The 1998 Florida Legislature granted businesses new tax breaks for undertaking environmental protection activities. The law, which took effect July 1, 1998, creates new tax credits against the state corporate income tax and the intangibles tax for certain clean-up cost. The law allows businesses to apply for tax credits, against one of the two taxes, up to 35 percent of their expenditures for voluntary clean-up of Brownfields sites and sites contaminated by dry-cleaning solvents. The maximum annual credit for a single site is $250,000.00. Unused credit amounts can be carried forward for five years. In order to receive a credit a taxpayer must apply to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for certification. Credits are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a $2,000,000.00 annual cap on all credits. The law also revises the existing dry-cleaning solvents clean-up program by increasing the current gross receipts taxed on dry-cleaning from 1.5 percent to 2 percent, making the tax applicable to drop-off facilities, and moving the application deadline for eligibility for cleanup under the current program from December 31, 2005 to December 31, 1998.
The Legislature also revised a number of the provisions in the 1997 Brownfields Redevelopment Act. The law, which took effect July 1, 1998, makes it easier for owners of Brownfields sites to qualify for the Brownfields redevelopment bonus tax refund program set forth in Fla. Stat. § 288.107. It eliminates the existing requirement that a local government approve a site as a qualifying site, and the requirement that certain wage restrictions apply to the job’s attendant to development of such sites. The new law also establishes a Brownfields Areas Loan Guaranty Program, which allows a lender to secure a limited state guaranty of loans for redevelopment projects in Brownfields areas.
The Legislature also passed a law, which has an effective date of January 1, 1999, that grants a state tax exemption for pollution control equipment. The exemption applies to equipment used primarily for the control or abatement of pollution or contaminants in the manufacturing process. In order to qualify, the equipment must be required to meet a law implemented by or a condition of a permit issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The exemption is expressly made available to privately owned or operated landfills or construction and demolition debris disposal facilities. Solid waste collection vehicles, compactors, graters and other earthmoving equipment are not included in the exemption.
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