PhillyInc: Apple is buying up Pennsylvania tax credits

Posted: February 12, 2013

There are many things to call Apple Inc.

Maker of the iPhone, iPad, and other must-have products. The world's most innovative company, and the world's most valuable company (at times).

Allow me to add to the list: "Major buyer of Pennsylvania tax credits."

The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology Goliath may have more cash than investor David Einhorn believes is prudent, but Apple isn't foolish when comes to taxes. Apple apparently is trying to reduce its tax liability in Pennsylvania by buying up tax credits from other companies here.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED) annual report on the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) tax credit program lists Apple as having acquired 32 approved tax credits worth $2.33 million in 2012.

The Rendell administration created the KIZ program in 2004 to support early-stage companies with ties to Pennsylvania colleges. Firms in operation for less than eight years and situated in one of the 29 zones statewide can apply for a tax credit of up to $100,000.

Last year, the DCED approved a total of $13.73 million in tax credits to 179 companies across the state. Of those totals, 43 Philadelphia-area companies were awarded a total of $3.33 million in credits.

Young companies often apply for these credits not to offset their own tax liabilities, but to raise money. The KIZ program allows companies to sell or assign their tax credits for cash.

Which is where Apple and other buyers, such as Susquehanna Bank ($2.53 million), First Commonwealth Bank ($2.20 million) and Kohl's Department Stores Inc. ($182,806), come in.

Small companies got between 88 cents and 92.8 cents on the dollar when they sold their credits through a broker recently.

Since 2006, the sale of KIZ tax credits has generated $48.9 million in capital that companies in those zones have used to expand their operations, hire workers, and fund prototypes, according to the annual report.


Contact Mike Armstrong

at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, "PhillyInc," at www.phillyinc.biz.

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