For a list of Virginia economic development agencies that can help with the site selection process, visit our Online Site Seekers’ Guide.
Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund (COF): 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. Eligible projects must meet minimum requirements for capital investment, job creation, and salary.
Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant (VEDIG): 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, job creation, and salary.
Virginia Investment Performance Grant (VIP): A discretionary performance incentive designed to encourage continued capital investment by Virginia companies, resulting in added capacity, modernization, increased productivity, or the creation, development and utilization of advanced technology. The program targets manufacturers or research and development services supporting manufacturing that have operated in Virginia for at least three years
Major Eligible Employer Grant (MEE): A discretionary performance incentive designed to encourage significant capital investment and job creation, by Virginia manufacturers and other basic employers, to grow in Virginia rather than another state or country.
Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID): The Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) is a tool for communities within the Commonwealth to grow their agriculture and forestry industries through strategic grants made to businesses that add value to Virginia-grown agricultural and forestry products.
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.
Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA): Offers programs to provide small businesses with access to capital needed for growth and expansion. Funds and programs include: Industrial Development Bonds (IDBs), Economic Development Loan Fund (EDLF), Loan Guaranty Program, SWaM Loan Fund (SLF), Virginia Capital Access Program (VCAP) Cash Collateral Program (CCP) and Small Business Investment Grant Fund (SBIGF).
Center for Innovative Technology (CIT): The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) has been accelerating innovation, technology, and technology-based economic development opportunities and strategies for the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1984. CIT carries out its mission through four service lines: CIT Entrepreneur, CIT R&D, CIT Connect, and CIT Broadband. Funds managed include the CIT GAP Fund and the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF).
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.
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.
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.
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 Training Tax Credit
- Refundable Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit
- Major Research and Development Expenses Tax Credit
- Recyclable Materials Processing Equipment Tax Credit
- Green Job Creation Tax Credit
- Port Volume Increase Tax Credit
- International Trade Facility Tax Credit
- Barge and Rail Usage Tax Credit
- New Company Incentives Program
Property Tax Exemptions: Virginia does not tax: intangible property, which includes: manufacturers’ inventory; manufacturers’ furniture, fixtures and corporate aircraft; certified pollution control facilities and equipment; and solar energy equipment, facilities, and devices that collect, generate, transfer, or store thermal or electric energy. Localities have the option to fully or partially exempt the following property from taxation: Certified recycling equipment; rehabilitated commercial/industrial real estate for up to 15 years; manufacturers’ generating and co-generating equipment; certified solar energy devices; and environmental restoration sites (eligible real estate in the Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program). Localities may elect to tax the following tangible personal and real property at reduced rates: Research and development tangible personal property; equipment used for biotechnology research, development, and production; semiconductor manufacturing machinery and tools; computer hardware and peripherals; aircraft; clean-fuel vehicles; tangible personal property used in the provision of certain internet services; tangible personal property owned by qualifying businesses in their first two taxable years; and energy-efficient buildings.
Sales & Use Tax Exemptions: A seller is subject to a sales tax imposed on gross receipts derived from retail sales or leases of tangible personal property, unless the retail sales or leases are specifically exempt by law. When a seller does not collect the sales tax from the purchaser, the purchaser is required to pay a use tax on the purchase, unless the use of the property is exempt. Some important exemptions include: Manufacturers’ purchases used directly in production including machinery, tools, spare parts, industrial fuels, and raw materials; Items purchased for resale by distributors; Certified pollution control equipment and facilities; Custom computer software; Utilities delivered through lines, pipes, or mains; Purchases used directly and exclusively in research and development; Most film, video, and audio production-related purchases; Charges for internet access and sales of software via the internet; Purchases used directly and exclusively in activities performed in cooperation with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority; Semiconductor clean rooms or equipment and other tangible personal property used primarily in the integrated process of designing, developing, manufacturing, or testing a semiconductor product; Computer equipment purchased or leased for the processing, storage, retrieval, or communication of data in large data centers (requires a minimum capital investment, job creation, and wage level to qualify); Machinery, tools, equipment, and materials used by a licensed brewer in the production of beer and materials such as labels and boxes for use in packaging and shipment for sale.
Virginia’s Customized Workforce Solutions Program: A discretionary incentive program that accelerates new facility start-ups through direct training and recruitment services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards and culture. All program services are provided at no cost as an incentive for job creation. The training is delivered using methodologies and media determined to be most effective for accelerating learning in each learning topic. These can include broadcast-quality videos, hands-on simulations, instructor-led classroom sessions, illustrated work instructions, animations and e-learning modules. All company-specific materials developed during the project become the property of the client.
Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP): A discretionary program that reduces a company’s talent development costs through grant funds and coordination with regional partners to streamline company recruitment and training. Funding for each net new full-time job created is based on a customized budget determined by an assessment of the company’s recruiting and training activities. The company is eligible for a cash grant reimbursement, after an employee has been on the payroll at least 90 days. In addition to direct funding to offset a company’s recruitment and training costs, VEDP offers human resource consulting support at no charge.
REGIONAL & LOCAL ASSISTANCE
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.
Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) works to enhance the economic base of Virginia’s e-Region, the seven counties and one city of southwestern Virginia. The Authority provides low-interest loans to qualified new or expanding businesses through its financing program. The loans may be used for real estate purchases, construction or expansion of buildings, and the purchase of machinery and equipment. VCEDA also administers other funding programs designed to encourage economic development and diversification in Virginia’s e-Region, including the Coalfield Regional Opportunity Fund (CROF). Eligibility requirements vary by program.
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. State programs include the Job Creation Grant and Real Property Investment Grant.
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.
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.