Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Georgia’s Opportunity Zone Tax Credit

Does your company qualify for the $3,500 tax credit?

By Nick Rider

Nick Rider
Manager, Mauldin & Jenkins – Atlanta

New jobs can be critical in the revitalization of any local area. Georgia’s Opportunity Zone Credit helps employers looking to expand their businesses in underdeveloped areas when designated as an Opportunity Zone. Unlike the Georgia Jobs Tax Credit, which only applies to specific industries such as manufacturing, tourism, and warehousing, an employer with any lawful business may be eligible for this credit. An employer must add a minimum of two net new permanent full-time jobs working a minimum of 35 hours a week. The jobs must pay in excess of the lowest average wage of any county in the state ($480 per week or $24,960 per year as of June 2017). Finally, the employer must offer health insurance upon employment but is not required to pay for that insurance.

The credit is $3,500, unlike the Jobs Tax Credit which ranges from $750-$3,500 depending on the county where the job was created. The credit is first applied to corporate income tax and an excess can then be applied against state withholding. The credit can be taken for up to 5 years as long as the new job is maintained.   It can also be carried forward for 10 years if not used. Opportunity zones are established on an annual basis and a copy of all city mapping can be found on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website. If your area is not included as an Opportunity Zone and should be, the Local Government can apply for that designation.  Depending on the area of new jobs creation, it’s possible for the Opportunity Zone Credit to be much more beneficial than the Job Tax Credit. If your business is looking at expanding or has added jobs in the last year, it’s important to discuss this with a tax professional to see if you would qualify for the Opportunity Zone Credit.

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