COVINGTON -- Portions of Covington have been designated as opportunity zones by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, meaning business owners can take advantage of tax credits if they meet certain stipulations.
"This was yet another step in our Urban Redevelopment Plan aimed at helping the business community. It's taken us two long years hammering away at some of our blight problems, and we're starting to see some results," said Mayor Kim Carter. "This was a great victory for Covington and my thanks to (Planning Director) Randy Vinson for his technical expertise and persistence and the Covington Redevelopment Authority for their thoughtful work together."
The city qualified for the designation through its Urban Redevelopment Plan. Local governments that undertake redevelopment and revitalization efforts in older commercial and industrial areas can qualify those areas for the tax credits. The credits are aimed at areas with high poverty, distress and blight. The downtown business district and U.S. Highway 278 corridor are the predominant areas in Covington covered in the opportunity zones, according to Brian Williamson, DCA's assistant commissioner for community development.
New or existing businesses that create two or more jobs are eligible to receive credits of up to $3,500 per job created. The credits can be taken against the business's income tax liability or, under certain circumstances, state payroll withholdings. The credits apply to jobs created on or after Jan. 1 of this year.
Williamson said credits have been given on approximately 2,000 jobs in the metro Atlanta area thus far to businesses of all sizes, from a large biotech company to a small sandwich shop.
The opportunity zone designation is valid through June 29, 2029, with an opportunity for renewal at that time.