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The Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation provides one-stop site selection services for new and expanding companies. Staff works with state and local governments to match companies with the ideal building or greenfield site.
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Incentives

Most companies moving to the Alleghany Highlands will realize savings through lower costs of living and doing business. On top of that, incentives at the state and local level may be available to make the move even more cost effective. They are summarized below. The Virginia Guide to Business Incentives offers more details.

Virginia Incentives

The Virginia Department of Business Assistance’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) provides customized recruiting and training incentive, including New Jobs Program, Small Business New Jobs Program and Retraining Program.

A new Clean Energy Manufacturing Incentive Grant Program provides financial incentives to companies that manufacture or assemble equipment, systems, or products used to produce renewable or nuclear energy, or products used for energy conservation, storage, or grid efficiency purposes. To be eligible for a grant, the manufacturer must make a capital investment greater than $50 million and create at least 200 full-time jobs that pay at least the prevailing wage. A wind energy supplier must make a capital investment of greater than $10 million and create at least 30 full-time jobs that pay at least the prevailing wage to be eligible for a grant.

A number of programs provide corporate tax credits, including the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, the Worker Retraining Tax Credit and Green Job Creation Tax Credit.

Financing programs include industrial development bonds for manufacturing projects, incentive grants for targeted industries, and small business programs.

A variety of discretionary incentives – including the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, the Virginia Investment Partnership Grant, the Major Eligible Employer Grant and the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant – also may be available to eligible projects.

Virginia’s Enterprise Zone program provides cash grants for new job creation and real property investment. The entire Alleghany Highlands is located within Enterprise Zone #53. Local incentives also may be available.

Alleghany Highlands Incentives

The Alleghany Highlands is located within Virginia Enterprise Zone #53. Local incentives, in addition to what the Commonwealth offers, include:

  • Utility Consumer Tax Reduction: A 70 percent reduction in the first year, 40 percent for the second and 20 percent for the third year.
  • Business License Tax Reduction: A 70 percent reduction in the first year, 40 percent for the second and 20 percent for the third year.
  • Real Estate Tax Reduction: A 70 percent reduction in the first year, 40 percent for the second and 20 percent for the third year.
  • Machinery and Tools Tax Reduction: A 70 percent reduction in the first year, 40 percent for the second and 20 percent for the third year.
  • Building Permit Fee Reimbursement: A payment equal to the amount of the building permit fees.

Performance-based incentives can be tailored to your company’s needs. Local governments in the Highlands, in conjunction with the Alleghany Foundation, provide performance-based incentives in the form of upfront cash grants targeted to enable prospective businesses to fulfill their most pressing needs. The value of these cash grants is based upon an evaluation of the quantity and quality of jobs proposed to be created and the level of capital investment. In addition to cash grants, acreage within publicly owner business parks may be made available at no cost or at a steeply discounted rate.

The Alleghany Highlands are part of Foreign Trade Zone #238, which is based at the Virginia TradePort – International Port of Entry #1412 located at the New River Valley Airport in Dublin. Clearing shipments through a regional Port of Entry also saves time and money. Imported goods held in the zone are not subject to U.S. Customs duties until they leave the zone and enter the U.S. for domestic consumption. Duties are not paid on broken or wasted product or on exported items.

Dominion Virginia Power provides electric service within the Alleghany Highlands and offers a variety of rate options that may lower operating costs for commercial and industrial users.

Starting a Business

The Alleghany Highlands is a natural choice for entrepreneurs. All the factors – low costs, excellent market access, superior workforce – that make the region a prime location for large companies make it a great place to start a business.

Find out everything you need to know at the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation’s Virtual Incubator. Or ask our Business Assistance Program Entrepreneur Specialist.

Other resources include:

Taxes

Virginia’s business climate continues to rank high with organizations such as CNBC and Forbes. One of the reasons is Virginia’s low and equitable tax structure. The corporate income tax of 6.0 percent – below the national average of 6.9 percent – hasn’t changed since 1972. Because counties and cities in Virginia are separate taxing entities, companies only pay taxes to either a county or a city, not to both. The commonwealth’s long tradition of fiscal discipline has earned the state a coveted AAA bond rating.

