Virginia Incentives and Workforce Development Guide
The updated Virginia incentives guide is brought to you by Real Street Expo, a new event sponsored by Business Facilities and Today’s Facility Manager magazines.
For a list of Virginia economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.
- 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.
- 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 Virginia’s 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.
- 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.
- Governor’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 Governor’s Opportunity Fund is a vital, proven deal-closing incentive that Virginia and its communities have successfully used for almost two decades.
- 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.
- Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant:
- Designed to provide financial incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble equipment, systems, or products used to produce renewable or nuclear energy or products used for energy conservation, storage, or grid efficiency purposes.
- 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 operation in Virginia. Eligible projects must meet minimum requirements for capital investment and job creation.
- Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund:
- A discretionary cash grant made to a locality in Virginia’s tobacco-producing regions by the Tobacco Indemnification and Community 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.
- 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.
- Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA):
- Offers programs to provide businesses with access to capital needed for growth and expansion.
- Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program (POV Zone Grant):
- The POV Zone Grant provides a grant to certain Qualified Companies to incentivize companies to locate new maritime-related employment centers or expand existing centers in specified localities in order to encourage and facilitate the growth of the Port of Virginia in accordance with criteria established by legislation.
- 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 50 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.
- Property Tax Exemptions:
- Virginia does not tax intangible property, manufacturers’ inventory, and manufacturers’ furniture, fixtures and corporate aircraft.
- 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
- Recycling Equipment Tax Credit
- Day Care Facility Investment Tax Credit
- Worker Retraining Tax Credit
- Virginia Port Tax Credit Programs
- Research and Development Tax Credit
- Green Job Creation Tax Credit
- Virginia Jobs Investment Program:
- A program that offers customized recruiting and training assistance to companies that are creating new jobs or experiencing technological change.