Enterprise Zone Program

Enterprise Zone Program

The Colorado legislature created the Enterprise Zone Program to encourage development in economically distressed areas of the state. The 16 designated enterprise zones have high unemployment rates, low per capita income, or slow population growth.

In designated enterprise zones:

  • businesses are eligible for state income tax credits and sales and use tax exemptions for specific business investments
  • economic development projects form by incentivizing taxpayers to contribute through state income tax credits
  • taxpayers who contribute to enterprise zone projects may earn income tax credits

Enterprise zone areas within rural counties that meet additional economic distress criteria receive enhanced rural enterprise zone status. Businesses within enhanced rural enterprise zones earn additional tax credits when adding net new employees.

Tax credits

If you would like to apply for a tax credit, please see each individual tax credit page for specific eligibility and application requirements.

Enterprise Zone Job Training Tax Credit
12% of eligible training costs

Businesses can earn a state income tax credit for 12% of eligible job-training costs for employees working within the enterprise zone. This tax credit helps develop a skilled workforce in distressed communities. Even if the business leaves the community, the skilled workforce typically remains an asset to the local economy.

Enterprise Zone New Employee Tax Credit
$1,100­ or more per net new employee

Businesses can earn a state income tax credit of $1,100 per net new employee. Businesses can earn more tax credits if the business is an agricultural processor or is in an enhanced rural enterprise zone. This tax credit encourages businesses to hire and expand employment opportunities, thus reducing unemployment rates. State and local governments benefit from income and sales tax revenue generated from these employees.

Enterprise Zone Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Tax Credit
$1,000 per net new employee

For the first two years that a business is in an enterprise zone, the business can earn $1,000 per net new employee insured under a qualified health plan for which the employer pays at least 50% of the cost. This tax credit encourages businesses to provide a qualified health insurance plan to employees, potentially improving community health, and reducing public health costs.

Enterprise Zone Research and Development Tax Credit
3% of an increase in research and development expenses

Businesses can earn a 3% tax credit for an increase in annual research and development expenses compared to what they spent the prior two years. Investment in research and experimentation supports an innovative economy. A research and development focused business that sells products, services, or intellectual property will bring outside dollars to the local economy.

Enterprise Zone Vacant Commercial Building Rehabilitation Tax Credit
25% of rehabilitation costs (up to $50,000 in credits on $200,000 or more in costs)

If a business rehabilitates a commercial building that is at least 20 years old and has been vacant for at least two years, the business can earn a state income tax credit for 25% of rehabilitation costs (up to $50,000 in credits on $200,000 or more on costs). This tax credit encourages the revitalization of dilapidated buildings and blighted areas, bringing new businesses and employees to the community. State and local governments gain tax revenue from new economic activity.

Enterprise Zone Commercial Vehicle Investment Tax Credit
1.5% of purchase price

A taxpayer can earn a state income tax credit for 1.5% of the price of new commercial trucks, truck tractors, tractors, semi-trailers, and associated parts registered in Colorado and used in an enterprise zone. This tax credit encourages businesses to register new commercial vehicles in Colorado and pay Colorado licensing and registration fees.

Enterprise Zone Investment Tax Credit
3% of business personal property investment

Businesses can earn a state income tax credit for 3% of an investment in business personal property. New business personal property increases a company’s capacity. The taxes a business pays on these purchases far exceed all tax credits under the enterprise zone program.

Enterprise Zone Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Manufacturing and Mining
Sales and use tax exemption

The statewide sales and use tax exemption for purchases of manufacturing equipment is expanded to include non-capitalized equipment and parts if the business is located within a zone. The enterprise zone statutes also expand manufacturing to include mining.