State & Local Tax

City of Portland – Update to the Downtown Business Incentive (DBI) Credit Program

March 12, 2024

City of Portland – Update to the Downtown Business Incentive (DBI) Credit Program

On February 28, 2024, the Portland City Council passed Ordinance 191644 expanding the eligible boundaries for the Downtown Business Incentive (DBI) Credit to include more of Central City. Properties within or abutting the Central City boundary are now eligible for the DBI credit program.

Previously when the program was established, eligible geography was limited to Downtown, Old Town, the Lloyd District and Lower Albina. With this new Ordinance, the eligible area was expanded to include University/South Downtown, West End, the Central Eastside, South Waterfront, the Pearl District and Goose Hollow. (DBI Expansion Ordinance Applicable Properties Map)

The Revenue Division recently disclosed the program has received 61 applicants – 17 were approved, 34 were denied (24 denied due to the business being located outside the original boundaries and 3 denied due to the business having less than 15 employees the program requires).

The DBI credit program allows for a one-time nonrefundable tax credit claimable over four years, starting in either tax year 2023 or 2024 to any business that meets the program requirements.

The following criteria are required for a business to participate in the DBI credit program:

  1. Be registered with the City of Portland’s Revenue Division and be in compliance for the prior periods.
    • Either (1) Enter into a new lease, or extend a current lease, during the 2023 or 2024 calendar year for building space within the eligible sub-district boundaries for a period of four years or more; or (2) own and occupy that building space within the eligible sub-district boundaries.
  2. Maintain 15 employees or more working at least half their time in the leased or owned building space within the eligible sub-district boundaries over the four-year period.

The program also clarified the credit will be allowed for leases or lease extensions that begin in the 2023 or 2024 calendar year. A new lease or lease extension that starts in calendar year 2025 may qualify for a tax year 2024 credit if the lease is signed before December 31, 2024. Building space owned during 2023 can also be used to calculate the credit on either the 2023 or 2024 business tax return.

Based on this expansion, the 2023 application due date has been extended to 3/31/2024. Then the 2024 application will remain due 01/31/2025. It is important to also note, a business is only eligible to apply for one credit (for either 2023 or 2024) and only one application will be required.

Recommendations to businesses who may be eligible:

  • Businesses who previously were not within the original boundaries should review the updated map to identify if their business location is now within these expanded boundaries.
  • Businesses previously denied solely because of the location are now being reevaluated by the program.
  • Per the program, applications for which the location is outside of the updated boundaries, or those that were denied for additional reasons are not being reconsidered.
  • If a business was previously outside of the original DBI boundaries and was denied for additional reasons, that business will need to apply again if the additional circumstances have changed.

 

As the City of Portland issues additional guidance, we will provide further updates.

Additional Information

City of Portland Providing New Local Tax Incentive to Encourage Employers to Bring Employees Back to the Office

Downtown Business Incentive Credit Program Information

 

Our State and Local Tax Team is available to assist you with questions related to these updated rules. Please contact our professionals for more information at SALT@GMCO.COM

 

Questions? Contact: