Enterprise Zone designation means tax credits for growing businesses | SteamboatToday.com

Enterprise Zone designation means tax credits for growing businesses

Teresa Ristow

The area shaded in purple represents locations that will be included in the Northwest Colorado Enterprise Zone beginning Jan. 1. The majority of the area around Steamboat was previously included in the Enterprise Zone while the city of Steamboat Springs was excluded.

— Steamboat Springs' upcoming re-designation as an Enterprise Zone will make local businesses and non-profits eligible for a variety of tax credits from the state.

Businesses that are expanding operations, hiring employees for new positions or purchasing new vehicles and equipment are the most likely to benefit, as well as non-profits, which will be able to offer additional tax-credit incentives to donors.

Representatives from businesses and non-profits in Steamboat Springs and the surrounding area attended a packed presentation Wednesday at the Historic Routt County Courthouse to hear more about how to benefit from the program, which most recently included all the surrounding areas, but excluded Steamboat Springs.

"What this really wants to accomplish is stimulate business growth," said Bonnie Petersen, executive director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado. "(The state) wants to drive new revenue into the community and drive growth."

Steamboat Springs officially becomes part of the Northwest Enterprise Zone on Jan. 1, but interested businesses can sign up now to pre-certify for the credits.

Attendees at Wednesday’s event were reminiscent of Steamboat’s designation as part of an Enterprise Zone many years ago.

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"In the past, the town of Steamboat Springs became excluded — there was some misguided notion that, because it's a ski town, that it had to be (economically) healthy,” Petersen said.

After Jan. 1, any certified business purchasing a new, non-replacement vehicle, hiring or insuring employees for new positions or renovating a vacant building can benefit with credits.

Every employee hired for a new position earns the respective company a $1,100 credit, while insuring a new position earns $1,000. Job training can earn a 12-percent credit, and research and development expenditures can earn a 3-percent credit.

Non-profits approved for a specific contribution project can boost donations by letting donors know that gifts are not only tax deductible, but also eligible for a 25-percent return credit to be used toward taxes. Petersen and co-presenter Maria King, administrator for the Northwest Enterprise Zone, said that, in the past, they've seen restaurants, retail establishments, manufacturing and mining companies and many other businesses take advantage of the credits.

"This Enterprise Zone really is a good economic driver in the region," Petersen said.

The program requires businesses to declare their investments or plans for hiring beforehand to receive the credits rather than just reporting them at tax time. This requirement makes it imperative that businesses sign up in advance to become certified, regardless of whether they plan to take any actions that would qualify for credits.

For more information about the Enterprise Zone, to read details of all the tax credits available and to apply for certification visit advancecolorado.com. Specific questions can be directed by email to King at mariaking@agnc.org. Those with questions can also call 970-285-7630, ext. 109.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow