To maintain its world-class business climate, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County offers relocating and expanding businesses a wide range of benefits, including:
- Incentives that provide financial assistance
- Streamlined regulatory processes
- Low taxes
- Responsive economic development system
The advantages of doing business in Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County carry over to the personal side, where individuals pay no state or local personal income taxes, giving companies an added enticement in recruiting executives, professionals and technology workers.
A stable and highly favorable tax climate enhances profitability for a wide variety of businesses looking to grow and prosper in a Florida location.
Florida has . . .
• NO corporate income tax on limited partnerships
• NO corporate income tax on subchapter S-corporations
• NO state personal income tax guaranteed by constitutional provision
• NO corporate franchise tax on capital stock
• NO state-level property tax assessed
• NO property tax on business inventories
• NO property tax on goods-in-transit for up to 180 days
• NO sales and use tax on goods manufactured or produced in Florida for export outside the state
• NO sales tax on purchases of raw materials incorporated in a final product for resale, including non-reusable containers or packaging
• NO sales/use tax on boiler fuels
• NO sales/use tax on co-generation of electricity
Florida Offers Sales and Use Tax Exemptions On . . .
• Semiconductor, defense and space technology-based industry transactions involving manufacturing or research equipment
• Purchases of machinery and equipment used by a new or expanding Florida business to manufacture, produce or process tangible personal property for sale
• Labor, parts and materials used in repair of and incorporated into machinery and equipment that qualify for sales tax exemption upon purchase
• Electricity used in the manufacturing process
• Aircraft parts, modification, maintenance and repair, sale or lease of qualified aircraft
• Commercial space activity – launch vehicles, payloads and fuel, machinery and equipment for production of items used exclusively at Spaceport Florida
• Labor component of research and development expenditures
• Any facility, device, fixture, machinery or equipment required for pollution control, abatement or monitoring of equipment used in manufacturing processing or compounding items for sale
Access to Capital
Florida provides business leaders easy access to capital. Whether a business needs venture capital, experienced commercial lenders, or access to federal and state programs, Florida has full access to capital resources.
Venture capitalists can provide the funding needed to jump-start a business. These venture capital firms or angel investors are willing to provide an entrepreneur with seed capital in the hopes of gaining a substantial return when the business takes off. Florida has an entrepreneurial networking group called The Florida Venture Forum that is a resource of proven value. For more information, visit www.flvencap.org.
Recognizing the importance of entrepreneurship to the growth of the region, Broward County assists emerging entrepreneurs through two results-driven technology incubators: the Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida and Metro Broward Economic Development Corporation.
Qualified Target Industry Refund (QTI)
Tax refund incentives are available to companies that create high-wage, value-added jobs in targeted industries such as (but not limited to): corporate headquarters; professional, scientific and technical services; information industries; research & development, manufacturing, and wholesale trade and distribution. Pre-approved applicants who create 10 or more jobs can be eligible to receive tax refunds from $3,000 to $5,000 per new Florida full-time equivalent job created. Industries in high impact performing sectors are eligible for an additional $2,000 per job bonus. An additional $1,000 per job is available to companies who locate in an Enterprise Zone.
Qualifying companies must pay a minimum of 115 percent of Broward County's average wage. (Average wage rates are revised every January.) New or expanding businesses in selected targeted industries or corporate headquarters are eligible.
High Impact Performance Incentive Grant (HIPI)
The High Impact Performance Incentive Grant (HIPI) is a negotiated incentive used to attract and develop major high-impact sectors in Florida. Grants are provided to pre-approved applicants in certain high-impact sectors designated by the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.
In order to qualify for consideration under the program, an applicant must operate within designated high impact portions of the following sectors: clean energy, corporate headquarters, financial services, life sciences, semiconductors, and transportation equipment manufacturing; create at least 50 new full-time equivalent jobs in Florida in a designated high impact sector in a 3-year period; or if a research and development facility, create at least 25 new full-time equivalent jobs in a 3-year period; and make a cumulative investment in the state of at least $50 million in a 3-year period, or if a research and development facility, make a cumulative investment of at least $25 million in a 3-year period.
Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC)
To encourage investment in Florida, the state offers a Capital Investment Tax Credit to qualifying companies. To participate in the program, a company must apply to Enterprise Florida and be certified by the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development prior to commencement of operations. To qualify for consideration under the program, an applicant must operate within designated high impact portions of the following sectors: clean energy, corporate headquarters, financial services, information technology, life sciences, semiconductors, and transportation equipment manufacturing; create at least 100 new jobs in Florida in connection with the project; and make a cumulative capital investment of at least $25 million in connection with the project from the beginning of construction to the commencement of operations.
The amount of the annual credit is up to 5 percent of the eligible capital costs generated by a qualifying project, for up to 20 years. The annual credit may not exceed a specified percentage of the annual corporate income tax liability generated by the project. Those percentages are: 100 percent for a project with a cumulative capital investment of at least $100 million; 75 percent for a project with a cumulative capital investment of at least $50 million but less than $100 million; and 50 percent for a project with a cumulative capital investment of at least $25 million but less than $50 million.
Quick Response Training Incentives
Quick Response Training Incentives (QRT) is a customer-driven training program designed to assist new value-added businesses and provide existing Florida businesses the necessary training for expansion. This program is customized, flexible and responsive to individual company needs. Workforce Florida, Inc. is Florida’s innovative private-public partnership for competitive workforce incentives.
Incumbent Worker Training Program
Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) is a program providing training to currently employed workers to keep Florida’s workforce competitive in a global economy and to retain existing businesses. The program is available to all Florida businesses that have been in operation for at least one year prior to application and require training for existing employees.
