News Column

Tax breaks add up for Memphis companies

August 5, 2014

By Ted Evanoff, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

Aug. 05--Tax incentives have become common for big companies expanding in Memphis.

PILOT property tax break applications rose in the 2000s. Today, more than 400 separate tax deals have been approved to spur jobs and investment, according to a city Treasurer's office report.

Now, one of the city's largest tourist draws plans to tap another source -- sales tax revenue.

Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. has proposed building a 450-room hotel by using future tax revenue on sales at Graceland to pay off an estimated $40 million worth of construction loans.

Presley Enterprises, a business which owns the Elvis brand, is scheduled to outline the tax plan at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday before the Memphis City Council economic development and tourism committee.

Just where would the Presley Enterprises tax incentives stack up compared to the controversial PILOT property tax breaks?

Far down the list.

The 20 largest PILOTs in place in the city in 2013 saved about $13 million in taxes for companies. The saving are for the city's portion only and would be larger if the Shelby County portion were included.

Taxes are paid because the tax savings diminish over time and companies make an annual fee payment. PILOT stands for payment in lieu of taxes.

Here are the largest Memphis PILOTs:

Company Taxes// saved //Taxes paid

FedEx// $3,246,000// $72,484

Jabil// $1,940,800// $166,960

Smith & Nephew// $1,604,000// $206,000

Nike// $810,300// $6,200

The Peabody// $625,700// $278,600

Nucor// $578,400// $100

Riviana// $467,000// $21,200

Thomson// $455,000// $7,500

Uptown Square// $451,000// $3,700

Int'l Paper// $435,500// $521,100

JPI Apts.// $422,900// $49

KTG// $354,600// $34,800

Medtronic// $353,500// $66,700

Medical Center Assn.// $275,000// $204,500

Technicolor// $265,569// $37,600

Crowne Plaza// $258,700// $89,700

AutoZone// $234,600// $117,600

Grand Island// $226,800// $32,200

Bristol Park// $222,400// $10,515

Grove-Mud Isl.// $216,500// $9,300

Source: City of Memphis Treasurer's office


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Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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