105-129.83. Eligibility; forfeiture.

(a) Eligible Business. - A taxpayer is eligible for a credit under this Article only with respect to activities occurring at an establishment whose primary activity is listed in this subsection. The primary activity of an establishment is determined based on the establishment's principal product or group of products produced or distributed, or services rendered.

(1) Air courier services hub.

(2) Aircraft maintenance and repair.

(3) Company headquarters, but only if the additional eligibility requirements of subsection (b) of this section are satisfied.

(4) Customer service call centers.

(5) Electronic shopping and mail order houses.

(6) Information technology and services.

(7) Manufacturing.

(8) Motorsports facility.

(9) Motorsports racing team.

(10) Research and development.

(11) Warehousing.

(12) Wholesale trade.

(b) Company Headquarters Eligibility. - A taxpayer is eligible for a credit under this Article with respect to a company headquarters only if the taxpayer creates at least 75 new jobs at the company headquarters within a 24-month period. A taxpayer that meets this job creation requirement is eligible for credits under this Article with respect to the company headquarters for three taxable years beginning with the year in which the job creation requirement is satisfied. A taxpayer that creates an additional 75 new jobs at the company headquarters in a 24-month period during a three-year eligibility period does not qualify for any extended eligibility period. However, a taxpayer that creates an additional 75 new jobs at the company headquarters in a 24-month period after the completion of a three-year eligibility period is eligible for credits with respect to the company headquarters for an additional three taxable years beginning in the year in which the additional job creation requirement is satisfied.

(c) Wage Standard. - A taxpayer is eligible for a credit under this Article in a development tier two or three area only if the taxpayer satisfies a wage standard. The taxpayer is not required to satisfy a wage standard if the activity occurs in a development tier one area. Jobs that are located within an urban progress zone, a port enhancement zone, or an agrarian growth zone but not in a development tier one area satisfy the wage standard if they pay an average weekly wage that is at least equal to ninety percent (90%) of the lesser of the average wage for all insured private employers in the State and the average wage for all insured private employers in the county. All other jobs satisfy the wage standard if they pay an average weekly wage that is at least equal to the lesser of one hundred ten percent (110%) of the average wage for all insured private employers in the State and ninety percent (90%) of the average wage for all insured private employers in the county. The Department of Commerce shall annually publish the wage standard for each county.

In making the wage calculation, the taxpayer shall include any jobs that were filled for at least 1,600 hours during the calendar year the taxpayer engages in the activity that qualifies for the credit even if those jobs are not filled at the time the taxpayer claims the credit. For a taxpayer with a taxable year other than a calendar year, the taxpayer shall use the wage standard for the calendar year in which the taxable year begins. Only full-time jobs are included when making the wage calculation.

(d) Health Insurance. - A taxpayer is eligible for a credit under this Article only if the taxpayer provides health insurance for all of the full-time jobs at the establishment with respect to which the credit is claimed when the taxpayer engages in the activity that qualifies for the credit. For the purposes of this subsection, a taxpayer provides health insurance if it pays at least fifty percent (50%) of the premiums for health care coverage that equals or exceeds the minimum provisions of the basic health care plan of coverage recommended by the Small Employer Carrier Committee pursuant to G.S. 58-50-125.

Each year that a taxpayer claims a credit or carryforward of a credit allowed under this Article, the taxpayer shall provide with the tax return the taxpayer's certification that the taxpayer continues to provide health insurance for all the jobs at the establishment with respect to which the credit was claimed. If the taxpayer ceases to provide health insurance for the jobs during a taxable year, the credit expires, and the taxpayer may not take any remaining installment or carryforward of the credit.

(e) Environmental Impact. - A taxpayer is eligible for a credit allowed under this Article only if the taxpayer certifies that, at the time the taxpayer claims the credit, there has not been a final determination unfavorable to the taxpayer with respect to an environmental disqualifying event. For the purposes of this section, a "final determination unfavorable to the taxpayer" occurs when there is no further opportunity for the taxpayer to seek administrative or judicial appeal, review, certiorari, or rehearing of the environmental disqualifying event and the disqualifying event has not been reversed or withdrawn. No later than January 31 of each year, the Secretary of Environmental Quality shall provide an annual report to the Department listing all environmental disqualifying events for which a final determination unfavorable to the taxpayer was made in the prior calendar year and shall provide the name of the taxpayer involved and the date that the disqualifying event occurred.

(f) Safety and Health Programs. - A taxpayer is eligible for a credit allowed under this Article only if the taxpayer certifies that, as of the time the taxpayer claims the credit, at the establishment with respect to which the credit is claimed, the taxpayer has no citations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act that have become a final order within the past three years for willful serious violations or for failing to abate serious violations. For the purposes of this subsection, "serious violation" has the same meaning as in G.S. 95-127. The Commissioner of Labor shall notify the Department of Revenue annually of all employers who have had these citations become final orders within the past three years.

