Thursday, December 29, 2011

Get Precertified NOW to capture Ouray County Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone Tax Credits for 2012

Action Needed by all Ouray County Businesses, including Agriculture and Mining Companies!

All incorporated and unincorporated areas in Ouray County have been designated as an "Enterprise Zone".  Businesses may claim certain types of credits on their Colorado income taxes for activities that occur within an Enterprise Zone. 

The Enterprise Zone program provides business incentives, contribution tax credits (for Colorado income taxes only) and marketing grants to businesses in the Enterprise Zone. 

In addition, the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Ouray County have been designated as an "Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone (EREZ)" which allows for greater financial incentives to businesses that create new jobs in designated economically distressed rural areas. Credits are available for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2003.

The incentive programs are administered on behalf of Ouray County by Region10 which is the designated coordinator.  Region10 staff member Rhona Keckler is the primary Region10 contact for the Enterprise Zone and EREZ programs.  For more information about any of the business incentives, contact Rhona Keckler at 970-249-2436 x 10.  Region10's web site is  It has up to date information about these programs. 
Beginning in 2012, the application procedures and rules for participating in the incentives and tax credit programs available to Ouray County businesses are changing.  New legislation changed the Certification process for activities performed on or after January 1, 2012 that will earn an Enterprise Zone (EZ) Tax Credit.  If your business will perform an activity that will earn an EZ Tax Credit on or after January 1, 2012, Colorado Revised Statute 39-30-103(7)(a) requires that you receive Pre-certification prior to commencing the activity that will earn the credit.  If your business performed all activities that earned an EZ Tax Credit prior to January 1, 2012 only Certification is required. 

Example:  If an Ouray County business plans to create a new position that will be at least 20 hours a week in 2012, in order to qualify for  the available tax credits and other incentive programs, you will need to be pre-certified for the Enterprise Zone program prior to creating the new position.  Filling out the precertification form takes about 5 minutes online.

Most importantly:
  • Applications for tax credits for tax year 2011 and prior years must now be done on line at the State portal (
  • Businesses seeking a tax credit for tax year 2012 must first be pre-certified online before the expenditure or action that qualifies for the tax credit is made.  Then, certification for the tax credit must also be applied for online.   
  • Should a business or tax advisor have any difficulties with on-line submission of pre-certification or certifications, contact Region10 staff right away so that they can assist you.  
If you are conducting business in Ouray County then you might apply for any of the following EZ tax credits in tax year 2012.  Everyone conducting business in Ouray County is encouraged get pre-certified through the Online Pre-certification and certification system RIGHT AWAY!  To get pre-certified, use the Online Pre-certification and certification system at the State Office of Economic Development and International Trade web portal (
Some of the significant incentives that Ouray County businesses may take advantage due to the Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone include:
·         NEW JOB CREDIT FOR EREZ: $2,500 total state tax credit per each new job over 20 hours/week;
·         NEW AG PROCESSING JOB FOR EREZ: $3,500 total state tax credit per each new agricultural product processing job.

Other incentives available to Ouray County businesses because Ouray County is in the 6-county (Delta, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Gunnison and Hinsdale) Enterprise Zone include:
·         3% INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT: 3% of equipment purchases;
·         10% JOB TRAINING TAX CREDIT: 10% of qualified training expenses;
·         25% VACANT BUILDING REHABILITATION TAX CREDIT:  25% of rehab expenditures (hard costs) for buildings 20+ years old and that have been vacant at least 2 years;
·         3% RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT (R&D) TAX CREDIT: 3% of increased R&D expenditures;
·         MANUFACTURING AND MINING SALES AND USE TAX: Purchases of manufacturing machinery, machine tools and machine parts are exempt from the 3 percent state sales and use tax statewide. Form DR1191 (can be completed on your computer and is linked from the Region10 web site.) Note: Application for this tax credit is not included in the new online pre-certification/certification program.
·         HEALTH INSURANCE CREDIT (for employers paying a portion of an employee's health insurance premiums):  Businesses qualifying as a "new business facility" or as an "Expansion Facility" are allowed a $200 tax credit for two years for each employee who becomes insured under a qualifying employer-sponsored health insurance program.

CONTRIBUTION TAX CREDIT PROGRAM -- A huge Enterprise Zone benefit to citizens of Ouray County is that additional tax incentives to those who give charitable donations are available if the donations are given to qualified organizations and projects that successfully apply to become an Enterprise Zone Contribution Project.  Examples of groups and project that are already qualified through Region10 and the State of Colorado are Wright Opera House Foundation (Ouray), Museum of the Mountain West (Montrose), (Habitat for Humanity Re-Store) and 17 others in the 6-county Enterprise Zone.  To qualify projects are subject to review and approval by the Economic Development Commission.  A Colorado taxpayer who contributes to a Enterprise Zone Contribution Project can receive a 25% state tax credit for cash donations and 12.5% state tax credit for in-kind contributions, in addition to any federal tax deductions they qualify for.  This encourages greater contributions to these projects and significantly greater tax incentives for those making donations.  The first step for an organization or project to get this designation is to contact the Enterprise Zone Coordinator, Rhona Keckler at Region10.

SMALL BUSINESS LOAN PROGRAM -- Region10 also coordinates small business loans available to Ouray County businesses.  The funds used by Region10 for the loan program come from both federal and state programs including Colorado Development Block Grants, Small Business Administration Microloan Program, "Revolved" Loans, and participation loans with financial institutions.  Applications and eligibility requirements vary between  funding sources.  Loan interest rates vary between very low to low.  Due to the various options, Ouray County Businesses desiring a loan for working capital, equipment, inventory, real estate, or other supportable expenditures should contact Paul Gray at Region10, 970-249-2436 for a custom-fit loan.

All of these programs are designed to promote economic development of the Region10 Enterprise Zone and Ouray County as an Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone.  If any of these programs sound like something a Ouray County business could have utilized in the past, please still contact Region10, as many incentives can be still captured if the qualifying activities are five or less years ago.

Please share this information freely since it is time sensitive for 2012, and since some past activities can still be captured retroactively for tax credits. 

Ouray Commissioner  Lynn Padgett can be reached at 970-258-0836 (cell) or

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