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Incentives

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Rewarding you for your dedication to improving Cobb County

The Cobb County Economic Development Office will review individual projects and their overall economic impact to determine where additional incentive measures might be awarded.

The following are areas where incentives may be offered to a target business through an incentive program:

  • Assistance with permitting & construction processes
  • Ability to apply for cash grants from the Cobb Innovation Fund
  • Business license, plan review and building permit fees
  • Access to market, labor force and real estate data
  • Coordination with appropriate county, city, or state agencies
  • Liaison with workforce training providers
  • Inducements/grants from DACC or SCRDA
  • Water Systems incentives
  • Workforce Innovation Act funds
  • Assistance with transportation infrastructure
  • Ad Valorem property tax reduction

Incentives

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Purpose: The purpose of the entrepreneurship and innovation incentive program is to provide services, assistance, and/or incentives to entrepreneurs and innovators who are in high skilled fields to assist them in growing their business, creating jobs, and maintaining their presence in the county.


Eligibility: In order to qualify for the entrepreneurship and innovation incentive program, a business must meet the following criteria:

  1. Participated in the IgniteHQ business incubator program; participated in a program operated by an affiliate or partner of IgniteHQ; are a spin-off technology associated with the Georgia Tech Research Institute; or have graduated from an entrepreneurial training program.
  2. Be an existing business in Cobb County.
  3. The applicant must agree to remain in Cobb County for the three (3) years after the expiration of the mandatory incentives agreement.


Incentives: Companies eligible for the entrepreneurship and innovation incentive program may be eligible for a reduction of some or all of the following services:

  1. Ability to apply for cash grants from the Cobb Innovation Fund;
  2. A 50% reduction of the business license fee for two (2) years; and/or
  3. Assistance with permitting and construction processes.

A recipient of the entrepreneurship and innovation incentives shall consent to enter into a contractual agreement that outlines the incentives received by the business and a guideline for the recapture or reimbursement of the value of the incentives should the terms of the contract be violated by the business.

Small Business and New Start

Purpose: The purpose of the small business and new start incentive program is to provide services and business assistance to small businesses that meet the eligibility requirements below to assist them in growing their business in the county.


Eligibility: In order to qualify for the small business incentive program a business must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be an existing business that has been in continuous operations in Cobb County for at least one year.
  2. Be up-to-date on all state and local taxes.

Incentives: Companies eligible for small business incentive program may be eligible for a reduction of some or all of the following:

  1. Access to market data, labor force data, and real estate data;
  2. Coordination with appropriate county, city, or state agencies;
  3. Liaison with workforce training and assistance providers;
  4. Assistance with permitting and construction processes;
  5. Information on other local and state entities that can assist in the growth of small businesses;
  6. Inducements or grants authorized by the Development Authority of Cobb County or South Cobb Redevelopment Authority; and/or
  7. Water Systems incentives such as: water rates, flexible payment of sewer development fees, and reduction of sewer development fees as reviewed by the Water Systems and approved by the county manager.

Business Retention

Purpose: The purpose of the business retention incentive program is to provide services, assistance, and/or incentives to businesses that meet specific eligibility requirements listed in Section 2-171(b) to assist in keeping their business in the county under specified conditions in order to maintain jobs and tax base.

Eligibility: In order to qualify for the business retention incentive program a business must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be an existing business that has been in continuous operations in Cobb County for at least two (2) years.
  2. The applicant must agree to remain in Cobb County for three (3) years after the expiration of the mandatory incentives agreement.
  3. Be part of one of the following business clusters as determined by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS):
    1. Information technology and/or software;
    2. Professional and business services;
    3. Wholesale trade;
    4. Healthcare services;
    5. Research & development;
    6. Life sciences; or
    7. Travel & tourism.
  4. Be a business with at least fifty (50) employees.

The business retention incentive program is not eligible to companies that meet any of the following criteria:

  1. Are currently receiving incentives from the county or the Development Authority of Cobb County or the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority;
  2. Are not up to date on local or state taxes;
  3. To subsidize or artificially sustain businesses and industries when job losses or closing appear inevitable.

In no event shall any incentive result in payment of county funds as part of the targeted industry incentive program.
If the business moves out of Cobb County prior to the expiration of the incentives agreement or within a three-year period after the expiration of the agreement, all incentives provided to the business are to be paid back to the county.

