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Montana is where ideas grow into opportunities.

Montana’s spectacular unspoiled nature and unparalleled access to public lands make for a one-of-a-kind backdrop to build and grow a business. Montana truly is an incubator for innovation.

Strong public education system, including research universities

Montana has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country, as well as a culture of strong relationships among business, K-12 and post-secondary institutions to help employers meet workforce demands and engage in cutting-edge research and innovation.

Hard-working, skilled labor force

With access to world-class research institutions, two-year public colleges, and a strong apprenticeship program, Montana’s workers are first rate. Plus, Montanans are known innovators who are launching new companies and ideas at the highest rate in the nation. 


 

Montana Film Industry

The Montana Economic Development Industry Advancement (MEDIA) Act, a tax credit for film productions in Montana, was signed into law by Governor Steve Bullock on May 7, 2019, it becomes effective July 1, 2019. The MEDIA Act provides for a 20% production expenditure transferable tax credit, with additional components that can increase the credit to a maximum of 35% of total base film production investment.


Big Sky Trust Fund

The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund can provide your business expansion project up to $7,500 per eligible job created, depending on the average income of the county. Eligible uses of funds include: purchase of land, building or equipment; lease rate reduction; relocation costs; and employee training. The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund can also provide up to $25,000 in the form of a grant for planning and/or feasibility work. That might include architectural designs, engineering, and infrastructure. 


Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant

Managed by the Department of Commerce, the Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant can provide an additional $5,000 per eligible job created to be used for a wide variety of eligible training expenses. Part-time employees can qualify for a grant of up to $2,500 per employee. 


Data Center Tax Incentive

The Data Center Tax Incentive may qualify developers of data centers in Montana for a tax incentive. The project must be 300,000 square feet or larger and have a total investment of $150 million. Developers may qualify for a reduced tax rate for a 15-year period. This incentive is meant to augment Montana’s already attractive data center attributes, including a skilled workforce, low operating and utility costs, and established data infrastructure. 


New or Expanding Industry Tax Abatement

A business that earns 50% or more of its annual gross income from out-of-state sales is eligible for the New or Expanding Industry Tax Abatement. This abatement requires the approval of the local governing body and reduces the taxable valuation of business property by either 50% or 75% (at the discretion of the local governing body) for the first five years of operation. The taxable value increases after five years by an equal amount annually until 100% taxable value is reached in the tenth year.


Incumbent Worker Training

Incumbent Worker Training is an employer-sponsored program that provides grant funding to assist eligible Montana small businesses offset the cost of training for their existing (incumbent) workers. Its intent is to create a stronger workforce through developing employees and strengthening small business for Montana residents.


Montana Registered Apprentice Program

Registered apprenticeships are a highly customizable, earn-while-you-learn training program that increases retention and provides a career pathway to higher wages. Currently, more than 90 different occupations are available across Montana in a variety of industries that are helping businesses effectively build a highly skilled workforce.


Apprenticeship Tax Credit

Beginning in the 2018 tax year, businesses can receive a $750 tax credit for each new apprentice or $1,500 for each new apprentice who is a veteran. The Apprenticeship Tax Credit may be applied for each qualified apprentice’s training program for the length of the training period, up to five years.


Loan Participation Program

The Montana Board of Investments can purchase up to 80% of your commercial loan, and rates can be reduced by .05% for each job created with a maximum reduction of 2.5% (for 50 new jobs). Montana Board of Investments loan programs.


Value-Added Business Loan Program

The Montana Board of Investments can purchase a percentage of your commercial loan (up to 75% for this program) with terms of up to 15 years. Depending on the number of jobs associated with your project, you could receive a 2% interest rate for the first five years of the loan. Montana Board of Investments loan programs.


New Markets Tax Credits

For projects that are at least $4 million in size, New Markets Tax Credits are commonly a valuable tool. These can either be used directly by the project’s investors or sold and used to help capitalize the project. MoFi, formerly the Montana Idaho Community Development Corporation, is responsible for deploying these tools in Montana, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development works closely with them to identify applicable projects. Provided certain requirements are met, New Markets Tax Credits can be one of the most valuable tools available. Those requirements are: at least 50% of revenue must be generated on location; at least 40% of tangible property must be on location; and at least 40% of services must be performed on location.


