For a list of Georgia economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.
Child Care Tax Credits: Employers who purchase or build qualified childcare facilities are eligible to receive Georgia income tax credits equal to 100% of the cost of construction—the credit is spread over 10 years (10% each year). Unused credits from the purchase or construction of a childcare facility can be carried forward three years. The childcare facility must be licensed by the state.
Employers who provide or sponsor childcare for employees are eligible for a credit against Georgia income tax equal to 75% of the employer’s direct costs. Unused credits from the provision or sponsorship of childcare may be carried forward five years. All childcare credits can be used against 50% of the taxpayer’s income tax liability in a given year.
Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ): Georgia is home to multiple FTZ sites and is a recognized leader in working with companies to facilitate use of the program. The FTZ program streamlines importing and exporting, and allows qualified companies to defer, decrease, or eliminate duties on materials imported from overseas that are used in products assembled in Georgia.
The three international ports of entry in Georgia each have FTZ projects associated with them:
- Atlanta – FTZ #26
- Brunswick – FTZ #144
- Savannah – FTZ #104
For the past two years, FTZ #26 (Atlanta) has been ranked as one of the two Top Free Trade Zones in the U.S. and Canada.
Georgia Entertainment Tax Credits: Tax credits of up to 30% that can be transferred or sold create significant cost savings.
Film & Television Production: Eligible projects include feature films; television films, pilots or series; televised specials; televised commercials and music videos. The incentive is a 20 percent base transferable tax credit, with the opportunity to earn a 10 percent Georgia Entertainment Promotion (GEP) uplift by including an embedded Georgia logo on approved projects and a link to ExploreGeorgia.org/Film on the project’s landing page.
Qualified expenditures include both resident and non-resident workers’ payrolls and FICA, SUI, FUI, production expenditures made in Georgia from a Georgia vendor, and post-production of Georgia-filmed movies and television projects if the post-production is done in Georgia.
There are no limits or caps on the spending in Georgia, and no sunset clause on the incentives. There’s no salary cap on individuals paid by 1099, personal service contract or loan-out.
Digital Entertainment: Eligible projects include video gaming, eSports, digital animation, virtual reality/visual effects, digital video, and mobile apps. The incentive is a 20 percent base transferable tax credit, with the opportunity to earn a 10 percent Georgia Entertainment Promotion (GEP) uplift by including an embedded Georgia logo within the completed project, a 15-second-long Georgia advertisement in units sold and embedded in online promotions and which includes a link to exploregeorgia.org/film on the project’s web page.
To earn any tax credit, an interactive entertainment company must reach a minimum threshold of $500,000 in qualified production expenditures in the State of Georgia, or have a total aggregate payroll of $250,000.00 or more for employees working within the state during a taxable year.
The maximum allowable credit claimed for any qualified interactive entertainment production company and its affiliates shall not exceed $1.5 million in any single year. Only one interactive entertainment company per project may receive certification for the Entertainment Tax Credit.
In the instance of co-productions, both companies must provide a written and signed agreement stating which party will be entitled to earn the tax credit.
Musical or Theatrical: Eligible projects include musical or theatrical performances or a recorded musical performance synchronized with a movie, television, or interactive entertainment production.
The Georgia income tax credit equals 15 percent of a music production company’s qualified production expenditures in the state. For expenses incurred in Georgia’s least developed counties, as ranked by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (www.dca.state.ga.us/), there is an extra income tax credit of five percent, bringing the maximum possible credit up to 20 percent.
The credits can be carried forward for five years, but they are not transferable or refundable. The credit applies to the following kinds of musical productions:
- A touring musical or theatrical production (including touring concerts, ballet, opera, or other live variety entertainment) that originates and is developed in Georgia and has its initial public performance before a live audience in the state, or that has its U.S. debut in Georgia after preparing and rehearsing for at least seven days in the state;
- A recorded musical performance, including, but not limited to, the score and musical accompaniment of a motion picture, television or digital interactive entertainment production.
In order to claim the credit, the production company must first meet certain minimum spending thresholds in the state.
- For musical or theatrical productions, $500,000 during a taxable year;
- For a recorded musical performance incorporated into a film, television, or digital interactive entertainment production, $250,000 during a taxable year;
- For any other kind of recorded musical performance, $100,000 during a taxable year. The music tax credit is capped annually, with the cap set at $5 million for 2018, $10 million for 2019, and $15 million thereafter until the credit sunsets in 2023.