Incentives: Companies eligible for the business retention incentive program may be
eligible for a reduction of some or all of the following:

  1. Access to market data, labor force data, and real estate data;
  2. Coordination with appropriate county, city, or state agencies;
  3. Liaison with workforce training and assistance providers;
  4. Water Systems incentives such as: water rates, flexible payment of sewer development fees, and reduction of sewer development fees, as reviewed by the Water Systems and approved by the county manager;
  5. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 funds as amended from time to time;
  6. Inducements / grants authorized by the Development Authority of Cobb County or South Cobb Redevelopment Authority;
  7. Assistance with permitting and construction processes; and/or
  8. Assistance with transportation infrastructure.

A recipient of business retention incentives shall consent to enter into a contractual agreement that outlines incentives received by the business and a guideline for the recapture or reimbursement of the value of the incentives should the terms of the contract be violated by the business.

Targeted Industry

Purpose: The purpose of the targeted industry incentive program is to provide services, assistance and/or incentives to businesses that meet the eligibility requirements below to assist them in relocating their business to the county or expanding their business in the county.


Eligibility: In order to qualify for the targeted industry incentive program a business must be part of one of the following growth clusters or core clusters as determined by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS)/Standard Industrial Classification codes:

  1. Aerospace and/or advanced equipment manufacturing;
  2. Information technology and/or software;
  3. Professional and business services;
  4. Wholesale trade;
  5. Healthcare services;
  6. Research & development;
  7. Life sciences; and
  8. Travel & tourism.

Unless otherwise provided, no incentive shall be offered or made available to an eligible business for the targeted industry incentive program unless two of the following criteria are met:

  1. Add at least 25 new jobs.
  2. Pay an average salary at least 1.25 times the county average for that industry as determined by the Georgia Department of Labor in the Employment and Wages Annual Report.
  3. Have an estimated economic impact requirement of $250,000.00 to the county during the incentive period.

In no event shall any incentive result in payment of county funds as part of the targeted industry incentive program.


Incentives: Companies eligible for the targeted industry incentive program may be eligible for a reduction of some or all of the following fees:

  1. Plan review fees;
  2. Business license fees;
  3. Water Systems incentives such as: water rates, flexible payment of sewer development fees, and reduction of sewer development fees, as reviewed by the Water Systems and approved by the county manager;
  4. Building permit fees;
  5. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 funds as amended from time to time;
  6. Inducements or grants authorized by the Development Authority of Cobb County or the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority;
  7. Assistance with transportation infrastructure; and/or
  8. Plan review, building permit, and business license fee incentives noted above may be reduced further when at least 10% of the new and required minimum jobs are filled by county residents living in census tracts with high unemployment rates as determined annually by the Georgia Department of Labor in the Employment and Wages Annual Report.

A recipient of targeted industry incentives shall consent to enter into a contractual agreement that outlines incentives received by the business and a guideline for the recapture or reimbursement of the value of the incentives should the terms of the contract be violated by the business.

Special Economic Impact

Purpose: The purpose of the special economic impact incentive program is to provide services and business assistance to businesses that meet the eligibility requirements below to assist them in relocating their business to the county or expanding their business in the county.


Eligibility: In order to qualify for the special economic impact incentive program a business must be part of one of the following:

  1. Headquarters: corporate, divisional, and/or regional;
  2. Financial, insurance, and professional services (law, accounting, and other professional services that predominantly serve the Metropolitan Atlanta Region are not eligible);
  3. Transportation/distribution (logistics);
  4. Manufacturing; and/or
  5. Emerging technologies/industries.

Unless otherwise provided, no incentive shall be offered or made available to an eligible business for the special economic impact incentive program unless two of the following criteria are met:

  1. Add at least 150 new jobs.
  2. Pay an average salary at least 1.25 times the county average for that industry as determined by the Georgia Department of Labor in the Employment and Wages Annual Report.
  3. Invests $30,000,000 or more in the county.

In no event shall any incentive result in payment of county funds as part of the special economic impact incentive program.
 

Incentives: Companies eligible for special economic impact incentive program may be eligible for a reduction of some or all of the following:

  1. Plan review fees;
  2. Business license fees;
  3. Water Systems incentive such as: water rates, flexible payment of sewer development fees, and reduction of sewer development fees, as reviewed by the Water Systems and approved by the county manager;
  4. Building permit fees;
  5. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 funds as amended from time to time;
  6. Inducements or grants authorized by the Development Authority of Cobb County or the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority;
  7. Assistance with transportation infrastructure; and/or
  8. Plan review, building permit, and business license fee incentives noted above may be reduced further when at least 10% of the new and required minimum jobs are filled by county residents living in census tracts with high unemployment rates as determined annually by the Georgia Department of Labor in the Employment and Wages Annual Report.