Corporate Income Tax Credits

Information about the following credits.

  • Alternative Energy Production Credit
  • Alternative Fuel Credit
  • Biodiesel/Bio Lubricant Production Facilities Credit
  • Biodiesel Blending and Storage Credit
  • Capital Gains and Dividends from Small Business Investment Company Tax Exemption
  • College Contribution Credit
  • Contractor's Gross Receipts Tax Credit
  • Dependent Care Assistance Credit
  • Disability Insurance for Uninsured Montanans Credit
  • Donation of Exploration Information Deduction
  • Empowerment Zone Tax Credit
  • Energy Conservation Investments Deduction
  • Film Employment Production Credit
  • Film Qualified Expenditures Credit
  • Geothermal System Credit
  • Historic Buildings Preservation Credit
  • Increase Research and Development Activities Credit
  • Infrastructure User Fee Credit
  • Insure Montana Small Business Health Insurance Credit
  • Mineral and Coal Exploration Incentive Credit
  • New/Expanded Industry Credit
  • Oilseed Crushing Facility Credit
  • Qualified Endowment Credit
  • Recycle Credit
  • Recycle Deduction
  • Research and Development Firms Tax Exemption
  • Temporary Emergency Lodging Credit
  • Unlocking State Lands Credit

Property Tax Incentives

Information about the following credits.

State Options

  • New Industrial Property
  • Pollution Control Equipment
  • Gasohol Producing Equipment
  • Electrolytic Reduction Facilities
  • Research and Development
  • New or Expanding Industries
  • Expanding "Value-Added" Machinery and Equipment
  • Reduced Rate for Remodeling of Building or Structures

Local Options

  • Exemption for New or Expanding Industry
  • Exemption and Abatement for Remodeling or Expansion of Certain Commercial Property
  • Remodeling, reconstruction, or expansion of buildings or structures - levy limitations
  • Exemption for Business Incubators
  • Industrial Parks
  • Historic Properties
  • Local Economic Development Organization
  • Suspension, Cancellation of Delinquent Taxes
  • Value-Added Manufacturing

Natural Resource Tax Incentives

Information about the following credits.

  • Coal Severance Tax Exemption
  • Metal Mine License Tax Exemption
  • Reduced Rate for Natural Resource Tax - New Oil Production
  • Reduced Rate for New Horizontally Drilled Oil Production
  • Reduced Rate for Oil Incremental Production
  • Reduced Rate for Oil Stripper Production
  • Reduced Rate for Post 1/1/99 Oil Production
  • Reduced Rate for New Natural Gas Production
  • Reduced Rate for Natural Gas Stripper Production
  • Reduced Rate for Post 1/1/99 Natural Gas Production

Silicon Valley gets all the glory, but the real hotbed of American entrepreneurship appears to be a few hundred miles to the northeast: Montana.” -- The New York Times

Tourism

More than 12.4 million out-of-state visitors spent an estimated $3.7 billion in Montana’s Main Street stores, restaurants and hotels in 2018, making the tourism industry one of Montana’s largest sectors. That’s according to the Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research.

Montana’s tourism industry supports 59,330 jobs and $1.5 billion in annual salaries.

Visitors seek out Montana because they place a high value on the ability to create their own authentic experience, whether that’s hiking across public lands, fly-fishing on one of our blue-ribbon trout streams, or enjoying a pint of locally grown craft beer at a Montana brewery.


Outdoor Recreation

With a booming tourism industry, it’s no surprise that Montana’s outdoor recreation industry has a $7.1 billion impact in the state. The outdoor recreation industry supports 71,000 jobs, and those workers contribute $286 million in state and local tax revenue.

Launched in 2017, Montana’s Office of Outdoor Recreation was established to make sure this industry can grow and flourish.

Outdoor recreation industry success stories can be found in every corner of Montana.

