122.175 Tax exemption for sale, storage, use, or other consumption of computer data center equipment.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Capital investment project" means a plan of investment at a project site for the acquisition, construction, renovation, expansion, replacement, or repair of a computer data center or of computer data center equipment, but does not include any of the following:

(a) Project costs paid before a date determined by the tax credit authority for each capital investment project;

(b) Payments made to a related member as defined in section 5733.042 of the Revised Code or to a consolidated elected taxpayer or a combined taxpayer as defined in section 5751.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Computer data center" means a facility used or to be used primarily to house computer data center equipment used or to be used in conducting one or more computer data center businesses, as determined by the tax credit authority.

(3) "Computer data center business" means, as may be further determined by the tax credit authority, a business that provides electronic information services as defined in division (Y)(1)(c) of section 5739.01 of the Revised Code, or that leases a facility to one or more such businesses. "Computer data center business" does not include providing electronic publishing as defined in division (LLL) of that section.

(4) "Computer data center equipment" means tangible personal property used or to be used for any of the following:

(a) To conduct a computer data center business, including equipment cooling systems to manage the performance of computer data center equipment;

(b) To generate, transform, transmit, distribute, or manage electricity necessary to operate the tangible personal property used or to be used in conducting a computer data center business;

(c) As building and construction materials sold to construction contractors for incorporation into a computer data center.

(5) "Eligible computer data center" means a computer data center that satisfies all of the following requirements:

(a) One or more taxpayers operating a computer data center business at the project site will, in the aggregate, make payments for a capital investment project of at least one hundred million dollars at the project site during a period of three consecutive calendar years;

(b) One or more taxpayers operating a computer data center business at the project site will, in the aggregate, pay annual compensation that is subject to the withholding obligation imposed under section 5747.06 of the Revised Code of at least one million five hundred thousand dollars to employees employed at the project site for each year of the agreement beginning on or after the first day of the twenty-fifth month after the agreement was entered into under this section.

(6) "Person" has the same meaning as in section 5701.01 of the Revised Code.

(7) "Project site," "related member," and "tax credit authority" have the same meanings as in sections 122.17 and 122.171 of the Revised Code.

(8) "Taxpayer" means any person subject to the taxes imposed under Chapters 5739. and 5741. of the Revised Code.

(B) The tax credit authority may completely or partially exempt from the taxes levied under Chapters 5739. and 5741. of the Revised Code the sale, storage, use, or other consumption of computer data center equipment used or to be used at an eligible computer data center. Any such exemption shall extend to charges for the delivery, installation, or repair of the computer data center equipment subject to the exemption under this section.

(C) A taxpayer that proposes a capital improvement project for an eligible computer data center in this state may apply to the tax credit authority to enter into an agreement under this section authorizing a complete or partial exemption from the taxes imposed under Chapters 5739. and 5741. of the Revised Code on computer data center equipment purchased by the applicant or any other taxpayer that operates a computer data center business at the project site and used or to be used at the eligible computer data center. The director of development services shall prescribe the form of the application. After receipt of an application, the authority shall forward copies of the application to the director of budget and management, the tax commissioner, and the director of development services, each of whom shall review the application to determine the economic impact that the proposed eligible computer data center would have on the state and any affected political subdivisions and submit to the authority a summary of their determinations and recommendations.

(D) Upon review and consideration of such determinations and recommendations, the tax credit authority may enter into an agreement with the applicant and any other taxpayer that operates a computer data center business at the project site for a complete or partial exemption from the taxes imposed under Chapters 5739. and 5741. of the Revised Code on computer data center equipment used or to be used at an eligible computer data center if the authority determines all of the following:

(1) The capital investment project for the eligible computer data center will increase payroll and the amount of income taxes to be withheld from employee compensation pursuant to section 5747.06 of the Revised Code.

(2) The applicant is economically sound and has the ability to complete or effect the completion of the proposed capital investment project.

(3) The applicant intends to and has the ability to maintain operations at the project site for the term of the agreement.

(4) Receiving the exemption is a major factor in the applicant's decision to begin, continue with, or complete the capital investment project.

