The Ohio Enterprise Zone program is an economic development tool administered by municipal and county governments that provides real and personal property tax exemptions to businesses making investments in Ohio. In order to use the Enterprise Zone program, communities petition to the Ohio Department of Development for certification of a geographical zone with a contiguous boundary. Once a zone is certified, communities may enter into negotiated agreements with businesses that invest in the zone.
Enterprise zones are designated areas of land in which businesses can receive tax incentives in the form of tax exemptions on eligible new investment. The zone's geographic area is identified by the local communities involved in the creation of the zone. The boundary should (1) include areas appropriate for business development, (2) have a single continuous boundary, (3) meet minimum population requirements, and (4) evidence the distress characteristics, when applicable. Once a zone is defined, the local legislative authority participating in the creation must petition the director of the Development Services Agency. The director must then certify the area for it to become an active Enterprise Zone.
Local communities may offer tax incentives for non-retail projects that are establishing or expanding operations in the State of Ohio. Real property investments are eligible for tax incentives, as well as personal property investments for those entities that continue to pay personal property tax. Tax incentives are negotiated at the local level, and an enterprise zone agreement must be in place before the project begins. Businesses interested in pursuing these incentives should contact the local Enterprise Zone Manager.