In accordance with the State of Georgia’s Enterprise Zone Employment Act of 1997, the City of Douglas has established five (5) Enterprise Zones in the city to encourage revitalization and investment in the areas. Property owners, who apply for the incentive program and successfully achieve and maintain the criteria set by the program, may qualify for abatement of municipal ad valorem (property) taxes for a ten (10) year period on business, commercial, and residential properties within the established Enterprise Zone geographic areas.
The criteria that must be met in these areas are set specifically to job creation, land improvement, and EZ Approved Residential Property-Home Ownership Purchases. All criteria requirements are listed in detail on the Enterprise Zone Application for Incentives. For more information about the Douglas Enterprise Zones, please call the Community Development Office at (912)383-0277, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.cityofdouglasga.gov.
The program offers abatement of municipal ad valorem (property) taxes for a ten-year period on business, commercial, and residential properties located within the designated geographic area, when property owners successfully achieve and maintain one of the following criteria.
- Job Creation – A business or service enterprise within an EZ must create and maintain a minimum of five (5) new full-time equivalent jobs at the time of application to receive tax abatement. The five jobs must be new positions above and beyond the existing/prior positions employed by the business, thereby reflecting the creation of five “additional jobs.” The five new jobs must not have a pre-determined end date, include a regular work week of 30+ hours or more, and have the same benefits provided to similar employees. The five jobs must be maintained throughout the ten-year period of abatement in order to maintain tax exemption. Additionally, qualifying business or service enterprises must make improvements to the property.
- Land Improvement (Construction/Rehabilitation) – A business, service enterprise, or other party carrying out new residential construction, residential rehabilitation, or other rehabilitation of an existing structure within an EZ such that the value of the improvement(s) exceeds the value of the land by a ratio of five to one by the Coffee County Tax Assessors valuation.
- EZ-Approved Residential Property - Home Ownership Purchase – To encourage home ownership in EZ areas, initial home buyers purchasing EZ-approved residential properties for primary residency, and where the property developer has met the five to one increase in value of the property, shall be eligible to obtain tax abatement for this same property. A Notification of Sale of EZ Approved Residential Property/Home Owners Application form with new home owner information and necessary proof of sale documentation is required.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Once property tax abatement is granted, the incentive remains in effect for the full ten-years, regardless of the expiration of the Enterprise Zone area designation. However, failure of EZ applicants to accomplish the applicable criterion stated above can result in revocation of the tax abatement and recapture of any and all abated taxes or other incentives granted. EZ applicants must show verifiable proof to document compliance with EZ program requirements. Applicants approved for EZ Job Creation incentives must provide proof annually of the maintenance of these jobs to the City of Douglas’ Office of Community Development no later than 30 days following the close of each calendar year in which taxes were abated