City of Columbia offers workshop for businesses to learn about 2013 federal tax credits

The city of Columbia is offering a free workshop to inform businesses in the Columbia-Sumter Empowerment Zone about tax credits and incentives to help create jobs.

Partnering with the Columbia Empowerment Zone Inc., the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and business tax credit adviser RetroTax, the city will educate business owners on various tax incentives available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Renewal Program.

The workshop is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce at 930 Richland St.

Columbia Empowerment Zone Inc. Executive Director Felicia Malone said the zone falls mainly in the downtown Columbia area including the Vista and Five Points, but it also extends through North Main Street and Two Notch and Farrow roads.

Businesses can claim these incentives for 2013 tax returns and also can amend their taxes up to three prior years to take advantage of the credits, Malone said.

Businesses can take advantage of tax incentives that include an annual EZ employment credit of up to $3,000 for employees who live and work in an empowerment zone as well as a work opportunity tax credit of up to $2,400 for each new employee between the ages of 18 to 39 who lives in an empowerment zone.

Malone said any business owners should attend regardless of whether their businesses are within the empowerment zones, as representatives will discuss other tax incentives that are available.

“This is a great workshop for lawyers and CPAs who are not as familiar with these tax credits,” she said.

“We are very excited to partner with the City of Columbia and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce for this workshop,” said Alan Newcomb, CEO of RetroTax. “At this event, we aim to ensure the local businesses in the Columbia-Sumter Empowerment Zone receive every available tax credit and incentive to which it’s entitled.  We look forward to helping them reduce their tax liability while demonstrating our commitment to excellent customer service.”

An empowerment zone is a federally-designated distressed community that is in need of economic development. Congress authorized the Empowerment Zone/Empowerment Community initiative in 1994, 1998 and 2001 as a form of competitions to develop implementation plans to revitalize the affected communities.

The Empowerment Zone, Empowerment Community and Rural Community designations all expired by 2009 but were extended to Dec.31, 2011, through the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.

The Empowerment Zone designation was renewed once again in Jan. 2, 2013, after President Barack Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. It expired Dec. 31.

Business owners can find out if their physical address is within the Columbia-Sumter Empowerment Zone at the HUD Empowerment Zone locator.

Online registration is available at the workshop’s Eventbrite page or at the city’s website.

Categories: Business