Virginia Incentives and Workforce Development Guide

For a list of Virginia economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.

 

Defense Production Zones: Virginia authorizes its communities to establish local defense production zones to benefit businesses engaged in the design, development or production of materials, components or equipment required to meet the needs of national defense. Companies deemed ancillary to or in support of the aforementioned categories would also apply.

Economic Development Access Program: Administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation, it assists localities in providing adequate road access to new and expanding basic employers.

Enterprise Zones: Provides state and local incentives to businesses that invest and create jobs within Virginia¹s enterprise zones, which are located throughout the state.

Foreign Trade Zones: Virginia offers six foreign trade zones designed to encourage businesses to participate in international trade by effectively eliminating or reducing customs duties. Also, numerous subzones are provided and additional ones can be designated to enhance the trade capabilities of specific companies.

 Technology Zones: Virginia cities, counties and towns have the ability to establish, by ordinance, one or more technology zones to attract growth in targeted industries. Qualified businesses locating or expanding operations in a zone may receive local permit and user fee waivers, local tax incentives, special zoning treatment or exemption from ordinances. Once a local technology zone has been established, incentives may be provided for up to 10 years. Each locality designs and administers its own program.

 

FINANCING & GRANTS

Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund: Discretionary funds available to the Governor to secure a business location or expansion project for Virginia. Grants are awarded to localities on a local matching basis with the expectation that the grant will result in a favorable location decision for the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund is a vital, proven deal-closing incentive that Virginia and its communities have successfully used for over two decades.

Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Program: The Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Fund provides grants to incentivize companies to locate new maritime-related employment centers or expand existing centers in the Commonwealth to encourage and facilitate the growth of the Port of Virginia in accordance with criteria established by legislation.

Rail Industrial Access Program: Helps connect businesses to freight rail service by funding the construction or improvement of railroad tracks and facilities to serve industrial or commercial sites where freight rail service is currently needed or anticipated in the future. This grant program supports localities, businesses or industries seeking to provide freight rail service between the actual site of an existing or proposed commercial facility and common carrier railroad tracks.

Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund: A discretionary cash grant made to a locality in Virginia’s tobacco-producing regions by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (generally in the southern and southwest regions of the state) for assistance with economic development projects.

Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund (TPOF): Provides grants, revolving loans or other financial tools and equity contributions to encourage the development of transportation projects and to provide monies to address the transportation aspects of economic development opportunities.

Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant: A discretionary investment performance grant program designed to assist and encourage companies to invest and create new employment opportunities by locating significant headquarters, administrative or service sector operations in Virginia. Eligible projects must meet minimum requirements for capital investment and job creation.

Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP) Grant Fund/ Major Eligible Employer Grant (MEE): Discretionary performance incentives designed to encourage continued capital investment by existing Virginia companies, resulting in added capacity, modernization, increased productivity or the creation, development and utilization of advanced technology.

Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA): Offers programs to provide businesses with access to capital needed for growth and expansion.

 

TAX INCENTIVES

Corporate Income Tax Credits: Virginia offers a variety of tax credits that are available for use against a company’s corporate tax liability:

  • Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit
  • Worker Retraining Tax Credit
  • Virginia Port Tax Credit Programs
  • Research and Development Tax Credit
  • Green Job Creation Tax Credit

Property Tax Exemptions: Virginia does not tax intangible property, manufacturers’ inventory, and manufacturers’ furniture, fixtures and corporate aircraft.

Sales & Use Tax Exemptions: Data centers are eligible for a sales and use tax exemption if they invest at least $150 million, hire at least 25 employees (including dedicated, full time contract employees), pay at least 1.5 times the average prevailing wage in the locality where the center is located, and enter into an MOU with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The job threshold may be reduced if the facility is located in an Enterprise Zone or in a severely distressed community as defined by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (unemployment at least 150% of the average statewide unemployment). This exemption applies to the 5.3% ­ 6.0% (depending upon the locality) sales tax on servers, server related equipment, chillers, generators and other enabling hardware.

 

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Virginia Jobs Investment Program: A program that offers customized recruiting and training assistance to companies that are creating new jobs or experiencing technological change.