A recipient of special economic impact incentives shall consent to enter into a contractual agreement that outlines incentives received by the business and a guideline for the recapture or reimbursement of the value of the incentives should the terms of the contract be violated by the business.

Facade Improvement Program Incentive

Purpose: The purpose of the façade improvement program is to enhance the overall appearance of buildings within priority redevelopment areas, sites and corridors. Funding made available through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program will be used to assist property owners and tenants with making improvements to the appearance of building frontages. By improving the appearance of building facades, the program serves to improve the economic viability of these areas, increase property values, enhance marketability of space within buildings and draw new businesses.

Priorities: The priorities of the façade improvement program are:

  • Support the overall goals of the county’s comprehensive plan
  • Improve economically distressed areas
  • Eliminate and improve deteriorated buildings
  • Eliminate blighted properties
  • Address properties with significant code enforcement history
  • Improve properties at highly visible locations
  • Return vacant buildings to active use
  • Improve buildings located in areas where public investment is taking place
  • Help projects that leverage maximum private investment


Eligible Activities: Masonry repairs; storefront reconstruction; cornice repair; exterior painting and stucco; awnings and canopies.

Eligibility: In order to qualify for the façade improvement program, a property must meet the following criteria:
1) Be located in the county’s most recent inventory of redevelopment sites, or located in a corridor study area prepared by county staff and within a designated low moderate income census tract as determined periodically by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (see reverse).

Funding & Match Requirements: Funding is based on square footage of eligible façade. Buildings in eligible areas can received $25 per square foot with a maximum of $20,000 per building. Applicants must provide a match equal to or greater than 5% of the amount awarded. Program funding provided will be in the form of a loan with zero interest, forgiven at a rate of 20% each year over a five-year period with no payments required.

Commercial and Industrial Property Rehabilitation Program

Purpose: The purpose of this program is to encourage owners of older commercial use/industrial property (20 years or more in age) in select areas and sites around the county to revitalize those properties. The objective of revitalizing these areas is to contribute to economic growth by creating jobs and improving the county’s tax base. If the type of work conducted meets the program’s requirements, subject to Board of Tax Assessors (BTA) approval, the BTA will approve a valuation schedule on those improvements for up to five years based upon an escalating percentage of the fair market value of the improvements (excluding the value of land).


Eligibility:

  1. Only rehabilitative work performed after the approval of the application may be awarded an exemption amount under the program.
  2. The structure being improved must be a minimum of 20 years old.
  3. An approved project must be located within a corridor study area or included among those sites listed in the inventory of redevelopment sites.
  4. Improvements must be the result of a single project.
  5. The program incentives will not apply to personal property or the value of the land.
  6. The applicant’s property taxes must be current and paid on time for a minimum of three years and the applicant must have filed timely business personal property returns for each of the three years prior to applying.
  7. The program does not apply to projects built on vacant land.
  8. The program will apply to projects where the building is completely demolished and replaced by a new structure, provided the existing structure is at least 20 years old.
  9. Separate applications must be submitted for each tax parcel in which the owner is seeking participation in the program.
  10. Appropriate building permits, and any other local, state or federal approvals, must be obtained prior to work commencement.

Incentives: Approved applicants will receive a program incentive in the form of an effective reduction in ad valorem property taxes equal to the exemption amount. The exemption amount, in a given year, is equal to a percentage of the amount of ad valorem property taxes otherwise due on the incremental project value. The property tax incentive is made possible by titling ownership to the taxable assets into the name of the Development Authority which in turn leases these assets back to a private entity. The property title reverts to the owner/applicant immediately upon the end of the lease. While the project is titled to the Development Authority under this program, subject to BTA approval, the Fair Market Value of the leasehold interest of the applicant in such assets will increase as the lease term progresses.

For the purposes of this program, the applicable percentage will be applied in the following manner:

  • Year 1: 0 percent
  • Year 2: 20 percent
  • Year 3: 40 percent
  • Year 4: 60 percent
  • Year 5: 80 percent
  • Year 6: fully taxable

Should the building proposed for rehabilitation also be located in an Enterprise Zone, the applicant shall not qualify for both property tax incentives. The applicant may qualify for other incentives available through the Enterprise Zone but may only do so at the discretion of Cobb County. This abatement program is not available to properties or projects within a Tax Allocation District (TAD).

Enterprise Zones

An Enterprise Zone is an area designated by a local government as ready for development or redevelopment. Qualifying businesses locating or expanding within the Zone are eligible for certain tax incentives and other economic development incentives for job creation and capital investment in the community.

