Deferral during Recession
For purposes of ORS 285C.203 (Suspension of employment requirements) to defer the standard enterprise zone exemption, during which time the exemption is suspended and the authorized business firm pays taxes on qualified property:(1) The firm may avoid denial or disqualification for substantial curtailment or other noncompliance (see OAR 123-674-4100 (Employment Requirement to Qualify Initially), 123-674-4600 (Maintaining Sufficient Employment), 123-674-6100 (Mandatory First-year Claim with Property Schedule) and 123-674-6400 (General Firm Disqualification)).(2) The total cost of the investment, consistent with OAR 123-674-4300 (Local Waiver of Employment Increase inside Zone)(5)(a) and (b), must equal or exceed the applicable amount under ORS 285C.203 (Suspension of employment requirements)(1)(a)(B).(3) If electing to do so, the zone sponsor needs to take preliminary action to grant the deferral, such as a formal notification from the local zone manager to the firm, that pending the resolution(s) in section (5) of this rule, declares:(a) Whether the exemption would be suspended for one year or two consecutive years; and(b) The minimum level of employment of the firm, which may even be less than Existing Employment, that is to be maintained during:(A) The suspension period; and(B) The exemption period remaining post‑suspension, if so allowed by the sponsor.(4) Notice in section (3) of this rule may occur only at such a time when, as determined by the Department using the most recent data from Current Employment Estimates (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), over at least two successive calendar quarters during the prior 12 months:(a) Seasonally adjusted state employment shrank; and(b) The unemployment rate of the county containing the property was two percentage points greater than the state’s rate.(5) No later than 60 days after notification in section (3) of this rule or August 31 of the first year of suspension, whichever is earlier, the zone sponsor shall adopt resolution(s) confirming, including but not limited to minimum employment in subsection (3)(b) of this rule and potentially imposing reasonable conditions consistent with OAR 123-668 that are to be:(a) Satisfied by the business firm during and for purposes of the suspension period or of resuming the exemption; and(b) Enforced through revocation or modification of the resolution or disqualification as described in subsections (7)(a) to (c) or section (10) of this rule.(6) In each year of the suspension period, the firm shall file an exemption claim under ORS 285C.220 (Exemption claims), and might even meet normal requirements, but regardless, the county assessor shall in effect deny the exemption under ORS 285C.175 (Enterprise zone exemption) (without necessarily giving notice) and all qualified property covered by the authorization is subject to normal taxation for that year.(7) At the conclusion of the suspension period, the firm shall reclaim and resume the remainder of exemption under ORS 285C.175 (Enterprise zone exemption) on any qualified property, but the firm and property are subject to disqualification under ORS 285C.240 (Disqualification), including but not limited to repayment of property taxes from any year of exemption before the suspension period, if:(a) The sponsor amends or repeals its resolution in section (5) of this rule to revoke the suspension before July 1 following the suspension period;(b) The firm failed to maintain during the suspension period the minimum level of employment set by the resolution, or to satisfy an additional requirement reasonably imposed as a condition of the suspension or to resume the exemption;(c) On or before April 1 of the first year of the resumed exemption period that remains, employment of the firm has not met the minimum level set by the resolution, if such a reduced level is allowed after the suspension period, or as otherwise required under ORS 285C.200 (Qualifications of business firm)(1)(c); or(d) The firm fails to maintain the minimum level set by the resolution if so allowed, or otherwise (again) substantial curtails its operations or fails to meet normal requirements to remain qualified.(8) In the case of an exemption already approved and received, the one-year payment in lieu of disqualification under ORS 285C.240 (Disqualification)(6) may occur with respect to a year before or after the suspension period as described in this rule (see OAR 123-674-6600 (PAYBACK IN LIEU OF DISQUALIFICATION — Applicability) to 123-674-6630 (Utilization of Payments)).(9) The year(s) of noncompliance and of suspension shall correspond, but their exact relationship is subject to the determination of the local zone sponsor in consultation with the county assessor, preferably in preparing the resolution.(10) The sponsor may (for reasons including but not limited to conditions in its resolution):(a) Modify the resolution on or before the next year’s August 31 to retract or insert the second consecutive year of suspension.(b) Grant two one-year suspensions, if separately done in complete conformance with sections (3) and (5) of this rule.(11) The local zone manager shall forward to the county assessor by August 31 of the tax year a copy of any resolution granting the suspension of exemption or of any amendment or revocation of such a resolution.