Orange County Government, Florida

Job Creation Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions

What

What is the proposed tax exemption for economic development?

The ad valorem tax exemption for economic development is a proposed economic incentive program designed to encourage new businesses to locate in Orange County while assisting existing local businesses expand to create new job opportunities. If approved, the program will authorize the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to grant qualifying businesses a temporary County property tax exemption of up to 100% for up to 10 years.

When

When would the incentive program take effect in Orange County?

A voter referendum asking whether the Orange County Board of County Commissioners should be authorized to grant economic development ad valorem tax exemptions to qualifying businesses will appear on the Jan. 31, 2012 Presidential Preference Primary Election ballot. The application process could begin upon passage of the referendum.

Why

Why would the County want to have this program in its tool box?

These are uncertain economic times. The economic development ad valorem tax exemption program is designed to diversify the County’s business base by encouraging industries that offer higher-than-average salaries to locate here while helping existing businesses expand. The program would enable Orange County to more effectively attract new businesses.

How

How will it be administered and what are the costs?

Existing staff at the Orange County Office of Economic, Trade & Tourism Development will administer the program.

Competition

Will the program create more competition for existing businesses?

The program was envisioned to encourage diversification in the business community, not to create competition between existing businesses.

Participation

How can existing businesses take advantage of this opportunity?

This incentive would encourage existing businesses to expand, purchase new equipment, save jobs and create new jobs.

Taxes Involved

What taxes would be eligible for exemption?

Orange County property taxes on qualifying buildings and equipment would be eligible.

Schools & Cities

Would school or city taxes be affected?

No. The exemption would apply only to the countywide ad valorem tax levied by Orange County and would not apply to school taxes, city taxes or the taxes of any other entity.

Government Services

Would Orange 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 financial benefits to the County from increased employment and business diversification outweigh any temporary reduction in ad valorem tax revenues.

Ease of Approval

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 the Orange 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.

Threshold criteria For
new businesses or organizations

  • A business or organization that 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
  • A business or organization that is a qualified target industry and creates 10 or more full-time jobs paying an average wage above the average wage in this area; or
  • A business or organization that sells 50% or more of its goods outside the state and creates 25 or more full-time jobs; or
  • A business or organization that leases or owns office space on a site separate from any other commercial or industrial operation that it owns and creates 50 or more full-time jobs; or
  • A business or organization located in an Enterprise Zone or Brownfield Area that creates new full-time jobs.

Threshold criteria For
existing businesses or organizations

  • A business or organization that manufactures, processes, compounds, fabricates, or produces products at a fixed location and creates 10 or more full times jobs that are above the average wage in the area; or
  • A business or organization that is a qualified target industry and creates 10 or more full-time jobs that are above the average wage in the area; or
  • A business or organization that creates 25 or more full-time jobs and sells 50 % or more of its goods outside the State for each year the exemption is claimed; provided that the business increases operations on a site co-located 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%; or
  • A business or organization located in an Enterprise Zone or Brownfield Area that increases operations on a site located within the same zone or area co-located with a commercial or industrial operation owned by the same business or organization.

Eligible Buildings & Equipment

Are existing buildings and equipment eligible for exemption?

No. Only new buildings and new equipment built or purchased by a qualifying business after the application for exemption is filed are eligible. Land is not eligible. Equipment purchased to replace existing equipment is not eligible. If the property has been taxed before, it is not eligible, regardless of any ownership change.

Retroactivity

Can the exemption be applied retroactively?

No. It applies only to new construction and new equipment constructed or purchased after the application for exemption has been filed.

Starting Time

Can businesses apply for an exemption before Jan. 31, 2012?

No. Applications will not be accepted before the special referendum is approved by voters.

Compliance

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 or organization which does not achieve the performance requirements specified in the individual authorizing ordinance could/would have the ad valorem tax exemption revoked in whole or in part.

Contact Us

Office of Economic Development
Eric Ushkowitz, Economic Development Administrator
Email: Eric.Ushkowitz@ocfl.net
Phone: (407) 836-7370

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Orange County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Orange County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.