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Welcome to OZ – Avondale promoting tax credits

Avondale Estates

Welcome to OZ – Avondale promoting tax credits

An employee at Pallookaville in Avondale Estates serves food to a customer. The business is the first one in the city to receive an Opportunity Zone Tax Credit.

An employee at Pallookaville in Avondale Estates serves food to a customer. The business is the first one in the city to receive an Opportunity Zone Tax Credit.

The city of Avondale Estates is using a tax incentive program offered by the state to help lure businesses to the city’s downtown.

So far the only taker has also been one of the city’s biggest success stories. Pallookaville Fine Foods, a gourmet corn dog restaurant, is known more for its eccentric decor and colorful owner, Jim Stacy. But Stacy’s wife, Kim, manages the restaurant’s business side and Jim deferred to her on the subject of tax credits.

Kim Stacy said Pallookaville has been approved for an Opportunity Zone Tax Credit, an incentive offered by the state worth $3,500 per job created. The tax credits are only available to areas designated by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs as Opportunity Zones. According to DCA the tax credit “can be taken against the business’s Georgia income tax liability and payroll withholding tax.” Avondale Estates received the OZ designation in May of 2013 and will remain an OZ until 2023, according to DCA.

According to City Manager Clai Brown, in order to become an OZ, “The City of Avondale Estates had to complete an Urban Redevelopment Plan which was approved by the Department of Community Affairs.”

The DCA website says the department, “will consider designations for areas that are within or adjacent to a census block group with 15 percent or greater poverty where an enterprise zone or urban redevelopment plan exists.”

Kim said she and Jim always wanted to locate in  Avondale Estates.

“We had wanted to be in Avondale and we were 100 percent serious about it,” she said. “Then we heard about the OZ . Was it a deciding factor? Probably not, but was it gravy on top of what we were already wanting to do, absolutely.”

Kim said Brown helped her get the application process started. Brown said he’s helping other businesses that are interested, too.

“Pallookaville was the first business in the City that was approved and others have interests in filing an application,” he said.

Here are more details from DCA about the tax credit program:

– The maximum Job Tax Credit allowed under law – $3,500 per job created

– The lowest job creation threshold of any job tax credit program – 2 jobs

– Use of Job Tax Credits against 100 percent of Georgia income tax liability and withholding tax

– Provides for businesses of any nature to qualify, not just a defined “business enterprise”

Kim Stacy said she won’t know the full impact of the tax credit until she files taxes next year. She said as part of the incentives, businesses have to offer healthcare and pay above minimum wage. She said it “softens the blow” of healthcare reform, but added that she and her husband always wanted to offer health insurance.

“If this ever came to fruition, if it ever became more than a dream,  we wanted to offer a working wage and a sustainable wage to our employees, not just for our family,” she said.  “We want people to raise their families working here ….this is another way to help that happen.”