Downtown Business Incentive Credit Preapproval

Tax Administration Policy for City of Portland Business License Tax related to the Downtown Business Incentive (DBI) Credit preapproval process.

Tax Administration Policy - Downtown Business Incentive Credit Preapproval

Portland City Code (PCC) 7.02.875 provides a credit to eligible businesses in the Downtown Business Incentive district consisting of the following sub-districts: Lower Albina, Lloyd, Downtown, and Old Town/Chinatown. An eligible business must file an application with the City of Portland Revenue Division and receive the division’s preapproval to use the credit on its Business License Tax (BLT) return.  

An eligible taxpayer is one who:

  • Enters into a new lease or extends a current lease during the 2023 or 2024 calendar year within the district, or
  • owns and occupies a building within the district, and
  • maintains fifteen full time employees or more who work at least half their time in the district.

For purposes of this credit, the term “enters into” or any of its variations means the signing of a lease agreement. A lease or extended lease entered into during the 2023 or 2024 calendar year is a lease in which the agreement was signed in those calendar years.

For lease extensions, only those entered into in 2023 or 2024 with a start date in calendar years 2023, 2024, or 2025 qualify for the credit. For a new lease entered into in 2023 or 2024 with a start date in 2025 to qualify for the credit, the taxpayer must already have a location within the Downtown Business Incentive district and meet the 15-employee criteria. Only the square footage of the newly leased space is used in determining the credit allowed.  

Application for Preapproval

A business must complete and submit the Downtown Business Incentive Credit application for preapproval. It must include a copy of the signed lease with the application. The checkbox attesting that the business has fifteen full time employees who all work half of their time within the district must be checked. An incomplete application will result in a denial of the credit.  

Denied Application

A denied application for the credit does not create appeal rights under the Business License Law.

If an application is denied due to an incomplete or inaccurate application, the business can resubmit a new application to provide missing information, to correct inaccurate information, or explain its circumstances.

If an application is denied because a business does not appear to meet qualification criteria, the business can submit a letter to the Revenue Division’s Audit Manager explaining why it believes it should qualify for the credit. The Audit Manager will consider the information provided and either approve or deny the credit.

The Audit Manager’s decision can’t be appealed. However, the Mayor’s Office has expressed a willingness to consider options for expanding the scope of businesses that may be eligible for the credit depending upon the effectiveness of the current criteria in meeting the Downtown Business Incentive credit’s goals.

Annual Attestation to Fifteen-Employee Requirement

The credit is divided by four, and one-fourth of the credit is claimed over four consecutive tax periods beginning with either the 2023 or 2024 BLT return. A business must attach a brief statement to the BLT return that attests the business meets the fifteen-employee requirement. This and any other eligibility criteria are subject to audit.  

1/02/2024                                    Tyler Wallace
Date                                              Director

Adopted: 1/02/2024