There’s no time like the present to plan ahead—especially on the heels of tax season. Whether your business experienced unexpected savings or what felt like some surprise bills, this is a great time to think ahead and be ready for next year. With good planning and OEDIT’s Enterprise Zone (EZ) Program, you can earn incentives that can help make your growth strategies a reality.
New to the EZ Program? It was established by the Colorado legislature to encourage development in economically distressed areas of the state. Sixteen Enterprise Zones were identified as having high unemployment rates, low per capita income or slow population growth, and specific incentives were put in place to boost economic development.
If your business is located in an Enterprise Zone, you may be eligible to earn income tax credits and/or sales and use tax exemptions as you grow.
Real World Benefits for Growing Businesses
One Colorado business benefiting from the Enterprise Zone Program is ROXBOX Containers, a Denver-based, minority-owned business that repurposes steel shipping containers into food & beverage, commercial and industrial spaces (pictured above). Recent projects included a custom container bar for Left Hand Brewing, a training unit for Laborers’ International Union of North America and retail huts for a holiday village in downtown Detroit.
After receiving gap financing from the Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) small business loan program, ROXBOX was able to move to a larger facility first in Denver’s Elyria Swansea neighborhood and later into a 35,000 square foot facility in Montebello, which is in an Enterprise Zone. The move not only allowed the company to quadruple its size and expand product offerings, but also benefit from the EZ Program.
"With the amazing support of DEDO and OEDIT's EZ Program, we've been able to accelerate the growth of our business, hire more Coloradans, and solidify our position as an industry-leader in modular containerized manufacturing," said Anthony Halsch, CEO of ROXBOX
As ROXBOX grew from 10 to 25 employees earning an average hourly rate of $35, leaders also pre-certified ROXBOX as an Enterprise Zone business and spent $60,000 on training for employees at the new facility. Investments in qualified training costs earn a 12% income tax credit, so ROXBOX reduced their state income tax liability by $7,200.
Che Sheehan, Program Manager of the Enterprise Zone program, says this is exactly the kind of support the program is intended to provide.
“Colorado business owners are innovative, dedicated and hard working. They have big dreams for their companies and ideas to make it happen. Our goal is to help make those plans a reality through tax incentives and other forms of support so their companies—and their communities—thrive,” Sheehan said.
Becoming an Enterprise Zone Business
ROXBOX leaders set themselves up to benefit from the Enterprise Zone Program by planning ahead and pre-certifying prior to each tax year. That step is simple and worth the effort—businesses whose investments meet specific eligibility requirements (described in the Enterprise Zone Income Tax Credit Guide available here) can draw on seven different tax credits and incentives to support expansion of their operations:
- Job Training Tax Credit
- New Employee Tax Credit
- Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Tax Credit
- Research and Development Tax Credit
- Vacant Commercial Building Rehabilitation Tax Credit
- Commercial Vehicle Investment Tax Credit
- Investment Tax Credit
- Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Manufacturing and Mining
If you have a business in an enterprise zone, get started now. To learn more and determine whether you qualify, visit https://oedit.colorado.gov/enterprise-zone-program or contact Sheehan for more information.