On November 1, 2017, PL 297, An Act to Promote Major Business Headquarters Expansions in Maine, Promote the Commercialization of Research and Development in Maine and Create Jobs, became law. This program is intended to encourage the location and expansion of major business headquarters in the State of Maine and to promote the recruitment and training of employees for these facilities. The location and expansion of major business headquarters in Maine will create high-quality jobs, benefit small businesses that supply goods and services to the major business headquarters and its employees, increase the tax base, and provide many other direct and indirect economic benefits to the State.
A qualified applicant must satisfy the following criteria to be eligible to apply for this program:
- The company's principal facility, from which the applicant directs its national or global business activities, is or will be located in Maine;
- The applicant employs at least 5,000 full-time employees worldwide, of which at least 25% are or will be based in Maine;
- The applicant has business locations in at least 3 other states or foreign countries; and
- The applicant intends to make a qualified investment within Maine of at least $35,000,000 to design, permit, construct, modify, equip, or expand the applicant's headquarters.
A qualified applicant that meets these criteria may submit a letter and supporting documentation to the Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for a certificate of approval.
Once an applicant has submitted the requested documentation, the Commissioner will determine whether the applicant is a qualified applicant. Within 30 days of the date DECD determines the application is complete, DECD will issue a certificate of approval or a written denial indicating why the applicant is not qualified. The certificate of approval, issued by the Commissioner of DECD, will describe the qualified investment and specify the total amount of qualified investment approved under the certificate.
Once the expansion is complete, the Commissioner will issue a certificate of completion. Upon issuance of a certification of completion, the Commissioner of DECD will issue a certification letter to the qualified applicant that describes the qualified investment and specifies the total amount of qualified investment approved by the certification.
- Beginning with the tax year during which the certificate of completion is issued or the tax year beginning in 2020, whichever is later, and for each of the following 19 tax years, a certified applicant is allowed a credit against the tax due for the taxable year in an amount equal to 2% of the certified applicant's qualified investment
- A credit is not allowed for any tax year during which the taxpayer does not meet or exceed employment targets measured on the last day of the tax year
- For each of the first 10 tax years for which the credit is claimed, there must be a total of at least 80 additional full-time employees based in the State whose jobs were added since the first day of the first tax year for which the credit was claimed, multiplied by the number of years for which the credit has been claimed
- For each tax year after the 10th tax year for which the credit is claimed, the taxpayer must employ a total of at least 800 additional full-time employees based in the State whose jobs were added since the first day of the first tax year for which the credit was claimed
- Cumulative credits may not exceed $16,000,000 under any one certificate
On or before March 1st of each year, a certified applicant must file a report with the Commissioner of DECD for the tax year ending immediately preceding the calendar year. The certified applicant's report shall contain the following information:
- Number of full-time employees based in the State of Maine
- Incremental amount of qualified investment made in the report year
The Commissioner of DECD must provide copies of the report to the State Tax Assessor and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over tax matters at the time the report is received.
By April 1st of each year, the commissioner shall report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over tax matters aggregate data on employment levels and qualified investment amounts of certified applicants for each year.
The State Tax Assessor shall report to the committee the revenue loss during the previous calendar year, including the loss due to refundable credits, as a result of this program for each taxpayer claiming the credit.