(E) An agreement entered into under this section shall include all of the following:

(1) A detailed description of the capital investment project that is the subject of the agreement, including the amount of the investment, the period over which the investment has been or is being made, the annual compensation to be paid by each taxpayer subject to the agreement to its employees at the project site, and the anticipated amount of income taxes to be withheld from employee compensation pursuant to section 5747.06 of the Revised Code.

(2) The percentage of the exemption from the taxes imposed under Chapters 5739. and 5741. of the Revised Code for the computer data center equipment used or to be used at the eligible computer data center, the length of time the computer data center equipment will be exempted, and the first date on which the exemption applies.

(3) A requirement that the computer data center remain an eligible computer data center during the term of the agreement and that the applicant maintain operations at the eligible computer data center during that term. An applicant does not violate the requirement described in division (E)(3) of this section if the applicant ceases operations at the eligible computer data center during the term of the agreement but resumes those operations within eighteen months after the date of cessation. The agreement shall provide that, in such a case, the applicant and any other taxpayer that operates a computer data center business at the project site shall not claim the tax exemption authorized in the agreement for any purchase of computer data center equipment made during the period in which the applicant did not maintain operations at the eligible computer data center.

(4) A requirement that , for each year of the term of the agreement beginning on or after the first day of the twenty-fifth month after the date the agreement was entered into, one or more taxpayers operating a computer data center business at the project site will, in the aggregate, pay annual compensation that is subject to the withholding obligation imposed under section 5747.06 of the Revised Code of at least one million five hundred thousand dollars to employees at the eligible computer data center.

(5) A requirement that each taxpayer subject to the agreement annually report to the director of development services employment, tax withholding, capital investment, and other information required by the director to perform the director's duties under this section.

(6) A requirement that the director of development services annually review the annual reports of each taxpayer subject to the agreement to verify the information reported under division (E)(5) of this section and compliance with the agreement. Upon verification, the director shall issue a certificate to each such taxpayer stating that the information has been verified and that the taxpayer remains eligible for the exemption specified in the agreement.

(7) A provision providing that the taxpayers subject to the agreement may not relocate a substantial number of employment positions from elsewhere in this state to the project site unless the director of development services determines that the appropriate taxpayer notified the legislative authority of the county, township, or municipal corporation from which the employment positions would be relocated. For purposes of this paragraph, the movement of an employment position from one political subdivision to another political subdivision shall be considered a relocation of an employment position unless the movement is confined to the project site. The transfer of an employment position from one political subdivision to another political subdivision shall not be considered a relocation of an employment position if the employment position in the first political subdivision is replaced by another employment position.

(8) A waiver by each taxpayer subject to the agreement of any limitations periods relating to assessments or adjustments resulting from the taxpayer's failure to comply with the agreement.

(F) The term of an agreement under this section shall be determined by the tax credit authority, and the amount of the exemption shall not exceed one hundred per cent of such taxes that would otherwise be owed in respect to the exempted computer data center equipment.

(G) If any taxpayer subject to an agreement under this section fails to meet or comply with any condition or requirement set forth in the agreement , the tax credit authority may amend the agreement to reduce the percentage of the exemption or term during which the exemption applies to the computer data center equipment used or to be used by the noncompliant taxpayer at an eligible computer data center. The reduction of the percentage or term may take effect in the current calendar year.

(H) Financial statements and other information submitted to the department of development services or the tax credit authority by an applicant for or recipient of an exemption under this section, and any information taken for any purpose from such statements or information, are not public records subject to section 149.43 of the Revised Code. However, the chairperson of the authority may make use of the statements and other information for purposes of issuing public reports or in connection with court proceedings concerning tax exemption agreements under this section. Upon the request of the tax commissioner, the chairperson of the authority shall provide to the tax commissioner any statement or other information submitted by an applicant for or recipient of an exemption under this section. The tax commissioner shall preserve the confidentiality of the statement or other information.

