Designation & Eligibility

Designation & Eligibility

Overview

State Enterprise Zone status provides businesses located in the designated area tax credits against their state income tax liability. EZ incentives encourage economic development in distressed areas of the state. Credits are earned for investment in business personal property, investment in job training, adding employees, providing health care benefits, increased R&D expenditures and rehabilitating vacant buildings for commercial use. Contributors to approved non-profit organizations also receive income tax credits when donating to economic development projects.

Enterprise zone designations will be reviewed every ten years.

Eligibility

An Enterprise Zone is proposed by any municipality, county or group of contiguous municipalities or counties. The areas with zone designation have a population <=150,000 rural, or <=115,000 urban. Rural is defined as a county, municipality or unincorporated place (more than 10 miles from any municipality with a population of >50,000) having a population of less than 50,000. Areas within a zone need not be contiguous. There may not be more than one zone designated within a county.

Up to 16 Enterprise Zones may be designated. There are currently 16 statutory Enterprise Zones designated. The zone administrators may propose modifications to the areas within their zones prior to the 10 year re-designations. Any area proposed must meet the statutory criteria and the total zone population must be within the population limits.

In order for an area to receive Enterprise Zone status, it must meet at least 1 of 3 economic distress criteria:

  • Per Capita Income <75% of State Avg. for most recent period. Less than $23,331.75 for the ACS 5-year average data.
  • Unemployment Rate 25% > State Avg. over most recent 12 months. Greater than 10.63% for the ACS 5-year average data.
  • Population Growth Rate <25% of State Avg. for most recent 5-year period. Less than 1.45% for the ACS 5-year average and DOLA 2013 data.

Areas designated may be census tracts and block groups that nest within counties, but local representatives may bring forward other Census Bureau and DOLA defined places for which data is available per the grid below.

2012-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate (2017 DOLA)

Geographic LevelPopulation Growth RatePer Capita IncomeUnemployment Rate
StateDOLAACSACS
CountyDOLAACSACS
Sub-DivisionACSACSACS
Census TractACSACSACS
Block GroupACSACSACS
PlaceDOLAACSACS

OEDIT has selected the ACS 5-year estimates as the standard for eligibility analysis because it provides metrics for small geographic areas more in line with targeted economic development zones and the data is more reliable. Other U.S. Census Bureau data may be used to meet the basic eligibility requirements – data availability often depends on population size within the area. If you would like to propose using data other than what we provide below in our tools, you may present a case as to why another data set is more credible for the area. Consider the estimates’ timeliness and margin of error as compared to the ACS 5-year estimate.

1-year estimates3-year estimates5-year estimates
12 months of collected data36 months of collected data60 months of collected data
Data for areas with populations of 65,000+Data for areas with populations of 20,000+Data for all areas
Smallest sample sizeLarger sample size than 1-yearLargest sample size
Less reliable than 3-year or 5-yearMore reliable than 1-year; less reliable than 5-yearMost reliable
Most current dataLess current than 1-year estimates; more current than 5-yearLeast current
Best used when currency is more important than precision. Analyzing large populations.Best used when precise than 1-year, more current than 5-year Analyzing smaller populations. Examining smaller geographies because 1-year estimates are not available.Best used when precision is more important than currency. Analyzing very small populations. Examining tracts and other smaller geographies because 1-year estimates are not available.
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Logo Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Logo Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Logo Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Logo Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us