While news reports are still full of negative economic news, Lakewood’s Urban Enterprise Zone is able to offer some good news and helpful ideas for area businesses. Joining an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) can offer businesses a wealth of benefits, such as tax breaks and incentives, and policy changes designed to make it easier for area businesses to meet UEZ qualifications. To make it even more enticing for local area businesses to join the program and remain in it, the UEZ is making some changes about employment requirement, recertification, and business sales tax benefits. Businesses with five employees or less will be able to remain in the UEZ program without adding any new employees – a boon to family-operated businesses that are trying to prosper while still keeping their business in the family.
UEZ recertification has also become easier. Instead of having to recertify every year, businesses will only be required to file a full UEZ recertification every three years. In the interim years, they will only need to file a shore version instead of a thick pile of papers.
A change in sales taxes will especially help small to mid-size businesses. Previously, qualified UEZ businesses with gross receipts greater than $3 million were required to pay sales tax at the point of purchase for items and services used exclusively at the UEZ location. Those businesses were then required to submit a request for refund for the amount of tax paid. Now, that threshold has been raised to $10 million in annual gross sales, creating an instant savings to the business.
Businesses looking for help in monitoring their tax status can visit a state-created Web site designed to make handling tax issues easier. The service is available online at http://www.nj.gov/njbusiness/premierservices.shtml.
Best of all, Lakewood’s UEZ benefits may soon be offered to businesses outside the current UEZ boundaries. The local organization is submitting a request to the UEZ Authority in Trenton to allow other business locations to be included in Zone boundaries.
Finally, the Lakewood UEZ has created an expanded Business Encouragement Seminar series to help small businesses expand and grow. Seminars, which are all free, range from marketing on a small budget to Federal Government procurement information.
For more information or to apply for a UEZ designation, call Yehuda Abraham at the Lakewood Municipal Building, 732-364-2500 Ext. 5217. Reader Submitted.