The credit will be awarded to production companies on a first-come, first-served basis and no single production company may claim more than 20 percent of the annual credit allocation.
Inventory Tax Exemption: Georgia has no state property tax on inventory, or any other real or personal property. Under Georgia’s Level One Freeport law, counties and municipalities have the option of enacting a local property tax exemption for four classes of inventory at 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100% of the value.
- Inventory of goods in the process of being manufactured or produced including raw materials and partly finished goods
- Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced in Georgia held by the manufacturer or producer for a period not to exceed 12 months
- Inventory of finished goods destined for shipment outside of Georgia stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf for a period not to exceed 12 months
- Stock in trade of a fulfillment center that is stored in a warehouse
Investment Tax Credit: Investment tax credits help Georgia businesses grow by making it more affordable to expand and improve facilities. Companies that have operated a manufacturing or telecommunications facility for at least three years in Georgia (or have operated a corporate office or other support facility for at least three years in Georgia for a manufacturing or telecommunications company) are eligible to earn investment tax credits for upgrades or expansions.
Credit earned amounts to 1 % to 8% of qualified capital investments of $100,000 or more. The credit is calculated using two factors:
- Geographic location. Companies in the state’s less prosperous counties receive larger credits.
- Type of investment. Companies that invest in recycling equipment, pollution control or in converting a defense plant manufacturing facility to a new product earn tax credits of 3% to 8% of their capital outlay. Investment in general equipment for manufacturing or telecommunications services earns tax credits of 1% to 5%.
Investment tax credits can be used to offset up to 50% of a company’s Georgia corporate income tax liability. If the earned credit exceeds that limit, then the unused credit can be carried forward for up to 10 years and applied to future years’ tax liability. Beginning January 2020, once the requirement to apply the credit to 50% of the state corporate income tax liability is met, eligible companies in designated Rural Counties in Tier 1 and Tier 2 can apply credits to payroll withholding.
Companies should compare the benefits of the investment tax credit with those of the job tax credit, as taxpayers are allowed to claim one or the other, but not both.
Job Tax Credit: A job tax credit helps fuel company expansion by rewarding job creation. In Georgia, job tax credits provide as much as $4,000 in annual tax savings per job for up to five years. They’re available to businesses (or their headquarters) in seven strategic sectors:
- Warehousing & distribution
- Research & development
The exact value of the job tax credits depends on two factors–how many jobs are created, and where. A downloadable map shows how all Georgia counties and census tracts rank as “economic tiers” based on three factors: unemployment rate, per capita income and percentage of residents whose incomes are below poverty level.
In special zones (Opportunity Zones, Military Zones or Georgia’s 40 least developed counties), job tax credits can be earned by any type of business. Companies should compare the benefits of the job tax credit with those of the investment tax credit, as taxpayers are allowed to claim one or the other, but not both.
Job tax credits may be used to reduce a company’s payroll withholding liability, if the jobs were created in an Opportunity Zone, Military Zone, Less Developed Census Tract or a “Tier 1” county.
Mega Project Tax Credit: The Mega Project Tax Credit may be available for companies that employ at least 1,800 net new employees, and either invest a minimum of $450 million or have a minimum annual payroll of $150 million. These qualifying companies may claim a $5,250 per job, per year tax credit for the first five years of each net new job position. Credits are first applied to state corporate income tax; any excess credits are eligible for use against payroll withholding. Credits may be carried forward for 10 years.
Port Tax Credit Bonus: The port tax credit bonus rewards new or expanding Georgia companies that increase imports or exports through a Georgia deepwater port by at least 10% over the previous or base year. It can be used with the Job Tax Credit program or the Investment Tax Credit program. To be eligible for the port tax credit bonus:
- Companies must first meet the requirements of either the job tax credit or investment tax credit programs.
- Base year port traffic must be at least 75 net tons, or five containers, or 10 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units). If base year traffic is lower, then these minimums automatically become the base upon which traffic increases are calculated.
The port tax credit bonus is calculated as follows according to which program it is used with:
- Job Tax Credit: An addition of $1,250 (per job) to the job tax credit, which can be taken for five years to reduce or eliminate Georgia corporate income tax liability; or
- Investment Tax Credit: An adjustment in the calculation of the investment tax credit, so that the credit amount is based on the equivalent of a Tier 1 location. (5% of the qualified investment expenses or 8% for recycling, pollution control and defense conversion.)
