Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ask Margo: Frequently Asked Questions about economic incentives (Part I)

Recently, I’ve been receiving a number of calls from businesses that are participating in Florida incentives. Some of their concerns have been related to what needs to be done to qualify for their payments, how to prepare for their reporting requirements and, what happens if they are unable to meet the schedule requirements?
My guess is if some businesses have asked these questions, there may be others who have the same concerns. As a result, I thought it would be fitting to answer some of these questions here. The following list encompasses questions I’ve received as well as others that may not have been asked yet, but will come up. If your burning question is not included, email your questions to me at and I will add your question to the list. To avoid information overload, I will present these questions in a series of posts. So, I urge you to return next week. 

My QTI project has been approved! Now what? What’s the NEXT step?
Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to negotiate your incentive project. You should give your team a pat on the back for a job well done. The NEXT type in the incentive process is to prove to the State that you meet the requirements to receive your payment. However, before you can do that effectively, I strongly suggest you make the decision to assign someone to manage the project on your behalf. If you choose to use a consultant for this process, you should find someone who is an expert on economic incentives, and who is familiar with the compliance management process. Be aware that most Incentive Consultants ONLY prepare their client’s annual reporting because it is profitable for them. If you choose to utilize your team, you need to participate in a training program that will provide you with the tools needed to successfully manage and report your project commitments.

Why is it taking so long to receive my payment?
Many businesses ask this question after their claims have been submitted to the State’s agent for review and approval. Unfortunately, the payment process takes some time. Project claim applications and supporting documents are due to the State’s agent by January 31st of each year. The agent is responsible for analyzing your incentive claim application and support documents to confirm that you satisfy your incentive project commitments in order to receive your payment.

The State’s fiscal year begins July 1st of each year. As such, the State cannot make a payment until the funds are available. In addition, the State CANNOT make a payment until it has received the local match (usually 20%) from the participating local government. For example, if a business submitted its claim in January 2011 (the State’s 2011/2012 fiscal year), the State will receive most of the local match payments in the local governments corresponding 2011/2012 fiscal year, which begins October 1st each year. What this means: if your County or City chooses to make its payment in October is, the State will process your payment once it receives the County or City’s local match payment. Therefore, it is safe to say that most businesses do not receive their scheduled payments until the last quarter of each year.

Stay tuned to next week's update of FAQ. As always, if you have any questions about tax incentives, feel free to contact me at

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