City Rural Zone Program

Program Description

The City of Clayton is pleased to announce that it has been designated with a Rural Zone by the state of Georgia that could help you reduce your business’ state income tax liability if you meet eligibility requirements.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs, or DCA, has awarded downtown Clayton a five-year designation as a Rural Zone, which features a job tax credit, investment credit and rehabilitation credit.

Participation in the Rural Zone could make you ineligible to participate in some other programs, such as the state historic tax credit program.

This is an amazing opportunity, and we're incredibly excited about the potential it has for our downtown.

Clayton Rural Zone Designation Acceptance 2022
Clayton City Mayor Jordan Green and Council member Michelle Duquette (center) accept the certificate designating the City as a Rural Zone.

Overview of the Tax Credit

This tax incentive is for businesses looking to invest in designated rural downtown areas throughout Georgia. It can only be used against income tax (not Georgia payroll taxes), can be carried forward for ten years and is not transferable/re-sellable.

The credit requires jobs have been created and existing buildings have been rehabilitated for the certified investor(s) to earn the Rural Zone tax credit. The building(s) must meet certain historic preservation standards set by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources but this tax credit is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. There are 35 designated locations from Hiawassee to Bainbridge, including several metro Atlanta locations.

The tax credits are applied against any income tax liability on the Georgia Corporate Income Tax Return.

Amount of the Tax Credit

  • Job Credit: Businesses can receive a credit of $2,000 for each new full-time equivalent job per year for up to five (5) years. A minimum of two new qualifying jobs must be created, and the maximum credit cannot exceed $200,000 total (or $40,000/year).
  • Investment Credit: Businesses can receive a credit of 25% of the purchase price. The credit may be taken over a five-year period and cannot exceed $125,000 total (or $25,000/year). A minimum of two new jobs must also be created to qualify for this credit.
  • Rehabilitation Credit: Businesses can receive a credit of 30% of the qualified rehabilitation costs. The maximum credit available is $150,000 total per taxpayer and the credit is taken over a period of three years (or $30,000/year)

Other Considerations

The business may not be eligible for any other Georgia job-related state tax credits (such as, Georgia Opportunity Zone, Job Tax Credit, Military Zone, Less Developed Census Tract, etc.).

Additional Information

Rick Story, Director of Development for Forward Rabun, serves as the Rural Zone point-of-contact with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. He can be reached at [email protected] or (706) 960-9863.

For additional information please visit the Georgia Department of Community Affairs Official Rural Zone Website.

You can also review information about the program on your own: