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Tax credit for companies making COVID-19 protective supplies adopted in Georgia
The Georgia National Guard in April 2020 assists the Newton County Sheriff’s Office Medical Team in testing more than 200 local government employees and inmate workers for COVID-19. - Contributed photo

Georgia businesses that make personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, gowns and hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 pandemic are getting a new tax credit.

The state Department of Community Affairs’ Board of Directors approved the new credit Wednesday along with changes to an existing state tax-credit program benefitting job creators that will let companies use their pre-coronavirus employment numbers to qualify for the credit.

Both tax-credit revisions were included in legislation the General Assembly passed and Gov. Brian Kemp signed earlier this summer and come as businesses across the state struggle to recover from the economic slowdown spurred by coronavirus.

With the new credit, businesses manufacturing items in Georgia used to shield people from contracting the virus would be eligible for an additional $1,250 tax credit per job. Those supplies include gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, helmets, goggles and respirators.

The credit looks to be a boon for more than 250 businesses in Georgia that flipped the switch on their operations to churn out protective gear, including clothing manufacturers and breweries. It would apply to jobs created in those qualified companies through 2024.

Companies that qualify for the state’s Quality Job Tax Credit would also be able to count the number of employees they had in 2019 toward claiming their credit for the 2020 and 2021 tax years.

Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner Rusty Haygood said businesses that have more favorable employment numbers in 2020 or 2021 will also be able to apply those numbers to the credit if they choose.

“It does give flexibility for employers through these challenging times,” Haygood said at a board meeting Wednesday.

The change aims to help businesses in economically struggling areas located in largely rural parts of the state and for certain industries like manufacturing, warehousing, telecommunications and research that have lost employees amid the pandemic.

Kemp, along with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, praised the two tax-credit measures shortly after their passage in late June as critical to bolstering businesses that have been hit hard by virus-prompted closures and diminished revenues.

“This legislative package will shore up those efforts, ensuring that those in the Georgia businesses who have adapted to meet these challenges head on know that we have their back,” Kemp said.