The City of Norfolk and the Commonwealth of Virginia offer a variety of business incentives to ensure business growth and sustainability. These include incentives that are determined by the business location, and others that are offered citywide. The Economic Development Department is ready to assist you and your business in learning about these incentive programs:
Technology Zone City Council adopted a technology zone program with an effective date of January 1, 2017, to encourage technology businesses to locate in a specific area (see Technology Zone map). The types of businesses that qualify as technology businesses include:
- Cybersecurity, personal security and property security;
- Sea level rise and recurrent flooding;
- Medical devices, medical diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biochemical engineering and other life sciences and health care technologies;
- Advanced materials and advanced manufacturing;
- Computer hardware and software;
- Electronics and instrumentation;
- Photonics and sensors;
- Internet and e-commerce;
- Educational and training technologies, including modeling and simulation;
- Bio-informatics and data analytics;
- Logistics and maritime commerce;
- Information technology, telecommunications and wireless technology;
- Green technologies, renewable energy research and development, and energy conservation;
- Advanced transportation technologies; and
The use of computers, telecommunications services, or a web page or internet site shall not, in itself, be sufficient to qualify as a technology business. For more information about this program refer to the ordinance or visit municode.
Qualified technology business is a technology business that (1) is a new technology business within the boundaries of the technology zone as established inthe City Code and (2) creates at least five (5) new full-time jobs or makes a capital investment of at least two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000.00) in either (i) tangible personal property or machinery and tools or (ii) real estate improvements used exclusively in such business, or any combination thereof. The new jobs created or capital investment must be located in the technology zone. The full-time job requirement may be met with part-time jobs using a full-time equivalency of forty (40) hours per week.
Definite place of business means an office or a location at which a regular and continuous course of dealing occurs over a period of thirty (30) consecutive days or more. A definite place of business for a person engaged in business may include a location leased or otherwise obtained from another person.
New technology business means a technology business that either (a) establishes its initial definite place of business in the technology zone and thereafter maintains its principal definite place of business within the boundaries of the technology zone or (b) has no definite place of business in the city before establishing a definite place of business in the technology zone and thereafter maintains its principal definite place of business in the technology zone.
A qualified technology business shall be entitled to a reduction of its business, professional and occupational license tax imposed against gross receipts derived from its technology business as follows:
- One hundred percent (100%) reduction in year one of operation;
- One hundred percent (100%) reduction in year two of operation;
- Fifty percent (50%) reduction in year three of operation;
- Fifty percent (50%) reduction in year four of operation; and
- Fifty percent (50%) reduction in year five of operation.
The tax reduction shall begin as of the month of certification of a technology business as a qualified technology business by the city manager or designee. To maintain eligibility for the tax reduction after year one, the business must reapply annually to the city manager or designee to demonstrate that it continues to be a qualified technology business. The tax reduction provided in this section shall apply to a qualified technology business for no more than five (5) calendar years, including any partial initial calendar year.
- The qualified technology business must file a business license application annually with the Commissioner of the Revenue and shall provide the commissioner with an annual certification from the City Manager or designee that the business is a qualified technology business.
- The amount of gross receipts estimated to be earned from qualified technology business activities mustbe set out in the license application and shall be subject to verification by the Commissioner of the Revenue by auditor inspection of documents.
- All business license tax reductions are subject to adjustment by the Commissioner of the Revenue based on actual gross receipts earned from qualifying technology business activities. If a business is certified a qualified technology business prior to payment of its business license tax liability to the city, such tax liability shall be reduced according to the schedule above.
- If a business is certified a qualified technology business after it has paid its business license tax liability to the City in full, it shall receive a refund, without interest, in accordance with the schedule above. No local taxes or fees may be outstanding at the time of application for the business license and reduction.
- If a business ceases to be a qualified technology business during a calendar year in which tax reductions apply, business license taxes shall be payable at one hundred percent (100%) of the tax amount imposed by Chapter 24, Article II-A of the Norfolk City Code from the month the business ceased to be qualified until the end of the calendar year.
If you have any further questions, please contact the Economic Development Department at 757-664-4338.
- Real Estate Tax Abatement Program
- Virginia Economic Development Partnership
- U. S. Small Business Administration
- State Corporation Commission
- Virginia Department of Business Assistance
- Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD)
- U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency
- Hampton Roads Procurement Assistance Center
- Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center
- Virginia Business Incentives
- Business USA
- Brownfields Redevelopment