 Program Requirements

  • Companies creating new jobs or bringing significant investment to the area
  • Emphasis placed on redevelopment, locating in abandoned buildings or assembling tracts of land for development
  • Manufacturing, distribution, land development, and industrial building

Program Incentives

  • 10-year graduated tax abatement of County ad valorem tax only, no school tax abatement
  • Caps on building permit and business license permit fees
  • Assistance with other State incentives such as free training, job creation tax credits, and development authority financing

Opportunity Zones

Purpose: An incentive from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that provides credits to income tax liability and state payroll withholdings per job created within designated areas. The designated areas must be approved by DCA and are required to be areas in need of redevelopment or revitalization, which is an area or an area adjacent to a census block group with 15% or greater poverty and an enterprise zone or where an urban redevelopment plan exists.

 Program Requirements

  • New or existing businesses that create two (2) or more jobs
  • Available for any business (not sector specific)

Program Incentives

  • The maximum Job Tax Credit allowed under law - $3,500 per job created
  • Use of Job Tax Credits against 100% of Georgia income tax liability and withholding tax
  • Provides for businesses of any nature to qualify, not just a defined "business enterprise"

Military Zones

Purpose: An incentive from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that provides credits to income tax liability and state payroll withholdings per job created within designated areas. The designated areas must be approved by DCA and are required to be areas near military installations.


Program Requirements

  • New or existing businesses that create two (2) or more jobs
  • Available for any business (not sector specific)

Program Incentives

  • The maximum Job Tax Credit allowed under law - $3,500 per job created
  • Use of Job Tax Credits against 100% of Georgia income tax liability and withholding tax
  • Provides for businesses of any nature to qualify, not just a defined "business enterprise"

Georgia Tax Credit Opportunities

Less Developed Census Tracts

An incentive from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that provides for a statewide job tax credit for any business or headquarters of any such business engaged in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, processing, telecommunications, tourism, or research and development industries, but does not include retail businesses. If other requirements are met, job tax credits are available to businesses of any nature, including retail businesses, in counties recognized and designated as the 40 least developed counties. 

Program Requirements

  • New or existing businesses that create two (2) or more jobs
  • Available for any business (not sector specific)

Program Incentives

  • The maximum Job Tax Credit allowed under law - $3,500 per job created
  • Use of Job Tax Credits against 100% of Georgia income tax liability and withholding tax
  • Provides for businesses of any nature to qualify, not just a defined "business enterprise"

Job Tax Credit

Businesses in Georgia’s strategic industries can earn as much as $4,000 in annual tax savings for each new job created, for up to five years. The exact value of the job credits depends on two factors – how many jobs are created, and where.

Quality Jobs Tax Credit

Companies that create at least 50 jobs in a 24-month period – at wages that are at least 10 percent higher than the county average – may qualify for a tax credit of $2,500 to $5,000 per job. 

Port Tax Credit Bonus

Georgia companies that increase imports or exports through a Georgia port by at least 10 percent may qualify for either a $1,250 bonus added to the job tax credit or an adjustment to the investment tax credit.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Georgia’s Department of Labor administers a federal tax credit to Georgia companies that hire individuals who have faced barriers to employment. The tax credit ranges from $1,200 to $9,000 per hire.

Mega Project Tax Credit

Businesses that employ at least 1,800 “net new” employees and have either a minimum annual payroll of $150 million or make a minimum $450 million investment in Georgia may qualify for the mega project tax credit.

Investment Tax Credit

Companies in manufacturing or telecommunications support that have operated in Georgia for at least three years are eligible to earn investment tax credits of 1 percent to 8 percent of qualified capital investments of $50,000 or more.

Research And Development Tax Credit

Companies that spend more on qualified research in Georgia may qualify for an R&D tax credit equal to a percentage of that spending increase.

Retraining Tax Credit

Georgia businesses may offset their investment in retraining employees to use new equipment or learn new skills through a retraining tax credit. The credit equals 50 percent of direct training expenses, up to $500 credit per full-time employee, per training program.

Film, Television And Digital Entertainment Tax Credit

Film and television companies may receive a tax credit of up to 30 percent of money spent on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production or on multiple projects. Minimum spending amount is $500,000.

Musical Tax Credit

Beginning January 1, 2018, eligible production companies who meet the applicable spending threshold may receive a tax credit of up to twenty percent on qualified production expenditures on eligible musical or theatrical performances or recorded musical performances. Minimum spend is $500,000 for musical or theatrical performances, $250,000 for synchronized recorded musical performance, and $100,000 for any other recorded musical performance.