Corporate Income Tax

  • Tax rate of 6.0%, one of the lowest in the nation
  • Has a three-factor apportionment formula of payroll, property and sales (with sales double-weighted)
  • A double-weighted sales factor has the effect of reducing tax liability for firms with significant sales to customers outside Virginia
  • Tax credits for job creation and investment in economically stressed areas such as old neighborhoods and buildings
  • No franchise or net worth tax
  • An employer receives withholding tax tables when registered

Virginia Does Not Tax:

  • Property at the state level
  • Intangible property
  • Manufacturers’ inventory
  • Manufacturers’ furniture, fixtures or corporate aircraft

In addition, localities do not have separate school district taxes

Business Cost Comparisons VA US
Unemployment Insurance Tax/Employee (3rd lowest) $156 $227
Worker’s Comp Insurance-mfg/$100 of payroll (4th lowest) $2.09 $3.71
Worker’s Comp Insurance-clerical (4th lowest) $0.23 $0.44
Sales Tax (7th lowest) 5.00% 6.82%

Retail Sales and Use Tax

  • Combined state and local sales tax is 5.0 percent (4 percent state + 1 percent local), the seventh lowest in the nation.
  • A seller is subject to a sales tax on gross receipts derived from retail sales or leases of taxable tangible personal property

Sales Tax Exemptions:

  • Manufacturers’ purchases used directly in production, including machinery, tools, spare parts, raw materials and industrial fuels
  • Items purchased for resale by distributors
  • Certified pollution control equipment and facilities
  • Custom computer software
  • Purchases used directly and exclusively in research and development
  • Utilities delivered through lines, pipes, and mains
  • Most film, video, and audio production-related purchases
  • Charges for Internet access, related communications services, and sales of software via the Internet
Individual State Income Tax
Taxable Income Rate
$3,000 or less 2.00%
$3,001-5,000 3.00%
$5,001-17,000 5.00%
$17,001 and more 5.75%

Local Taxes

Alleghany County and Covington City are separate taxing entities. The county’s two incorporated towns, Clifton Forge and Iron Gate, may impose additional taxes on top of those imposed at the county level.

Real Estate Personal Property Machinery & Tools*
Alleghany County $0.67/$100 $5.95/$100 $0.89/$100
Covington City $0.71/$100 $5.60/$100 $0.83/$100
Town of Clifton Forge $0.21/$100 $6.70/$100 n/a
Town of Iron Gate $0.21/$100 $1.00/$100 $0.10/$100

Source: Local governments and Virginia Local Tax Rates 2009, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
* Effective tax rates

Permitting

Each local government in the Alleghany Highlands issues its own permits and handles its own code enforcement and building inspections.

Alleghany County (and the Town of Iron Gate): Alleghany County Building Inspection Department

Covington City: Building and Grounds Department

Town of Clifton Forge: Community Development Department

Utilities

Electric

Dominion Virginia Power provides electric service to most of the Alleghany Highlands, but some outlying rural areas may be served by Electric Co-ops.

BARC Electric
540-997-9124
barc@vaix.net

Craig Botetourt
540-864-5121
craigbot@tds.net

Dominion Virginia Power
866-667-3000
bryan_smith@dom.com

Gas

Amerigas (Propane)
419 Ridgeway Street
Clifton Forge, VA 24422
540-862-4148
Brenda.vess@amerigas.com

Columbia Gas of Virginia (Natural Gas)
800-543-8911

Highland Propane (Propane)
800-552-6514

Fuel/Oil

Covington Farm & Fuel
121 N. Alleghany Avenue
Covington, VA 24426
540-962-1983

Dixie Gas & Oil
701 Locust Street
Covington, VA 24426
540-962-6336
Dixie@dixiegas.com

Whiting Jamison Oil
610 Locust Street
Covington, VA 24426
540-962-1176

Telecommunications

Direct TV (Satellite TV)
800-280-4388

Lumos Networks (Cable TV, Internet, Telephone)
342 Court Street
Covington, VA 24426
877-468-3567

Boost Wireless (Wireless)
119 Mall Road
Covington, VA 24426
540-962-9830
swansons@ntelos.com

Shentel (Cable TV)
370 W. Main Street
Covington, VA 24426
540-962-6916

U.S. Cellular (Wireless)
356 W. Main Street
Covington, VA 24426
540-965-1150
standard@aol.com

U.S. Cellular (Wireless)
919 S. Craig Avenue
Covington, VA 24426
540-965-1152

Verizon Wireless (Wireless)
919 S. Craig Avenue
Covington, VA 24426
540-962-7018

Water/Sewer

Alleghany County Public Works
9212 Winterberry Avenue
Covington, VA 24426540-863-6650

Clifton Forge Public Works
Howard Street
Clifton Forge, VA 24422
540-863-2517

Covington Public Works
333 W. Locust Street
Covington, VA 24426
540-965-6350