Employed Worker Training Program
Employed Worker Training (EWT) is a program provided through Broward’s Workforce One. The goal of this locally funded program is to upgrade the skills of existing employees with the flexibility to meet many training requirements.
The program provides industry-specific or company-specific training for employees, which can be customized to a business’ individual objectives. It is designed for companies that need to advance the skills of existing employees for the purpose of advancing their wages and positions, and to assist employees in retaining jobs that provide self-sufficient employment. From line-staff workers to professional-level employees, productivity and morale are sure to increase as a result of exposure to real-world lessons from industry experts.
See “Workforce” section for additional information.
Economic Development Transportation Fund
The Economic Development Transportation Fund, commonly referred to as the “Road Fund,” is an incentive tool designed to alleviate transportation issues related to a specific company’s location or expansion decision. Eligible projects are those that facilitate economic development by eradicating location-specific transportation problems (e.g., access roads, signalization, road widening, etc.) on behalf of a specific eligible company (e.g., manufacturing, corporate/regional headquarters, and certain other multi-state business services). Up to $3,000,000 may be provided to a local government to implement the improvements.
Florida offers increased incentive awards and lower wage qualification thresholds for businesses locating in many urban core/inner city areas that are experiencing conditions affecting the economic viability of the community and hampering the self-sufficiency of the residents.
Enterprise Zone Program
Any Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County business can take advantage of substantial tax relief and other incentives by locating or expanding into a geographic area targeted by the state for revitalization. Many entrepreneurs are investing in these Enterprise Zones to earn incentives, such as thousands of dollars in credit for job creation in the targeted zone, refunds for business machinery, equipment and building materials used in the zone, and an exemption for electrical energy.
Credits against Florida corporate income tax are available for wages paid to new employees who live in the targeted area, property taxes paid on new or improved business property in the zone and donations to local community development projects. For more information, contact the City of Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency at 954-828-4347.
Florida offers incentives to businesses that locate in brownfield sites, which are underutilized industrial or commercial sites due to actual or perceived environmental contamination. The Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refund is available to encourage brownfield redevelopment.
A wide array of sound financial institutions and specialized government financing programs are available in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Short-term loans for real estate, equipment or operating capital are available for qualified applicants.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loan programs that provide financial aid to small businesses. A few of the most popular programs are Basic 7(a) Business Loan, Micro-Loans and the CDC/504 Program.
Micro-loan lenders and Certified Development Companies (CDC) work with the SBA to provide financing to small businesses. The Micro-Loan Program provides very small loans to start-up, newly established or growing small business concerns. Under this program, SBA makes funds available to non-profit community-based lenders (intermediaries) that, in turn, make loans to eligible borrowers in amounts up to a maximum of $35,000. The average loan size is about $10,500. Applications are submitted to the local intermediary and all credit decisions are made at the local level. For more information, visit www/sba.gov/financing/index/html.
Industrial Revenue Bond
Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) provide a source of long-term, sub-prime market financing of capital requirements for relocating or expanding manufacturing and tax exempt 501 C3 facilities. IRBs are securities issued by local governments or government agencies for the purpose of financing the capital costs of private and not for profit projects. Although the bonds are considered special obligations of a government unit and therefore exempt from federal income tax on the interest, the bonds are not backed by the faith and credit of the government or the government agency. The private borrower is responsible for the debt and must provide adequate security and guarantee the bond as outlined in section 18.62 of the Broward County Administrative Code. Several examples of capital costs that can be financed are land acquisition and construction costs, the acquisition of a building and a minimum renovation of 15 percent of the facility, as well as machinery and equipment. For more information, please call the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development at 954-357-5788.
South Florida Regional Planning Council Revolving Loan Fund
The South Florida Regional Planning Council Revolving Loan Fund provides loans of $50,000 to $300,000 to small to medium-sized businesses in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The loans are for existing businesses looking to expand or relocate, create jobs and/or retain jobs. Examples of loan uses include financing to expand to a new location, upgrading equipment and providing needed working capital. The loans provide opportunities for businesses to obtain financing where credit is not otherwise granted. Some of the criteria for receiving the loans include: the applicant must attempt to secure conventional financing first before applying; must show proof of denial from a conventional financier; and the owner must have a 10 to 20 percent equity stake in the project. Funding cannot be used for the acquisition of a business, business assets or stock. For more information visit www.sfrpc.com/rlf.htm.
Corporate Income Tax
Florida’s corporate income tax rate is one of the nation’s lowest at 5.5 percent of Florida net income. In Florida, that amounts to just over 6 percent of total state tax revenue. The national average is nearly 8.5 percent. In Broward County, businesses pay no corporate income tax on foreign source dividends (as defined in the federal tax code). They can also receive tax credits by hiring individuals from targeted groups. Adjusted federal income is apportioned to Florida, in accordance with a three-factor formula, which is the ratio of Florida’s portion of property, payroll and sales taxes to the totals of those factors in the firm’s entire operation. For more information, call the Florida Department of Revenue at 850-488-6800.
Florida Emergency Excise Tax
All businesses must file a Florida Emergency Excise Tax return, which is found in the Florida corporate tax form package. Other excise taxes are imposed on motor fuels, cigarettes, oil and gas at the port of production. Taxes also are levied on operating terminal facilities and handling pollutants.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance helps businesses navigate through the relocation or expansion process by serving as a government liaison to expedite project activity. In addition, The Alliance provides site selection assistance and can work as an intermediary for introductions to local real estate experts.
The Alliance also provides key market intelligence including demographics, labor availability, taxes, cost of living comparisons and research on request; workforce, recruitment and training assistance can also be provided. County and municipal partners offer fast-track permitting, a process that accelerates the normal time it takes to acquire permits.
For assistance from the Alliance, please call 954-524-3113.