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Press Release

NYCEDC Launches New Sales Tax Exemption Program to Support Small Business Retailers and Industrial Businesses in Highly Distressed Areas

Jan 08 2019

New York City Industrial Development Agency’s ASTEP program will lower costs of construction, upgrades or expansions for eligible businesses

New York, NY – New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today launched the Accelerated Sales Tax Exemption Program (ASTEP) to support the growth and competitiveness of small industrial, non-retail commercial, and food-retail businesses located in highly-distressed neighborhoods of New York City.

Businesses that meet the required criteria can apply for sales tax exemptions of up to $100,000 for the purchase, installation and maintenance of materials and equipment for the purpose of upgrading and growing a variety of business activities. The program is designed to significantly reduce transaction costs for smaller companies, which typically have fewer resources, while supporting the development of projects that are not eligible for other New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) discretionary tax incentive programs, such as the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) initiative.

“Small business retailers and industrial businesses helped shape New York City’s economy into what it is today, and they will continue to play a critical role in its future,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “ASTEP both supports small businesses and stands to improve the quality of life for residents located within highly distressed neighborhoods by reducing certain costs that can often create barriers to growth and success.”

“It’s no secret that starting and successfully running a small business in New York City is a daunting and arduous task,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “When the time for maintenance, upgrading or expansion comes, the sales tax on already high costs can be a significant barrier. ASTEP will provide relief and financial support for many small business owners, especially those in high need neighborhoods, to allow them to continue serving their communities. I encourage everyone who meets the requirements to apply for this great program.”

“Far too many communities of color throughout the city have lacked reasonable access to healthy produce options and while the FRESH initiative has helped bring better supermarkets into areas, there have been barriers that have limited its growth to adequately address the issue,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “The launch of NYCEDC’s ASTEP will help small business owners break through some of those barriers, providing more access to supermarket owners who want to build a new store or expand their existing business. I’d like to thank EDC President and CEO James Patchett for identifying the limitations of the current programs available to business owners and making a shift to address those concerns.”

Under ASTEP, there is no cap on number of eligible projects within a one-year period and there are no square footage requirements. Eligible applicants must be located in a highly distressed neighborhood. Highly distressed neighborhoods are defined by U.S. census tracts as areas where there the poverty rate is at least 20% or at least 20% of households are receiving public assistance, and an unemployment rate of at least 1.25 times the statewide unemployment rate which is currently 4.2%. ASTEP also includes guidelines for retailers on how to merchandise products to encourage purchasing of healthy food and snack offerings.

Eligible businesses interested in applying for ASTEP can request assistance with the application, as well as guidance throughout the process. Applicants are subject to a one-time $500 application fee and an annual agency fee of 0.25% of the total project cost. More information is available on the ASTEP website here, and interested parties may email us at [email protected].

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.