(g) Overdue Tax Debts. - A taxpayer is not eligible for a credit allowed under this Article if, at the time the taxpayer claims the credit or an installment or carryforward of the credit, the taxpayer has received a notice of an overdue tax debt and that overdue tax debt has not been satisfied or otherwise resolved.

(h) Expiration. - If, during the period that installments of a credit under this Article accrue, the taxpayer is no longer engaged in one of the types of business described in subsection (a) of this section at the establishment for which the credit was claimed, the credit expires. If, during the period that installments of a credit under this Article accrue, the number of jobs of an eligible company headquarters falls below the minimum number required under subsection (b) of this section, any credit associated with that company headquarters expires. When a credit expires, the taxpayer may not take any remaining installments of the credit. The taxpayer may, however, take the portion of an installment that accrued in a previous year and was carried forward to the extent permitted under G.S. 105-129.84. A change in the development tier designation of the location of an establishment does not result in expiration of a credit under this Article.

(i) Forfeiture. - A taxpayer forfeits a credit allowed under this Article if the taxpayer was not eligible for the credit for the calendar year in which the taxpayer engaged in the activity for which the credit was claimed. A taxpayer forfeits a credit previously allowed under this Article if a final determination unfavorable to the taxpayer with respect to an environmental disqualifying event is made that is applicable to the year in which the activity occurred for which the credit was claimed. In addition, a taxpayer forfeits a credit for investment in real property under G.S. 105-129.89 if the taxpayer fails to timely create the number of required new jobs or to timely make the required level of investment under G.S. 105-129.89(b). A taxpayer that forfeits a credit under this Article is liable for all past taxes avoided as a result of the credit plus interest at the rate established under G.S. 105-241.21, computed from the date the taxes would have been due if the credit had not been allowed. The past taxes and interest are due 30 days after the date the credit is forfeited; a taxpayer that fails to pay the past taxes and interest by the due date is subject to the penalties provided in G.S. 105-236.

(j) Change in Ownership of Business. - As used in this subsection, the term "business" means a taxpayer or an establishment. The sale, merger, consolidation, conversion, acquisition, or bankruptcy of a business, or any transaction by which an existing business reformulates itself as another business, does not create new eligibility in a succeeding business with respect to credits for which the predecessor was not eligible under this Article. A successor business may, however, take any credit or carried-over portion of a credit that its predecessor could have taken if it had a tax liability. The acquisition of a business is a new investment that creates new eligibility in the acquiring taxpayer under this Article if any of the following conditions are met:

(1) The business closed before it was acquired.

(2) The business was required to file a notice of plant closing or mass layoff under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. 2101, before it was acquired.

(3) The business was acquired by its employees directly or indirectly through an acquisition company under an employee stock option transaction or another similar mechanism. For the purpose of this subdivision, "acquired" means that as part of the initial purchase of a business by the employees, the purchase included an agreement for the employees through the employee stock option transaction or another similar mechanism to obtain one of the following:

a. Ownership of more than fifty percent (50%) of the business.

b. Ownership of not less than forty percent (40%) of the business within seven years if the business has tangible assets with a net book value in excess of one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) and has the majority of its operations located in a development tier one area.

(k) Advisory Ruling. - A taxpayer may request in writing from the Secretary of Revenue specific advice regarding eligibility for a credit under this Article. G.S. 105-264 governs the effect of this advice. A taxpayer may not legally rely upon advice offered by any other State or local government official or employee acting in an official capacity regarding eligibility for a credit under this Article.

(l) Planned Expansion. - A taxpayer that signs a letter of commitment with the Department of Commerce, after the Department has calculated the development tier designations for the next year but before the beginning of that year, to undertake specific activities at a specific site within the next two years may calculate the credit for which it qualifies based on the establishment's development tier designation and urban progress zone, port enhancement zone, or agrarian growth zone designation in the year in which the letter of commitment was signed by the taxpayer. If the taxpayer does not engage in the activities within the two-year period, the taxpayer does not qualify for the credit; however, if the taxpayer later engages in the activities, the taxpayer qualifies for the credit based on the development tier and urban progress zone, port enhancement zone, or agrarian growth zone designations in effect at that time.

(m) Qualified Capital Intensive Corporations. - A corporation that is a qualified capital intensive corporation under G.S. 105-130.4(s1) is not eligible for any credit under this Article with respect to the facility that satisfies the condition of subdivision (2) of that subsection. (2006-252, s. 1.1; 2007-491, s. 44(1)a; 2009-54, s. 3; 2010-147, s. 1.4; 2011-302, s. 7; 2015-241, s. 14.30(v).)