Daily Chronicle

DeKalb County Enterprise Zone building materials savings benefit projects of all sizes

DeKalb County has welcomed significant development projects in recent years – an accomplishment to be celebrated by all – with many attracted by the existence of the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone.

While the enterprise zone offers numerous potential benefits, such as various abatements and credits, one notable incentive can be taken advantage of by all projects big and small, new and existing businesses: Illinois sales tax exemptions on qualified building materials.

Since its creation in 2016, businesses in all participating DeKalb County Enterprise Zone municipalities – Cortland, Genoa, DeKalb, Sandwich, Sycamore, and Waterman – have used the Building Materials Exemption Certificate (BMEC) incentive as part of their location within the zone. BMECs allow applicants working on enterprise zone projects to purchase qualified building materials at reduced costs, saving potentially thousands of dollars in construction costs.

Qualified building materials generally include any materials intended to be permanent fixtures in the project construction. These can include common construction materials such as lumber, cement and sheet metal; plumbing and heating systems; electrical systems; built-in appliances; permanent floor coverings; large computer server systems; and much more. The use of a BMEC relieves some of the construction costs via sales tax exemption for those materials, allowing for substantial project financial savings, especially important for our smaller businesses.

Planning on a new expansion? Thinking about doing some remodeling? Moving your business to a new location? Project construction can be commercial or industrial uses. Contact our office at the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation before you start! Timing is key and we are here to help.

The first – and most important – step to obtaining a BMEC is to first find out if your business or construction site is located within the current DeKalb County Enterprise Zone boundaries. Reference maps are available online through the DCEDC website or the DeKalb County Government COMPASS GIS system. You can also contact our office directly for assistance.

If it looks like you are located within the enterprise zone, you need to get started on your application right away. Note that BMECs can only be issued to contractors (or whoever is looking to make purchases) working on approved enterprise zone projects. If you are looking to start a project to obtain a BMEC, getting started and contacting DCEDC as soon as possible is critical. If you are a contractor working on an existing project, you just need to apply for the BMEC. Our application turnaround is quick once submitted. We want to get you working and your business thriving.

Applying sooner rather than later is essential to maximize your construction cost savings as BMEC sales tax exemptions are not retroactive. This is the most common misstep with the issuance and use of BMECs.

If this sounds like an incentive you could use now or are just curious about the process for the future, contact our office and we will guide you through the application process. The DeKalb County Enterprise Zone exists to help all DeKalb County businesses of all sizes and scopes grow, thrive, and survive.

Information about the DeKalb County Enterprise Zone can be found at www.dcedc.org/enterprise-zone or contact our office enterprise zone staff: Mark Williams, Executive Director, or Andrea Van Drew, Research and Enterprise Zone Assistant, at 815-895-2711.


Andrea Van Drew is the Research and Enterprise Zone Assistant at the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation.