to determine additional areas where other forms of local incentive measures might be appropriate.  Such incentives are varied and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

State Incentive Measures

Single Factor Apportionment

In 2005, Georgia became the first state in the southeastern United States to adopt a “Single Factor Gross Receipts” apportionment formula.  This apportionment formula treats a company’s gross receipts – or sales – in Georgia as the only relevant factor in determining the portion of that company’s income subject to Georgia’s six percent corporate income tax.  Georgia is one of only a few states currently using a Single Factor Apportionment.  Single Factor Apportionment significantly reduces the effective rate of Georgia income taxation of companies with substantial sales to customers outside Georgia.  In addition, Georgia does not use the so-called “Throw Back Rule” which many states used to tax income from the sale of goods or services to out-of-state customers if the customer’s state does not already have that tax income.

Sales & Use Exemption

Georgia helps companies lower their cost of doing business by offering the ability to purchase various types of goods and services tax free.  These tax exemptions are defined in O.C.G.A. § 48-8-3.  Qualified equipment purchases may be exempt from state sales tax when the equipment purchased is necessary in the manufacturing/facility construction process.

Exemption of Sales & Use Tax on Energy Used in Manufacturing Process

Effective January 1, 2013, Georgia will over a 4-year period phase-out sales and use taxes imposed on energy used in the manufacturing process, excluding any local education SPLOST/LOST agreements.

Quick Start Training

Georgia’s Quick Start Program is the nation’s leading employee-training program.  For eligible businesses, QuickStart will partner with Athens Technical College to develop a customized training program to meet the company’s needs and deliver that training at a location agreed upon by all parties.  This program is offered at no cost to eligible businesses.

Job Tax Credits

Oconee County businesses engaged in manufacturing, warehouse & distribution, processing, telecommunications, tourism, research & development, biomedical manufacturing, and services for the elderly and persons with disabilities are eligible for job tax credits. As a Tier 4 county, the current job tax credit for Oconee County is $750 per job with a minimum creation of 25 new jobs.  This credit can be used to satisfy up to 50% of the company’s tax liability and can be carried forward for up to 10 years. For more information please visit the department of community affairs website.

Mega Project Tax Credit

Companies that hire at least 1,800 net new employees, and either invest a minimum of $450 million or have a minimum annual payroll of $150 million, may claim a $5,250 per job per year credit for the first 5 years of each net new job position.  Credits are first applied to state corporate income tax with excess credits against payroll withholding.  Credits are carried forward for 10 years.

Optional Investment Tax Credit

Optional investment tax credits can provide a long-term, significant tax benefit that rewards 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.  Based upon the company’s investment, eligible businesses who invest at least $20 million may receive a 6% tax credit. 

Retraining Tax Credit

A company’s direct investment in training can be claimed as a tax credit – 50 percent of the employer’s direct cost – up to $500 per employee, per approved training program.  The total amount of credit cannot exceed $1,250 per employee per year.  Up to 50% of a company’s direct costs for retraining their employees to satisfy new job requirements are eligible for tax credits.  The credit is capped at $500 per employee.  The Georgia Department of Technical & Adult Education must approve all retraining tax credit requests.

Child Care Tax Credit

For companies that purchase or build qualified child care facilities are eligible to receive Georgia income tax credits equal to 100 percent of the cost of construction.  The credit for the cost of construction is spread over 10 years (10 percent each year).  Unused child care credits from the purchase or construction of a child care facility can be carried forward for three years.  The child care facility must be licensed by the state.

Research & Development Tax Credit

Georgia offers an incentive to new and existing business entities performing qualified research and development in Georgia.  Qualified research expenses are defined in Section 41 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, except that all wages paid and all purchases of services and supplies must be for research conducted within the state of Georgia.  Companies may claim a 10 percent tax credit of increased R&D expenses subject to a base amount calculation.

Ports Activity for Jobs Tax Credit

The Port Tax Credit Bonus is available to taxpayers who qualify for the Jobs Tax Credit or the Investment Tax Credit, and increase imports or exports through a Georgia port by 10 percent over the previous (or base) year.  Base year port traffic must be at least 75 net tons, five containers, or 10 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units).  An additional $1,250 tax credit per new job created is available.

Ports Activity for Investment Tax Credit

The “port bonus” increases the Investment Tax Credit to the equivalent of a Tier 1 location regardless of the location’s tier level.  The port bonus would therefore be equal to five percent of the qualified investment in expenses directly related to manufacturing or providing telecommunication services with the credit increasing to eight percent for recycling, pollution control and defense conversion.

Quality Jobs Tax Credit

Companies that create at least 50 jobs in a 12-month period, where wages paid to each job are at least 110% of the county average, are eligible to receive a tax credit of $2,500 - $5,000 per job, per year, for up to five years, based on the scaled system below.  New quality jobs created within seven years can qualify for the credit.
Payroll Requirements (% of county average)
Credit Value per Job
Between 110 & 120%
Between 120 & 150%
Between 150 & 175%
Between 175 & 200%
200% or greater

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Georgia Department of Labor coordinates the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program.  The WOTC program is a federal tax credit incentive that the U.S. Congress provides to private-sector businesses for hiring individuals from nine target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.  Participating companies are compensated by being able to reduce their federal income tax liability with a tax credit between $1,200 to $9,600 per qualified employee, depending on the target group. For more information visit the department of labor website.

Entrepreneur & Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

In partnership with the OneGeorgia Authority, the state can provide loan guarantees in partnership with accredited lending institutions to spur entrepreneurial growth in specified rural communities throughout Georgia.  The guarantee amounts can range between $35,000 and $250,000, and can be used for hard assets or for start-up and working capital and require a 10 percent cash equity injection by the borrower.

Film, Television & 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. A minimum spending of $500,000 is required. The state of Georgia fields one of the most competitive tax incentive programs in the nation for the film and television production industry. You can learn more about this tax credit at the website.