Running a small business isn't easy, and many company owners struggle to meet the ongoing costs associated with running a profitable enterprise. As such, it's important to look for ways you can adapt your operating model to take advantage of federal or state-funded incentives that could save you money. In Florida, small businesses can take advantage of several financial incentive programs. Find out about some of the most important ones here.
The Florida Renewable Energy Technologies Sales Tax Refund
If you pay for materials that you use to distribute or store renewable fuels, the state may refund the sales tax you paid on the goods. This incentive started in July 2012 and runs until June 2016, and total claims from all state taxpayers cannot exceed $1 million in each financial year, so it's important to get your claims in early.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficient Technologies (REET) Grant Matching Program
If you invest in energy efficiency projects that improve energy efficiency in vehicles or commercial buildings, you can ask the state to match the funding your business invests. For small businesses that own and manage their own premises, this grant could offer a substantial funding boost.
Funding through this program is subject to strict criteria and limits. For example, you must invest and ask for matching for at least $50,000, and you cannot ask for more than $1,000,000. Nonetheless, subject to a strong application, this type of funding could make a big difference to your company's future running costs.
Corporate tax credits
Floridian businesses must annual corporate income tax at a rate of 5.5 percent, which can make a significant dent in your profits. The Florida Renewable Energy Technologies Investment Tax Credit program allows you to apply for an annual tax credit of up to 75 percent of costs that relate to renewable fuels in Florida.
If you invest in the production, storage or distribution of these fuels, you can claim a corporate tax credit of up to $1 million in any tax year. Total claims in each year from all applicants cannot exceed $10 million for the state, so it's important to submit an application as early as possible.
A second type of corporate tax credit is available for any electricity your business produces and sells to the taxpayer. For example, a solar energy system installed in your premises will often produce more electricity than you need. Under this scheme (the Florida Renewable Energy Production Credit), you could claim a corporate tax credit of $0.01 per kWh of energy you sell to the taxpayer.
Local grants, rebates, loans and incentives
Most counties in Florida operate their own grants, rebates, loans and incentives to encourage businesses to invest in renewable energy technology. In some cases, these incentives support construction and development, while other programs reward businesses that create jobs and prosperity directly from investment in renewable energy.
For example, Volusia County has a green building program that offers up to $2,500 to help pay for permits and application fees when you install energy efficient measures in your building. Like many other county-led programs, this incentive is available to businesses and consumers alike. It's important to regularly check the details of offers like this, as many of these programs run for fixed periods, and local authorities often introduce new schemes.
Getting expert advice
A technology consultancy firm can help you work through the details and bureaucracy of these incentives. In many cases, a consultant could help you develop a renewable energy plan for your business that helps you take advantage of as many of these schemes as possible. For example, one project could become eligible for state and county funding, while another could maximize funding by taking over place over two years
Before you start a renewable energy project, contact an experienced technology consultant for more advice. He or she can help you realize the biggest savings and benefits over time.