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Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions
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Overview
Existing business criteria
New business criteria
Monitoring/enforcement
Frequently asked questions

Maps
Florida counties & cities in 2010 with
a local option for ad valorem
tax abatement
(source: City of St. Petersburg)

Florida counties with a local option for
ad valorem tax abatement in 2010

(source: Enterprise Florida)

Legal Links
Recommendation for Referendum
(BCC Agenda Item 17 | Approved 06/03/2014)
Florida Statute 196.1995 Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption

Questions?
Pinellas County
Economic Development
(727) 464-7332
EconDev@pinellascounty.org
Contact Us 

 

Pinellas County Property Tax Abatement for Economic Development
Ad Valorem Tax Exemption


Overview 
To encourage job growth and new investment in Pinellas County, on August 26, 2014, Pinellas voters authorized the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners to consider granting property tax exemptions for existing expanding businesses or new businesses that are creating new jobs.

At least 38 counties, including Hillsborough and Sarasota, and 20 cities including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Largo already offer some form of this ad valorem tax exemption.

The program authorizes Pinellas County to consider granting qualifying businesses a temporary County property tax exemption of up to 100% on new capital improvement and/or equipment purchases for up to 10 years. This incentive will have no impact on what the company is currently paying in County taxes on existing land, buildings, infrastructure and equipment.

Fast Facts

  • A referendum was approved by the 63% voters of Pinellas County to allow the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners to consider granting property tax exemptions to expanding businesses.
  • Exemptions will not increase taxes for Pinellas County residents.
  • All grants of exemptions must be approved by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.
  • The exemption benefit cannot exceed a 10-year period.
  • The program does not exclude qualifying business from school taxes or taxes levied by any other entity.
  • Qualifying companies must meet threshold criteria for consideration.
  • Only new buildings and new equipment built or purchased to accommodate new employees are eligible. Land is not eligible for the exemption.
  • A business or organization that fails to meet performance requirements or benchmarks will have the exemption revoked in whole or in part.

 

What are the threshold criteria for existing businesses?

An existing business may qualify if it

  • Manufactures, processes, compounds, fabricates, or produces products at a fixed location and creates 10 or more full time jobs that are above the average wage in the area; or
  • Is within a qualified target industry and creates 10 or more full-time jobs that are above the average wage in the area; or
  • Creates 25 or more full-time jobs and sells 50 % or more of its goods or services outside the State for each year the exemption is claimed; provided that the business increases operations on a site colocated with a commercial or industrial operation owned by the same business, resulting in a net increase in employment of at least 10% or an increase in productive output of at least 10%.

 

What are the threshold criteria for new businesses?

A new business may qualify if it

  • Manufactures, processes, compounds, fabricates, or produces products at a fixed location and creates 10 or more full-time jobs paying an average wage above the average wage in this area; or
  • Is within a qualified target industry and creates 10 or more full-time jobs paying an average wage above the average wage in this area; or
  • Sells 50% or more of its goods pr services outside the state and creates 25 or more full-time jobs; or
  • Owns office space on a site separate from any other commercial or industrial operations that it owns and creates 50 or more full-time jobs.


Monitoring and Enforcement

How will Pinellas County monitor businesses that receive an ad valorem tax exemption to ensure that the business fulfills the representations made in the application? Businesses that are granted an economic development ad valorem tax exemption will be required to file an Annual Report. This Annual Report is a status report from the business to determine if the performance requirements have been met. Reported employment gains will be compared with state records for accuracy.


What happens if a business that has been granted an ad valorem tax exemption fails to comply with the job creation requirements of the Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Program? A business that does not achieve the performance requirements or file an Annual Report as specified in the application would have the ad valorem tax exemption revoked in whole or in part.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ad valorem tax exemption for economic development? It is an economic incentive designed to assist existing local businesses with expansion and create new job opportunities. It will also encourage new businesses to choose Pinellas County. The program authorizes the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners to review and grant qualifying businesses a temporary County property tax abatement for up to 10 years on new equipment and improvements to facilities.

Why would the County want to have this program in its tool box? The economic development ad valorem tax exemption program is designed to help existing businesses expand and encourage industries that offer higher-than-average salaries to locate here. The program enables Pinellas County to more effectively stimulate job creation. At least 38 counties and 20 cities in Florida also have this incentive, and it allows us to better compete for relocation projects.

Will the program create more competition for existing businesses? The program is targeted at companies that have the majority of their customers outside of Pinellas County, not at firms that would be competing for business in the local market.

What are the advantages for existing local businesses? This incentive can help existing businesses to expand, purchase new equipment and create new jobs.

What taxes are eligible for exemption? Pinellas County property taxes on qualifying buildings and equipment are eligible. Both the countywide millage and the Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU) millage in unincorporated areas are eligible.

Will school taxes be affected? No. The exemption only applies to the countywide ad valorem tax levied by Pinellas County and/or the MSTU tax. It does not apply to school taxes or the taxes of any other entity.

Will Pinellas County’s services be affected? There are no anticipated impacts to the County’s existing services as a result of the program. In fact, the long-term expectation is that the economic impact to the County from increased investment will actually increase revenues at the end of the abatement period. Current tax levels on the incentivized properties will be unaffected. Only the taxes on improvements to buildings and the value of new equipment are eligible for abatement.

Are companies that apply automatically granted an exemption? No. Companies must first meet threshold criteria required by state law. If all criteria are met, an application will be considered by Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners at a public hearing where public input is taken. The board will have discretion to grant or deny exemption applications and to determine the percentage and duration of the exemption. Each exemption is granted on a case by case basis.

Are existing buildings and equipment eligible for exemption? No. Only new buildings, expansions of existing buildings and new equipment purchased by a qualifying business are eligible. Land is not eligible. Equipment purchased to replace existing equipment is not eligible.

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