Entrepreneurs Learn About DC Financial Incentives

July 7, 2013

On June 12th, a panel of government officials presented local entrepreneurs with an in-depth look at the Financial Incentives to doing business in the District of Columbia. This panel, part of the monthly Doing Business 2.0 seminar hosted by WDCEP, included topics of tax credits, the Great Streets Initiative, the DC Revenue Bond Program, and access to capital.

Jenifer Boss, the Director of Sectors in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, spoke on the DC tech incentives, Supermarket tax credits, and work opportunity tax credit. The District of Colombia offers five-year exemptions from corporate income tax, new hire credits up to $10,000, and relocation reimbursements up to $7,500 per person for technology companies. Additionally, supermarkets can get 10-year abatements on real property taxes, personal property taxes, and from license fees according to Boss. Also, there is a federal tax credit for employers hiring veterans which can generally translate into a tax credit equal to 25% or 40% of a new employee’s first year wages Boss said. Businesses can send a letter to DC Office of Taxation and Revenue to verify eligibility for any of these incentives.

Emmanuel Bellegarde, Director of the Great Streets Initiative in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development presented the Greet Streets program. This program is an effort to transform under-invested corridors, improve transportation options, improve community-serving retail, and physical streetscapes Bellegarde said. The locations of focus are 7th St and Georgia Avenue, Benning Road NE, Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue/South Capitol Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, Minnesota Avenue SE, Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE, North Capitol Street, Rhode Island Avenue NE, and H Street NE. The funding for these projects will be determined in July, at which point businesses can start applying for projects on the Great Streets. According to Bellegarde, the Initiative will look to have the agreements to allocate the next round of funds signed in October 2013.

Greg Johnson, Project Manager of the DC Revenue Bond Program—Enterprise Zone Program, provided a detailed look at the bonds available to business owners. The Revenue Bond/Enterprise Zone Program provides below market interest rate loans to help lower the cost of funds available for capital projects. According to Johnson, these are generally 2% lower than what banks are offering and are for longer periods of time (20 to 30 year loans available). For fiscal year 2012, the program issued $321 million and generally issue deals at a bottom threshold of $1.5 million to $2 million, but can issue lower if approved Johnson said. The application process takes about 60 to 90 days according to Johnson. Businesses are encouraged to schedule a pre-application meeting to evaluate their qualifications.

David Arriola, Business Development Specialist at the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) spoke on gaining access to capital. The DSLBD aims are providing access to resources, business opportunities and technical assistance. Businesses can go to DSLBD to get a certification and introduced to an appropriate lender Arriola said. Some of the key forms looked at for certifications are tax returns, profit/loss statements, and balance sheets of the businesses.

Doing Business 2.0 panels are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 575 7th Street, NW, Washington DC 20004 thanks to the continued support of Venable, LLP.

Posted Under: DC News