Top 3% Best City to Start a Small Business

2nd Fastest Growing City in the U.S.

Best City for Young Entrepreneurs

Financial Incentives

Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption

To qualify, an applicant business must:

  • Be a new business or expansion of an existing business as defined in section 38-235 of the Sarasota County Code, which is based on the definitions in section 196.012, Florida Statutes.
  • Create at least 10 new full-time jobs during the first two years of the exemption.
  • Provide an annual average wage for new full-time jobs of at least 115 percent of the Metropolitan Statistical Area for every year of exemption.
  • Make a capital investment in its Sarasota County facility of at least $1 million during the first two years of exemption.
  • Submit an annual renewal statement and annual report for each year the exemption is granted.

If a business does not meet the annual reporting requirements or does not fulfill any other requirements set forth during the application process, including the creation and maintenance of the total number of new jobs committed, the county commission may revoke the exemption and/or take other actions as appropriate.

View the application.

View the EDAVTE.

Impact Fee Deferral

The city commission may defer city impact fees only if the impact-generating development serves a valid public purpose and the petition meets all parameters set forth in this subsection.

  • Eligible development. Any new commercial project with a building permit valuation of at least $1,000,000.00 is eligible to submit a petition for deferral.
  • Timing of petition. A petition for deferral of impact fees must be submitted prior to the due date for payment. If the city commission has not made a determination on the petition prior to issuance of a certificate of occupancy, certificate of completion, or temporary certificate of occupancy, then the total impact fees due must be timely paid and a request for a refund may be submitted if the deferral is granted.
  • Agreement and payment schedule. All impact fee deferrals require an agreement setting forth the terms and conditions of the deferral. The agreement must establish a schedule for payment no later than three years after the issuance of the first certificate of occupancy (temporary or otherwise).
  • Lien. For any deferral granted, the city shall execute a notice of nonpayment setting forth the legal description of the property and the amount of the impact fee liability, including interest, penalties, costs, and fees for collection. Costs include but are not limited to recording fees for a lien and a release of lien. The city shall serve this notice on the owner by certified mail and file it in the official county records, placing a lien against the property. Upon payment in full of all amounts owed, the city shall promptly record a notice of payment in the official county records, thereby releasing the lien.

Learn more.

View in Municode.

Florida Brownfield Incentive

Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credits (VCTC)

  • Partially offsets the cost of site rehabilitation or solid waste removal.

Cleanup Liability Protection as Provided Under Florida Statute 376.82

  • Regulatory Framework for Cleanup
      • Risk-Based Corrective Action.
      • Dedicated Staff.
      • Expedited Technical Review.

Up to $2,500 Job Bonus Tax Refund

  • For each new job created by an eligible business on or abutting a site with a Brownfield Site Rehabilitation Agreement.
  • To qualify, the business must be a Qualified Target Industry (QTI) or make an eligible capital investment of at least $2 million, create at least 10 jobs and provide benefits to its employees.
  • This incentive is approved by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) following application submittal to Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI). To apply, please contact Eric Anderson by email or phone at 407-956-5682.

Refund on Sales and Use Tax Paid on Building Materials

  • Offered through the Department of Revenue (DOR), this refund applies to building materials used in the construction of a qualified home, affordable housing or mixed-use affordable housing projects built on or abutting a site with a Brownfields Site Rehabilitation Agreement.
  • The completion of the following two DOR applications is necessary to apply:

Tax Credits

New Market Tax Credits

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program can be used in Opportunity Zones to provide investors a 5-year, 39% tax credit for investing in commercial real estate in certain low-income census tracts. North Port has one Federal Opportunity Zone, located near the Warm Mineral Springs property.

Learn more here.

Research and Development Tax Credits

Florida provides a corporate income tax credit for eligible businesses for certain qualified research expenses. The corporate income tax credit is contingent, in part, on the eligible business having received the federal research and development tax credit. Taxpayers will be able to apply to the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) for an allocation of the Florida Research and Development Credit beginning on March 20, 2023.