In Whitefish, a retired skier saw a need to offer backcountry skiing opportunities, so he retrofitted trail grooming machines with fiberglass cabins to get groups of people to mountains of untouched snow. Now, Great Northern Powder Guides is a world-class cat skiing company right here in Montana.

Outdoor Recreation


Agriculture

Montana’s agricultural industry continues to be a primary driver of the state’s economy with $4.3 billion in agricultural production in 2016. Montana is home to 27,400 farms and ranches, which span nearly 60 million acres.

Montana is a big producer of wheat, lentils, barley, safflower, canola and sugarbeets. It’s also home to a large livestock industry.

Montana grows the best wheat and barley in the world, which is used to fuel a growing craft beer industry in Montana and around the nation. Montana Craft Malt is building the state’s first-ever malting facility meant to support the craft beer industry with Montana-made malts.

Montana’s producers are also making investments in value-added processing throughout the state, taking world-class raw commodities and turning them into healthy and delicious products like Kracklin Kamut, an ancient grain organically grown in Montana’s golden triangle.

Meadowlark Closeup


Manufacturing

Montana leads the nation in manufacturing growth. Since 2010, Montana manufacturing employment has increased by 21 percent, far outpacing the national increase of just 8 percent. More than 3,370 manufacturers operate their businesses in Montana. Most manufacturers in Montana work in fabricated metal, food products, wood products, apparel and miscellaneous.

Refineries, metal fabricators, and food processors have been joined by advanced manufacturing in aerospace, photonics, and industrial equipment to increase the diversification and sophistication of the Montana manufacturing sector.

A growing industry in this sector, and a real Montana success story, is the craft beverage industry. Beer, distilled spirits, and wine manufacturing has increased significantly in Montana, growing from 267 workers in 2011 to 711 workers in 2015, an increase of 166 percent. Although breweries had the most employees, distilleries were the fastest growing. Total beer production has increased 87 percent since 2010 at a pace of 13 percent per year, with no signs of slowing.


High-Tech

The technology sector of Montana’s economy has dramatically accelerated its growth in recent years. With exceptional talent being trained in Montana or recruited to the area, an ever-larger pool of private investment capital, and consistently improving direct flight markets, it’s never been easier to start and grow a high-tech firm in the state. In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that at least $105 million in venture capital went to Montana firms. 

Several locations in Montana have been working diligently to achieve the critical mass of talent, companies and capital required for a strong and diverse high-tech ecosystem. And the state has supported this effort through an expanded registered apprenticeship program, tax incentives for businesses, and grants to support job creation and commercialization.

In Bozeman, a professor and his student have launched a company that could revolutionize how diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are studied – and potentially treated – with optics technology. Revibro Optics makes high-speed flexible mirrors for use in microscopes and other optical instruments. In Missoula, onXmaps, a revolutionary company at the intersection of outdoor recreation and high-tech, landed $20 million in venture capital in addition to state support for job creation.


Data Centers

Montana is well known for its spectacular unspoiled nature, access to world-class outdoor recreation, and pristine air and water. Still, Montana offers far more than an exceptional quality of life. These resources contribute to an ideal location for large data center development. Paired with access to the lowest market power rates in the country and an outstanding tax incentive package for building large data centers, Montana is one of the premier data center locations on the planet.

Montana’s power resources, water and climate are ideal for large data center development. Plus, the state offers a new tax classification for large data centers, which results in certainty for developers and paired with an improved tax abatement may significantly save money for developers.

Montana Site Selector

Revibro Optics

Why Tech Company Revibro Chose Montana

Every tech company that can start in Montana and be maintained in Montana is in Montana’s interest. Perhaps [the] biggest impact locally, changing the story from we make wheat to we make wheat and a bunch of cool science stuff.

Chris Arrasmith, Revibro
Bozeman, Montana


"We wouldn’t be able to compete at the level that we do if we were located anywhere else in the country. It’s a distinguishing factor of why many of our partners want to work with us."

Anthony Krolczyk, LumenAd
Missoula, Montana