Business Incentive Programs
For additional information on programs, please contact the City of Clearwater’s Economic Development and Housing Department at (727) 562-4054.
Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund
The Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund is a tool available to Florida communities to encourage quality job growth in targeted, high value-added businesses.
Pre-approved applicants who create jobs in Florida receive a tax refund of $3,000 net per new full-time equivalent job created; $6,000 in an Enterprise Zone. For businesses paying 150 percent of the average annual wage, add $1,000 per job; for businesses paying 200 percent of the average annual wage, add $2,000 per job. New or expanding businesses in selected targeted industries or corporate headquarters are eligible.
If approved, the applicant may receive refunds on the taxes paid. This includes corporate income, sales, ad valorem, intangible personal property, insurance premium, communications services, and certain other taxes. There is a cap of $5 million per single qualified applicant in all years, and no more than 25 percent of the total refund approved may be taken in any single fiscal year.
In order to participate, a company must apply to Enterprise Florida (EFI) prior to making a decision to locate or expand in Florida. All final decisions on applications are based upon all available information at that time.
Any business decisions, such as announcements, leasing of space or hiring of employees, made prior to submission of a complete, effective QTI application, will be grounds for disqualification. Projects that clearly do not require inducement will not be approved.
- Be in a target industry;
- Submit an application before making a decision to locate or expand in Florida, and demonstrate that the tax refund will make a material difference in the company’s decision to locate or expand in the community.
- Create at least 10 net, new, full-time equivalent jobs and, if an expansion project, increase employment by at least 10 percent (whichever is greater).
- Pay an average annual wage that is at least 115 percent of the state, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), or the local average wages.
- Provide a resolution from the city council and county commission recommending the applicant for the incentive and committing the community to provide a local match equaling 20 percent of the tax refund. If located in a designated brownfields area, the business may elect to be exempt from the local match and accept a refund equal to 80 percent of the refund for which they would otherwise qualify.
Incumbent Worker Training (IWT)
The Incumbent Worker Training Program (IWT) is funded by the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and administered by Workforce Florida, Inc. Through this program, Florida is able to provide training to currently employed workers to keep Florida’s workforce competitive in a global economy and to retain existing businesses.
- Applications for the Incumbent Worker Training Program are open to all for-profit Florida businesses that have been in operation for a minimum of one year prior to the application date and require training for existing employees.
- Business must have at least one full-time employee.
- Business must demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations.
- Training services can be provided through Florida’s community colleges, school districts, area vocational-technical centers, state universities, licensed and certified post secondary private institutions and from subject matter experts, consultants, or trainers from the business.
- Training can be conducted at the business’s own facility, at the training provider’s facility or at a combination of sites.
- Businesses must provide a matching contribution to the training project.
- Training must be completed by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, of each calendar year.
Quick Response Training (QRT)
The Quick Response Training (QRT) Program is customer-driven and designed as an inducement to secure new value-added businesses to Florida, as well as provide existing businesses the necessary training for expansion. Through this incentive, Florida is able to effectively retain, expand and attract employers offering high-quality jobs. The program is flexible and structured to respond quickly to meet the business’s training objectives. Workforce Florida, Inc., the state’s public-private partnership created to coordinate job-training efforts, administers the program.
- Eligible projects are new or expanding/existing Florida businesses that produce exportable goods or services, create new permanent, full-time jobs and employ Florida workers who require customized entry-level skills training.
- Training can be conducted at the business’s own facility, at the training provider’s facility, or at a combination of sites that best meets the needs of the business.
- Program instructors can be either full or part-time educators, vendors, subject matter experts or professional trainers from the business.
- A local, state educational entity, community college, area vocational technical center or university, is selected by the business to serve as the fiscal agent for the grant funds and is available to assist in the application process, program development and delivery. Training is limited to 24 months or less.
- The company is required to post all job openings associated with the QRT project through the local regional workforce development board’s one-stop center. The one-stop center is available to provide, free of charge to the company, assistance in recruiting potential trainees for initial screening, testing and other services. The criteria (such as education and skill levels) and the selection of trainees is the responsibility of the business.
A Brownfields site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. These sites are usually impaired by a negative environmental stigma.
The designated Clearwater Brownfields Area’s northern boundary is Sunset Point Road, southern boundary is Belleair Road, eastern boundary is Missouri Avenue to Highland Avenue, western boundary is Fort Harrison that includes Pierce Boulevard and an extension of Drew Street that runs along the waterfront.
View Brownfields Map for Clearwater
Brownfields Environmental Site Assessment
Grant funding, up to a maximum of $5,000, is available for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESA). A Phase I ESA requires research of the property involved in the transaction and of surrounding properties for the existence of potential environmental impacts and liabilities.
A pre-approved 50/50 grant match up to $10,000 may be awarded for a Phase II ESA to assist in the actual testing of a particular property and determination of the proper mitigation strategy and associated costs involved in future abatement and remediation.
Brownfields Redevelopment Bonus Refund
A $2,500 tax refund is available for each new job created by an eligible business in the designated Brownfields Area. Applicants must meet the program requirements of the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund.
Sales Tax Credit on Building Materials
A sales tax credit on building materials is available for construction of housing or mixed-use projects located in the designated Brownfields Area. At least 20 percent of the units in a housing project or 20 percent of a mixed-use project’s square footage must be set aside for low-income and moderate-income residents.
Cleanup Liability Protection
Cleanup liability protection is available for projects that have an executed Brownfields Site Remediation Agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
SBA HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program
Census Tract 259.02 and 262.00
The program seeks to encourage economic development in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones) through the establishment of preferences for award of Federal contracts to small businesses located in these areas. The program falls under the auspices of the U.S. Small Business Administration. As of October 1, 2000, all Federal departments and agencies involved with procurement must factor into their contracting plans annual goals that have been established for the HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program. Purpose of the HUBZone program is to provide federal contracting assistance for qualified small business concerns located in the HUBZone.
To participate in the HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program, a concern must be determined to be a “qualified HUBZone small business concern” if the following four requirements are met:
Small business by SBA standards
Principal office is located in a “historically underutilized business zone” (HUBZone)
It is owned and controlled by one or more U.S. citizens, a community development corporation, or native American tribe.
At least 35% of concerned employees reside in a HUBZone.
Another benefit for which HUBZone businesses are eligible is higher SBA-guaranteed surety bonds on construction and service contract bids.
Additional information can be obtained at www.sba.gov/hubzone. The South Florida District HUBZONE Office at (305) 536-5841, works with the City of Clearwater.