To participate in this program, the corporation must claim and be allowed a research credit against federal income tax for qualified research expenses under section 41, IRC., and be in one of the following industries:

  • Aviation and Aerospace
  • Cloud Information Technology
  • Homeland Security and Defense
  • Information Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Manufacturing
  • Marine Sciences
  • Materials Science
  • Nanotechnology

Learn more here.

Tax Exemptions

Machinery and Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

This exemption is available to any business whose primary business activity at the location where the industrial machinery and equipment is used to manufacture, process, compound, or produce items of tangible personal property for sale is specified in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes (2007) 31, 32, or 33 (Manufacturing).

  • Exempts parts and accessories only when purchased for the machinery and equipment before the date the machinery and equipment is placed into service.
  • Exemption is available by issuing the seller an exemption certificate.

References: #16A01-07 PDF Icon

Research and Development Tax Exemption

“Machinery and equipment” includes, but is not limited to, molds, dies, machine tooling, other appurtenances or accessories to machinery and equipment, testing and measuring equipment, test beds, computers, and software, whether purchased or self-fabricated, and, if self-fabricated, includes materials and labor for design, fabrication, and assembly. “Research and development” means research that has one of the following as its ultimate goal:

• Basic research in a scientific field of endeavor;
• Advancing knowledge or technology in a scientific or technical field of endeavor;
• The development of a new product, whether or not the new product is offered for sale;
• The improvement of an existing product, whether or not the improved product is offered for sale;
• The development of new uses of an existing product, whether or not a new use is offered as a rationale to purchase the product; or
• The design and development of prototypes, whether or not a resulting product is offered for sale.

Learn more here.

Workforce Incentives

Incumbent Worker Training

When workers lack needed training and businesses experience skill gaps, the company’s ability to compete, expand and retain workers can be compromised. Florida’s Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) Program, funded by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and administered by CareerSource Florida addresses such needs. The Incumbent Worker Training Program is to provide grant funding for continuing education and training of incumbent employees at existing Florida businesses. The program will provide reimbursement grants to businesses that pay for preapproved, direct, training related costs.

Learn more here.

Quick Response Training

Quick Response Training, administered by CareerSource Florida, is a state-funded grant program that provides funding to qualifying businesses to train their new, full-time employees. Grant funding is provided in the form of a performance based reimbursable grant, 12-month maximum term, for customized, skills based training. Quick Response Training is available to new or expanding businesses in Florida’s targetedindustries. These industries are typically high skill industries, produce exportable goods or services and have wages of 125% above state or local wages.

Learn more here.

Development Incentives

Business Response Team

In North Port, we exemplify a business friendly community, and members of the City’s Business Response Team (BRT) are here to help you navigate our processes and procedures, whether your business is just starting out, looking to expand, or relocate, our City offers a wide range of services for businesses.

The City’s BRT is here to provide quick assistance to any challenges your business might be facing; we offer proactive problem-solving to identify issues and work collaboratively with businesses and community partners to resolve any pain points and navigate processes.

Our goal is to increase business retention, build strong relationships, establish trust, provide support to our growing entrepreneurial community, and attract new businesses and investment to our City.

Expedited State Permit Review

The Division of Strategic Business Development provides support for attracting out-of-state businesses to Florida, promoting the creation and expansion of Florida businesses and facilitating Florida’s economic development partnerships. The following businesses are qualified:

  • Businesses that create at least 50 jobs, or at least 25 jobs if the project is located in an enterprise zone or rural county. “Jobs” means permanent, full-time equivalent positions not including construction jobs.
  • At the request of a county or municipal government, DSBD may certify a project creating a minimum of 10 jobs.
  • DSBD may certify projects located in counties where the ratio of new jobs per participant in the welfare transition program is less than one or otherwise critical.
  • Projects located in a designated brownfield area.
  • Projects that are part of the Scripps Research Institute and campus.
  • Projects resulting in the production of biofuels cultivated on lands that are 1,000 acres or more or in the construction of a biofuel or biodiesel processing facility or a facility generating renewable energy as defined in Section 366.91(2)(d), Florida Statutes.

Learn more here.