News and Insights

Comptroller Rylander Authorizes Business Tax Credits For Most Counties

Tax Development Sep 28, 1999

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander today released a list of counties where businesses can apply for hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax breaks authorized by the Legislature last session.

"These incentives will ignite growth across the state, including in El Paso," Rylander said. "This is exactly what we need to maintain Texas' position as a national leader in technology job growth."

Rylander praised the sponsors -- Senators Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, David Sibley, R-Waco, Royce West, D-Dallas, and Representatives Brian McCall, R-Plano, and Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville. She also hailed the work of Senators Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso and Representative Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas.

"Without the exceptional efforts of these individuals, this monumental tax break program would never have seen the light of day," she said.

The new franchise tax credits include a research credit, a job creation credit, and an investment credit and will become available to most taxpayers beginning in 2001. The credits are available for tax reports due on or after January 1, 2000 and are for research conducted, jobs created, or investments made on or after that date.

"All three tax credits are real and businesses large and small will benefit," Rylander said. "The total dollar amount of the tax breaks will depend on how many businesses take advantage of this tremendous tax credit program."

"My vision for the 21st century is paychecks and jobs for Texans, limited government, and unlimited opportunity, and these credits fit with my vision for Texas," she said.

Research Credit

The research credit is available to firms that perform qualified research in Texas. It is based on the firm's annual increase in research activities over the prior year.

Four percent of qualified research expenses will be credited for tax reports due through the end of 2001, and that credit will increase to 5 percent for tax reports due from 2002 on.

Job Creation Credit

Companies that create jobs in selected counties may qualify for a job credit equal to 25 percent of the wages paid to new hires in their first year of employment.

To qualify, a corporation must create at least 10 jobs, pay at least 110 percent of the county's average weekly wage, pay health benefits and be engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, wholesale distribution, computer services or research laboratories.

The credit is limited to 50 percent of the firm's tax liability in the year that credits are claimed. Unclaimed credits may be carried over for up to five years.

Investment Credit

Corporations that invest at least $500,000 in machinery and equipment can qualify for a franchise tax credit equal to 7.5 percent of that investment.

This credit, too, is limited to 50 percent of the firm's tax liability.

Rylander determined that 224 counties fall wholly or partially in the state Strategic Investment Areas. "In my most recent 'Texas Economic Update' it is reported that four of the nation's five poorest metro areas are in Texas all along the Texas/Mexico border, with El Paso MSA ranked number five in the nation," she said.

Of those, 115 counties qualify for full-purpose designation based on their relative unemployment rate and per-capita income. This designation will permit firms engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, wholesale distribution, computer services or research laboratories to apply for job creation, investment credits, and a research credit bonus.

Another group of 105 counties qualify only for the limited purpose designation based on their population. Corporations engaged in agricultural processing in these counties can apply for the job creation and investment credits.

The other four -- Dallas, Harris, Bexar, and McLennan counties -- meet the criteria to qualify for the full-purpose designation based on their selection as a federal urban enterprise community. Businesses in areas of the counties in the federally designated zones are eligible for the credits.

"Businesses should be eager to take advantage of this generous tax credit plan which will create good paying jobs for hard-working Texans," Rylander said.

Counties eligible for the full Strategic Investment Areas designation are:

Anderson Andrews Angelina Aransas Bailey
Baylor Bee Bowie Brazoria Brooks
Brown Calhoun Cameron Camp Cass
Cochran Coleman Cottle Crane Crockett
Crosby Culberson Dawson Deaf Smith Dimmit
Donley Duval Eastland Ector Edwards
El Paso Floyd Freestone Frio Gaines
Galveston Garza Gregg Grimes Hale
Hall Hardeman Hardin Harrison Hidalgo
Hockley Hopkins Howard Hutchinson Jasper
Jefferson Jim Hogg Jim Wells King Kinney
Kleberg Knox Lamar Lamb La Salle
Leon Liberty Limestone McCulloch Marion
Martin Matagorda Maverick Mitchell Morris
Navarro Newton Nolan Nueces Orange
Palo Pinto Panola Pecos Polk Potter
Presidio Reagan Red River Reeves Robertson
Rusk Sabine San Augustine San Patricio Scurry
Shackelford Shelby Smith Somervell Starr
Stonewall Terrell Terry Titus Trinity
Tyler Upshur Upton Uvalde Val Verde
Ward Webb Wharton Willacy Winkler
Wood Yoakum Young Zapata Zavala

The 105 counties that qualify for the limited purpose Strategic Investment Areas designation are:

Archer Armstrong Atascosa Austin Bandera
Blanco Borden Bosque Brewster Briscoe
Burleson Burnet Caldwell Callahan Carson
Castro Chambers Cherokee Childress Clay
Coke Collingsworth Colorado Comanche Concho
Cooke Dallam Delta DeWitt Dickens
Erath Falls Fannin Fayette Fisher
Foard Franklin Gillespie Glasscock Goliad
Gonzales Gray Hamilton Hansford Hartley
Haskell Hemphill Hill Hood Houston
Hudspeth Irion Jack Jackson Jeff Davis
Jones Karnes Kendall Kenedy Kent
Kerr Kimble Lampasas Lavaca Lee
Lipscomb Live Oak Llano Loving Lynn
McMullen Madison Mason Medina Menard
Milam Mills Montague Moore Motley
Ochiltree Oldham Parmer Rains Real
Refugio Roberts Rockwall Runnels San Jacinto
San Saba Schleicher Sherman Stephens Sterling
Sutton Swisher Throckmorton Van Zandt Waller
Washington Wheeler Wilbarger Wilson Wise

Each September, the Comptroller determines the Strategic Investment Areas.