Business Expansion & Retention Grants: Empire State Development (ESD) provides discretionary grants to support business attraction, expansion, and retention projects.  The specific amount of the grant will depend on the level of capital investment, the number of jobs created and/or retained, and the location of the project.

Tax Credits

Excelsior Jobs Program: One of New York State’s primary economic development incentive tools, this discretionary program provides refundable tax credits to companies in strategic industries that create jobs and make capital investments. The minimum number of new jobs needed to qualify for the program varies by industry with a minimum of 5 new jobs required for scientific R&D, software development, and agriculture companies; 10 new jobs for manufacturers; 50 new jobs for financial services and back office operations; and 75 new jobs for warehouse and distribution companies. Excelsior Jobs is comprised of the following refundable tax credits.

  • Jobs Tax Credit: A credit of 6.85% of wages per new job to cover a portion of the associated payroll cost.
  • Investment Tax Credit: Valued at 2% of qualified investments.
  • R&D Tax Credit: A credit of 50% of the Federal R&D credit up to 3% of research expenditures in New York State
  • Real Property Tax Credit: Available to firms locating in certain distressed areas and to firms in strategic industries that meet higher employment and investment thresholds.

Brownfield Cleanup Program: This credit is equal to the sum of three separate credit components involving costs related to site cleanup, groundwater cleanup, and development on a brownfield site. The amount of the tax credit, which can be applied against corporate franchise tax, is a percentage of eligible costs paid or incurred to clean up and redevelop qualified sites and is worth up to 22%, with variations dependent on the amount of cleanup and the area in which the site is located.

Tax Exemptions

Sales Tax Exemptions: There is no sales tax on purchases of production machinery and equipment, property used for R&D purposes, or fuels/utilities used in manufacturing and R&D. Local Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) have the discretionary authority to provide a 100% exemption of state and local sales tax to assist economic development projects.  

Personal Property Tax: The State of New York and local governments do not levy a tax on personal property owned by businesses or individuals.


START-UP NY:  This program establishes “tax free” zones on designated areas of public universities, community colleges, and technical schools affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) as well as a select number of private universities.  While this program is active across New York State, START-UP NY has a particular focus on spearheading job creation and private sector investment on or near college campuses in Upstate New York.  Startup businesses, established firms, and high-tech companies that expand in or relocate to New York and partner with a college or university may qualify for a 10-year exemption on state corporate income taxes.  Employees that work at a business approved for START-UP NY are exempt from all state personal income taxes for the first 5 years of the 10-year program.  Beginning in year 6 and ending in the 10th year of the program, personal income taxes on the first $200,000 of annual income earned ($250,000 for a head of household, and $300,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return) are exempt.

Other programs:

Regional Economic Development Councils: The State is divided into 10 economic development regions with each region comprised of its own Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).  These councils are each led by board members appointed by the governor to formulate economic development strategies for their respective regions. The REDCs collaborate with state agencies to recommend discretionary grants, Excelsior Jobs tax credits, and other incentives to support business attraction and expansion projects


Last updated: April 2016



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