(I) The tax commissioner shall issue a direct payment permit under section 5739.031 of the Revised Code to each taxpayer subject to an agreement under this section. Such direct payment permit shall authorize the taxpayer to pay any sales and use taxes due on purchases of computer data center equipment used or to be used in an eligible computer data center and to pay any sales and use taxes due on purchases of tangible personal property or taxable services other than computer data center equipment used or to be used in an eligible computer data center directly to the tax commissioner. Each such taxpayer shall pay pursuant to such direct payment permit all sales tax levied on such purchases under sections 5739.02, 5739.021, 5739.023, and 5739.026 of the Revised Code and all use tax levied on such purchases under sections 5741.02, 5741.021, 5741.022, and 5741.023 of the Revised Code, consistent with the terms of the agreement entered into under this section.

During the term of an agreement under this section each taxpayer subject to the agreement shall submit to the tax commissioner a return that shows the amount of computer data center equipment purchased for use at the eligible computer data center, the amount of tangible personal property and taxable services other than computer data center equipment purchased for use at the eligible computer data center, the amount of tax under Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code that would be due in the absence of the agreement under this section, the exemption percentage for computer data center equipment specified in the agreement, and the amount of tax due under Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code as a result of the agreement under this section. Each such taxpayer shall pay the tax shown on the return to be due in the manner and at the times as may be further prescribed by the tax commissioner. Each such taxpayer shall include a copy of the director of development services' certificate of verification issued under division (E)(6) of this section. Failure to submit a copy of the certificate with the return does not invalidate the claim for exemption if the taxpayer submits a copy of the certificate to the tax commissioner within sixty days after the tax commissioner requests it.

(J) If the director of development services determines that one or more taxpayers received an exemption from taxes due on the purchase of computer data center equipment purchased for use at a computer data center that no longer complies with the requirement under division (E)(3) of this section, the director shall notify the tax credit authority and, if applicable, the taxpayer that applied to enter the agreement for the exemption under division (C) if this section of the noncompliance. After receiving such a notice, and after giving each taxpayer subject to the agreement an opportunity to explain the noncompliance, the authority may terminate the agreement and require each such taxpayer to pay to the state all or a portion of the taxes that would have been owed in regards to the exempt equipment in previous years, all as determined under rules adopted pursuant to division (K) of this section. In determining the portion of the taxes that would have been owed on the previously exempted equipment to be paid to this state by a taxpayer, the authority shall consider the effect of market conditions on the eligible computer data center , whether the taxpayer continues to maintain other operations in this state, and, with respect to agreements involving multiple taxpayers, the taxpayer's level of responsibility for the noncompliance. After making the determination, the authority shall certify to the tax commissioner the amount to be paid by each taxpayer subject to the agreement. The tax commissioner shall make an assessment for that amount against each such taxpayer under Chapter 5739. or 5741. of the Revised Code. The time limitations on assessments under those chapters do not apply to an assessment under this division, but the tax commissioner shall make the assessment within one year after the date the authority certifies to the tax commissioner the amount to be paid by the taxpayer.

(K) The director of development services, after consultation with the tax commissioner and in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section. The rules may provide for recipients of tax exemptions under this section to be charged fees to cover administrative costs incurred in the administration of this section. The fees collected shall be credited to the business assistance fund created in section 122.174 of the Revised Code. At the time the director gives public notice under division (A) of section 119.03 of the Revised Code of the adoption of the rules, the director shall submit copies of the proposed rules to the chairpersons of the standing committees on economic development in the senate and the house of representatives.

(L) On or before the first day of August of each year, the director of development services shall submit a report to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives on the tax exemption authorized under this section. The report shall include information on the number of agreements that were entered into under this section during the preceding calendar year, a description of the eligible computer data center that is the subject of each such agreement, and an update on the status of eligible computer data centers under agreements entered into before the preceding calendar year.

(M) A taxpayer may be made a party to an existing agreement entered into under this section by the tax credit authority and another taxpayer or group of taxpayers. In such a case, the taxpayer shall be entitled to all benefits and bound by all obligations contained in the agreement and all requirements described in this section. When an agreement includes multiple taxpayers, each taxpayer shall be entitled to a direct payment permit as authorized in division (I) of this section.

Cite as R.C. § 122.175

History. Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.129, SB 314, §1, eff. 9/28/2012.

Added by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.