Business Friendly Initiatives

As one of the nation’s leading cities to live and work, the City of Irvine is committed to supporting its growing, diversified economy with exceptional public services and programs that benefit existing Irvine businesses as well as prospective businesses looking to expand or relocate to Irvine.

Low Taxes

The utility user tax (UUT) is 1.5 percent with a maximum pre-paid cap of $5,000 per year.

Development Assistance Center

Primary resource for businesses to quickly access planning and zoning information for business development and expansion opportunities. Experienced staff is familiar with all types of commercial and industrial projects and complete turnaround within reliable timeframes.

One-Stop Permit Center

Prompt personal service to meet “time to market” goals with concurrent review and permit processing, courtesy preliminary plan check meetings, next day building and safety inspections, on-site fire review, and online appointment service.

Low Crime Rate

Irvine named “Safest Big City in America” for 17 years in a row, due to the City’s holistic approach which includes business security analysis, business community policing, collaborative partnerships, proactive problem solving and commitment to public safety.

Business Liaison

Staff designated to facilitate business inquiries with City departments and regional business support service organizations.

Local Vendor Preference

Eligible Irvine businesses receive a 5 percent bid advantage to compete for the City’s procurement of goods and equipment.

Entrepreneur Forum 

An opportunity for local entrepreneurs to pitch business plans to angel, venture and private equity investors with cash awards. The City supports this annual forum organized by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

Business Incubator

Renowned for its collaborative community partnerships, Irvine offers a business incubator to support high tech start ups. The Irvine Chamber of Commerce, Tech Coast Angels, and University of California, Irvine established the Irvine Incubation Center to provide shared support services, reduced rent and a network of mentors for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Business Outreach

In concert with the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, the City meets with business leaders to exchange information, develop relationships and facilitate business opportunities. In 2009, the Mayor led a Trade Mission to Japan and South Korea with community business leaders.

Affordable Housing Strategy

Irvine provides a full spectrum of housing for all income levels to attract and retain skilled, talented workforce for the business community.


Reliable public transportation during peak commute hours help employees reach their destination whether its employment, John Wayne Airport, retailers or UCI with free connections to Metrolink and OCTA bus lines within the Irvine Business Complex (IBC). Two new routes will soon begin from the Irvine Station to the IBC and Irvine Spectrum area.

IBC Vision Plan 

A smart growth, mixed-use development vision for the 2,800-acre Irvine Business Complex, home to nearly 4,500 businesses, 80,000 jobs, and 12,000 residents. The City recently reduced the development fee and adopted a long-term public and private investment plan.

Business Improvement Districts

Business Improvement Districts leverage member businesses’ resources for strategic marketing campaigns, parking facilities and other business-related projects. The City established the Irvine Hotel Improvement District to fund programs and services benefiting the tourism and hospitality industries as well as the greater business community.

Earned Tax Credits

The City partners with community organizations to provide free tax preparation services to income eligible self-employed individuals and employees to claim an earned income tax credit.

Environmental Programs

Knowledgeable staff provides assistance and information on best business practices, green building guidelines, energy rebates and incentives, and how to comply with federal, state and local regulatory requirements.

Permit Fee Waiver for Solar Panels and Solar Water Heaters

To encourage energy conservation practices, the City will waive permit fees for businesses installing solar panels or solar water heaters for one year.

Business Resource Guide

A directory of local and regional business services and resources for workforce development, financial assistance, business counseling, public services/amenities available for employees, meeting venues, and other helpful information.

Business Workshops

Throughout the year, City departments conduct workshops for the business community. Past topics include: procurement guidelines by public and private agencies, zoning regulations and development updates, crime prevention, false alarms, emergency preparedness, recycling and waste reduction programs, and other City services.

Education Partnerships

In support of education excellence, Irvine provides over $5 million annually to local public schools for school resource officers, health and counseling services, sports facilities, and other student-related services.

Film Permit Assistance

Irvine offers free or low-cost film permits (if City services are incurred), location information, and convenient visual opportunities.

Disability Accommodations Services/Referral

Irvine provides information and assists employers with disability accommodation access needs, as well as support services for disabled employees.


Sales and Use Tax Exemptions for Clean Tech

Tax exemption for new manufacturing equipment purchases by clean tech manufacturers and manufacturers of zero-emission vehicles.

Partial Sales or Use Tax Exemption

Option of a 5 percent partial sales or use tax exemption on all qualifying manufacturing property purchased or leased during the first three years of a new or start up business operation.

Net Operating Loss Carryover

New businesses can carry over their losses forward to the next year to offset income in the following years.

Research and Development Tax Credit

Incremental tax credit of 15-24 percent on the net increase in qualified research and development expenditures in California.

Bond Financing

Tax-exempt Industrial Development Bonds up to $10 million are available to assist businesses with construction and/or capital equipment purchase.

Employment Training Panel

Job training funds are available to manufacturing companies, companies that face out-of-state competition and businesses expanding or relocating to California.

Pollution Control Financing

Tax exempt bond financing program helps businesses acquire or construct qualified pollution control and waste disposal facilities, and acquire and install new equipment.

Market Development and Expansion Grants 

Department of Conservation provides up to $20 million annually to increase beverage container recycling and improved processing and manufacturing with recycled products. This program supports research and development of new technologies for sustainable products and packaging.

Film and TV Production Tax Credit

Tax credit of 20-25 percent for expenditures related to film production in the state or production that returns to California. California Film Commission administers this tax credit for the next five years.

Small Business Loan Guarantee

Guarantees may cover up to 90 percent of the loan or up to $500,000 for any business purpose in California.


Savings by Design 

Free architectural and engineering consulting for design/retrofit facilities for energy efficiency. Up to $500,000 incentive for projects estimated to exceed Title 24 or standard practice baseline by 10 percent and up to $50,000 additional incentives for eligible design teams.

Energy Efficiency

Assistance in selecting energy efficient equipment; performing energy tune ups; and financial incentives based on equipment type and energy savings.

Energy rates/Demand Response and Rate Analysis

Reduced electricity costs in exchange for reducing power consumption during critical demand periods. SCE can calculate electricity cost for a new facility.