Incentives

Take advantage of incentives for new businesses, green building practices, and more.

City of Bellingham Incentives

The City of Bellingham offers many incentives to encourage sustainable development and projects that implement community goals; these include incentives for:

  • Urban villages: targets new business growth and vibrant neighborhood development with exclusive tax and fee reductions.
  • Affordable housing: new housing developments that costs no more than 30% of a family’s gross income are considered “affordable;” these developments can qualify for expedited permitting, fee reductions, and more.
  • Historic preservation: projects that preserve and reuse historic buildings can qualify for a 10-year tax reduction, among other incentives.

Washington State Tax Incentives

There are many state incentives you can take advantage of—some have an average savings of $100,000, while others offer thousands of dollars in tax credits for new hires. Here are a few:

  • B&O tax credit for new hires: up to $4,000 credit for each new position
  • Job skills program—competitive grant: average savings of $100,000
  • Manufacturers of biodiesel fuel, biodiesel alcohol fuel, and feedstock and wood biomass fuel get a B&O tax reduction of 0.138% (instead of 0.484%)

For a full list of incentives organized by industry, check out Washington State Tax Incentives.

Who Benefits?

Both Washington state and Whatcom County offer tax incentives that benefit a myriad of industries and sectors. Here are the general incentive categories:

  • General manufacturing
  • Rural county/community empowerment zone (CEZ) incentives
  • High unemployment county/CEZ
  • High technology industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Extracting & timber manufacturing
  • Food processing/manufacturing industry
  • Biofuel industry
  • Semiconductor industry
  • Aluminum smelting industry
  • Farming & agriculture
  • Renewable energy/green incentives
  • Miscellaneous incentive programs
  • Warehouse incentive programs

See all of Washington State’s tax incentives here.

Green Incentives

Whatcom County, and the City of Bellingham, in particular, have put a huge focus on green development and sustainability. Because of this, we offer special incentives for energy efficiency, water conservation, and green building practices. Benefits include rebates, expedited permit reviews, free technical assistance and consultations, lower utility fees, and more. Learn more about our green incentives with Sustainable Connections’ helpful green building guide.

Whatcom County Tax Environment

In 2009, Washington state was named the “Best State to Start a Business” by U.S. News & World Report. Here are a few reasons why:

  • No corporate or personal income tax: regardless of your company’s size or profitability, you’ll only be taxed on your gross receipts
  • Washington is one of seven states that doesn’t levy a Personal Income Tax
  • No tax on intangible assets, like bank accounts, stocks, or bonds
  • Business and Occupation Tax: this flat rate tax system allows a manufacturer to retain more earnings as profitability grows.

Learn more about our tax environment by contacting the Port of Bellingham.