The port tax credit bonus may offset up to 50% of the company’s corporate income tax liability. Unused credits may be carried forward for 10 years–but the increase in port traffic must remain above the qualifying threshold, and the company must continue to meet the requirements for either the Job Tax Credit or the Investment Tax Credit.
Note: The port tax credit bonus cannot be used with Georgia’s Quality Jobs Tax Credit program.
Quality Jobs Tax Credit: The Quality Jobs Tax Credit is a job tax credit for jobs that pay higher-than-average wages. QJTC may be applied against 100% of state corporate income tax liability, and once all corporate income tax liability has been exhausted, the credits may be used to offset the company’s state payroll withholding.
Unused credits may be carried forward for 10 years from the close of the taxable year in which the qualified jobs were established. New jobs that do not meet the requirements for the QJTC may count toward Job Tax Credits if they meet the eligibility requirements for that program separately.
To qualify, jobs must pay wages that are at least 10% higher than the average wage in the county where the job is located. Companies in designated Rural Counties must create a minimum number of qualifying jobs within a 12-month period: 10 jobs if a Rural County in Tier 1, and 25 jobs if a Rural County in Tier 2. Companies in the remaining counties must create at least 50 qualifying jobs within a 24-month period to claim QJTC.
Credits range from $2,500 to $5,000 per job, per year, for up to five years, and are determined by where the jobs are located and how much the jobs pay.
Research & Development Tax Credits: Georgia companies performing qualified research and development (R&D) in Georgia may be eligible for tax credits. To qualify, the Georgia facility must be engaged in, or the headquarters of a company engaged in, a specified industry including:
- Warehousing & distribution
- Research & development
Most eligible companies have some level of activity that can qualify for Georgia’s R&D tax credit. The value of the tax credit is 10% of the qualified R&D expenditures minus a base amount.
The credit can be used to offset up to 50% 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, excess R&D tax credits can be used against state payroll withholding.
Centers of Innovation: The Georgia Centers of Innovation (COI) are the state’s leading resource for facilitating business innovation. Through the assistance of the five centers, Georgia companies translate new ideas and technologies into commercially viable products and services to better compete in the global marketplace. This economic catalyst, in turn, promotes the continued growth of the state’s economy. A division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, COI provides the leading technical industry expertise, research collaborations, and business partnerships to help the state’s strategic industries connect, compete and grow.
Five individual centers operate statewide with a focus on Aerospace, Energy Technology, Information Technology, Logistics, and Manufacturing
Hiring Assistance: Georgia’s Department of Labor (GDOL) helps companies to recruit by posting job notices, collecting and screening applications and/or résumés, providing interview space, scheduling interviews and hosting job fairs. GDOL will work with private employment agencies that list jobs with the state.
Quick Start Employee Training: The No. 1 workforce training program in the country, Quick Start develops and delivers fully customized, strategic workforce solutions for qualified companies investing in Georgia. Quick Start helps companies assess, select and train the right people at the right time for success. Services are provided free of charge as a discretionary incentive for job creation for clients opening or expanding manufacturing operations, distribution centers, headquarters operations, and customer contact centers in a broad range of industries. GeorgiaQuickStart.org
Retraining Tax Credit: Retraining tax credits mitigate the cost of retraining existing employees so that companies can realize the full value of eligible new technology investments.
Businesses can receive a tax credit of 50% of their direct training expenses, with up to $500 credit per full-time employee, per training program. The annual maximum of the credit amounts to $1,250 per employee. Eligible expenses include:
- costs of instructors (including an instructor from the company) and teaching materials
- employee wages during retraining
- reasonable travel expenses
Retraining tax credits can be used to offset up to 50% of a company’s Georgia corporate income tax liability. If the earned credit exceeds that limit, then the unused credit can be carried forward for up to 10 years. Any business that files a Georgia income tax return is eligible for the retraining tax credit. To qualify, training programs must be designed to enhance quality and productivity or teach certain software technologies. Training programs must be approved by the Technical College System of Georgia.
HOPE Career Grant: This state-funded grant supplements Georgia’s HOPE Grant, and results in free tuition, as well as assistance with other fees, for Technical College System of Georgia students in majors that prepare students for jobs in high-demand. The HOPE Career Grant program areas include welding and joining technology, precision manufacturing, certified engineer assistant, and industrial maintenance.
(The HOPE Grant provides tuition assistance for residents seeking a technical degree or certificate from one of Georgia’s technical colleges.)