U.S. Federal Incentives

Department of Commerce – Foreign Trade Zones

California’s Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ) are located throughout California, one of which is in San Francisco County. FTZs are territories legally considered outside the United States and allow entry of foreign and domestic goods without formal customs entry or government excise taxes. Department of Commerce – Foreign Trade Zones

Work Opportunity Tax Credit


To promote the hiring of individuals who qualify as a member within at least one of nine target groups, some of which are youth, ex-offenders, and public assistance recipients.


Businesses can reduce their taxes up to $2,400 for each new adult hire, up to $1,200 for each new summer youth hire, and up to $9,000 for each new long-term family assistance recipient hired over a two year period.


A credit against federal taxes is available to any business that hires individuals from a target group of at-risk individuals. Employers may claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for a total of two years. Employers who do not take the full credit amount because of the tax liability limitation may carry back one year or forward 20 years.


A business may qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit if an employee is a member of a designated target group and meets that group’s specific requirements. Employees who qualify the employer for the WOTC automatically qualify a business located in an Enterprise Zone.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

New Market Tax Credits

The investors that make equity investments in organized and certified businesses called Community Development Entities (CDE) can receive tax credits. This incentive provides 39% of the original investment amount and can be claimed for a period of 7 years. New Market Tax Credits

Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Businesses can receive tax credits for investing in the reuse and rehabilitation of historic structures. If the rehabilitation is for a historic building before 1936 then 10% can be received and for certified rehabilitation for historic structures 20% can be received. Historic Preservation Tax Credit

EB-5 Visa for Immigrant Investors

EB-5 is a visa preference category that is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category and they are: creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business. Eligibility: Applicants must invest at least $500,000 into the U.S. and create at least 10 full-time jobs to qualify. EB-5 Visa for Immigrant Investors

Historically Underutilized Business Zones

Small businesses that choose to locate in HUBZones are qualified to receive assistance and compete advantageously in winning federal contracts and “sole source contracts”. Historically Underutilized Business Zones

Small Business Administration – 504 Loans

Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans are marketed, processed, closed and serviced by Certified Development Corporations (CDC). Through the SBA 504 program, CDCs provide up to 90% of fixed-asset financing costs. The second mortgage, long-term, fixed-rate financing nature of the program allows banks to participate in business expansion by reducing risk exposure. The benefit to the borrower is a lower down payment requirement (10%) and a longer-term, fixed-rate loan translating into reduced monthly payments.

The maximum SBA debenture is $1,500,000 when meeting the job creation criteria or a community development goal. Generally, a business must create or retain one job for every $50,000 provided by the SBA except for “Small Manufacturers” which have a $100,000 job creation or retention goal. Small Business Administration – 504 Loans

Department of Energy – Clean Energy Guarantee Loan

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) provides the critical financing needed to deploy some of the world’s largest and most innovative clean energy and advanced technology vehicle manufacturing projects to date. LPO issues loans and loan guarantees to finance deployment of innovative energy projects and advanced technology vehicle manufacturing facilities in the U.S. LPO manages a portfolio compromising more than $30 billion of loans, loan guarantees and conditional commitments covering more than 30 projects across the U.S.  Department of Energy – Clean Energy Guarantee Loan

The White House – Startup America Partnership

“Startup America” is a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. This coordinated public/private effort brings the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders with a wide range of federal agencies to increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will commit $2 billion as a match to private sector investment over the next five years in promising high-growth companies. SBA-guaranteed bonds will match private capital raised by these privately-owned and managed investment funds.  Eligibility: Companies located in underserved communities, early-stage companies.  The White House – Startup America Partnership