Fulton County OKs Freeport tax exemption - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM
 

Fulton County OKs Freeport tax exemption

Measure targets e-commerce distribution as county becomes logistics hub

Johns Eaves
Liz Hausmann
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ATLANTA – When the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted Dec. 21 to give a 100 percent Freeport exemption for e-commerce fulfillment centers in Fulton County, it was a clear signal to Amazon and other e-tailers, “we want your business.”

This move allows inventory of e-commerce distribution centers to have the same full tax exemption on inventories from Fulton County ad valorem (property) taxes that brick-and-mortar centers already command.

Fulton County is already a huge destination point for hub distributors using Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and increased shipping via Savannah’s expanded port.

Across Georgia, growth in e-commerce is expected to attract more companies to local communities.

Fulton County, with its extensive logistic network, availability of land and a skilled workforce, already makes an attractive location for many businesses. Now it includes e-commerce businesses.

With Savannah’s expanded harbor and expanding inventory warehousing, Fulton County’s attractiveness to e-commerce can only improve.

“This tax exemption equalizes typical inventory relief for warehouses that previously did not include e-commerce warehouse facilities,” Fulton Commissioner Liz Hausmann said. “In light of growth in that industry, in light of the relocation of UPS relocating their major Southeast Distribution Hub on Fulton Industrial Boulevard, we anticipated that this will attract the Amazon-type businesses and increase jobs while improving the tax base as well.”

While UPS is just the shipper of goods, its $400 million new facility will benefit from a robust e-commercial zone around it.

The exemption only applies to inventory held fewer than 12 months. Fulton Last fall, county voters overwhelmingly approved expansion of Freeport Exemptions as allowed by HB 935, adopted by the General Assembly in 2016.

“The Freeport Tax Exemption is expected to ignite job growth in Fulton County by targeting the e-commerce industry that will be a vital economic engine for decades to come,” said Hausmann, who serves as the Board of Commissioners’ executive sponsor for Economic Opportunity. “This new incentive will make Fulton County very attractive to this industry of the future.”

Fulton Commission Chairman John Eaves called the exemption "a great incentive that will continue attracting companies to Fulton County and spur economic development.”

Business investment means Fulton jobs and tax dollars that benefit the entire county, he said.

Fulton County already offers 100 percent Freeport Tax Exemption for several categories of goods, including:

:

• Inventory of goods in the process of manufacture or production, including finished goods and raw materials held for direct use or consumption in the taxpayer's manufacturing or production business in Georgia.

• Inventory of finished goods manufactured or produced within the state in the ordinary course of the taxpayer's manufacturing or production business and when held by the original manufacturer or producer of such finished goods.

• Inventory of finished goods which, on Jan. 1, are stored in a warehouse, dock, or wharf, whether public or private, and which are destined for shipment to a final destination outside Georgia, and inventory of finished goods which are shipped into Georgia.

“With the expansion of the Freeport Exemption, Fulton County will maintain its position as the leading destination for e-commerce jobs and investment,” said Al Nash, CEO of Select Fulton, the county’s economic development arm.

It should also revitalize aging warehousing in the airport area that now becomes attractive to revitalize because of the airport and UPS.

“Not only will this mean revamping and modernizing the facilities to keep inventory moving in and out, e-commerce facilities will employ 200 to 400 employees. Meanwhile, traditional warehouses would employ 10 people or fewer, Nash said.

“So the facilities themselves will yield a much greater ad valorem tax while improving local employment. It is a win all around for Fulton County,” Nash said.

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