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Tax Increment Finance Resource Center

Read more about this Tool

Tax Increment Finance (TIF) is a mechanism for capturing the future tax benefits of real estate improvements, in order to pay for the present cost of those improvements. TIF is generally used to channel funding toward improvements in distressed or underdeveloped areas where development would not otherwise occur.


Tax increment finance is a popular development finance tool generally used to address blight, promote neighborhood stability and inspire district-oriented development. TIF uses the increased property or sales taxes (increment) generated by new development to finance costs related to the development such as public infrastructure, land acquisition, demolition, and planning. The life of a district can be anywhere from 10-40 years, or enough time to pay back the costs or bonds issued to fund the improvements.


The tax increment from a TIF district is created without raising taxes, and also without dipping into the base tax revenues present at the time of adoption. The increment thus becomes a repayment stream for debt used to finance some aspects of what is driving the increase.


The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) have collaborated with teams of Tax Increment Finance Experts from across the country to develop a series of resources that highlight the use of this bedrock development finance tool. The resources found on this webpage address what TIF is, why it should be used, and how to best apply the TIF tool. The collaborative efforts of CDFA & ICSC have developed a six-part video series, along with two TIF reference guides that will help experienced and novice TIF users alike.


View the TIF Videos Series from CDFA and ICSC

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-Understanding Tax Increment Finance

Tax increment finance is a popular development finance tool generally used to address blight, promote neighborhood stability and inspire district-oriented development. This section contains useful resources that will help you understand the basics of TIF.

Learn more about Tax-Increment Financing

Improving Tax Increment Financing for Economic DevelopmentMembers only Login
David Merriman from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy explains how tax increment financing (TIF) districts work, illustrates TIF use with case studies from around the country, discusses the rationales for using TIF, describes TIF’s potential benefits and pitfalls, and reviews a large body of academic work that evaluates TIF’s effects on economic development.
CDFA & ICSC Tax Increment Financing Video Series: Tax Increment Financing for the Developer
A successful TIF is a partnership between the jurisdiction, community and the developer. The fourth video in this collaborative series developed by The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) outlines the use of this tool from the developer perspective. This video highlights best practices and common pitfalls for developers utilizing TIF. The nationally recognized practitioners share their perspective about the types of characteristics that make for successful project with TIF.
CDFA & ICSC Tax Increment Financing Video Series: Implementing Tax Increment Financing
The second video in this collaborative series developed by The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) outlines the variety of educational resources provided by the two organizations. Also discussed is the value of each organization and how networking with other practitioners in the field can expand TIF knowledge and access.
CDFA & ICSC Tax Increment Financing Video Series: Tax Increment Financing Explained
Tax increment finance is a popular development finance tool generally used to address blight, promote neighborhood stability and inspire district-oriented development. The first video in this collaborative series developed by ICSC and The CDFA outlines how tax increment financing works to encourage economic development and investment.
Education & Programs: A New Era of Tax Increment Finance
Tax increment finance regulations are changing in a number of states, and Katie Kramer reviews several recent actions in this article from Development Finance Perspectives, Issue 1 | 2012. The article also includes a sidebar on changes to state tax credits.
View More Understanding TIF Resources

-Resources

View all TIF Resources

-Building Community Support

In order for a local government to use TIF to its fullest potential, it is essential to educate the community. This section contains resources on building community support and how to obtain buy in from the community when using TIFs.

Tax Increment Financing: Making the Best Deal for Your CommunityMembers only Login
Daniel Lindstrom and Karl Frantz present on TIF and making the best deal for your community at the Wisconsin American Planning Association Annual Conference
CDFA & ICSC Tax Increment Financing Video Series: Tax Increment Financing in the Community
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) benefits municipalities by providing up-front financing for developments that would not otherwise occur without receiving this form of assistance. The standard is called the “but for” test. The third video in this collaborative series developed by ICSC and the CDFA outlines the use of this tool from the community perspective and highlights the “but for” test. This video explains the importance of educating all stakeholders about the structure of TIF for the life of the project.
The Impact of Tax Increment Financing on Illinois CommunitiesMembers only Login
One of the most popular topics at the Illinois Financing Roundtable is how tax increment financing is used to finance projects across the state. We'll feature that topic again this year, but with a twist. Maureen Barry of Ehlers Inc. explores the broader implications of TIF and considers how this tool can be used in Illinois communities to combat population decline, support disinvested communities, and create social impact through job creation and economic development.
Financing Mechanisms for Addressing Remediation of Site Contamination
This report, produced by CDFA for the World Bank, is intended to provide information to communities and countries interested in identifying potential financing tools for the remediation and redevelopment of contaminated industrial sites. Specific audiences who will find this report useful include finance officials, contaminated site program managers, and economic developers.
View more Building Community Support Resources

-Policies and Procedures

CDFA Texas Webinar: Driving Economic Development with TIRZ
TIF, also known as TIRZ in Texas, is a flexible tool with multiple variations as to the specific revenue sources it can generate and the different ways these revenues are used to support projects financings. During this webinar, presenters will discuss the typical sources for TIRZ repayments including: property tax, sales tax, and special assessments. Our experts will also address the range of ways in which TIRZ funds can be made available to fund projects during or after construction. This webinar will bring TIRZ deal-making and best practices into focus and explore creative ways to maximize this tool in the Lone Star State.
The Use of TIF in IllinoisMembers only Login
One of the most popular topics at the Illinois Financing Roundtable is how tax increment financing is used to finance projects across the state. We'll feature that topic again this year, but with a twist. Herb Klein with Jacob & Klein explores the broader implications of TIF and considers how this tool can be used in Illinois communities to combat population decline, support disinvested communities, and create social impact through job creation and economic development.
The Impact of Tax Increment Financing on Illinois CommunitiesMembers only Login
One of the most popular topics at the Illinois Financing Roundtable is how tax increment financing is used to finance projects across the state. We'll feature that topic again this year, but with a twist. Maureen Barry of Ehlers Inc. explores the broader implications of TIF and considers how this tool can be used in Illinois communities to combat population decline, support disinvested communities, and create social impact through job creation and economic development.
Larry Kosmont, EIFDs & CRIAs Do They Fill the TIF Void?Members only Login
Larry Kosmont from Kosmont companies look at the how enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs) and community revitalization and investment authorities (CRIAs) can be used to fill the TIF void in California.
View more TIF Policies & Procedures Resources

-Reporting and Analysis

Local governments should implement a transparent and thorough due diligence process when using TIFs. This section contains resources on how to analyze TIFs and how to report back to the community.

MN 2017 Tax Increment Financing Legislative ReportMembers only Login
This audit, produced by Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto, details the impacts of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in the State of Minnesota during the 2017 calendar year.
The Effects of Tax Increment Financing on Economic DevelopmentMembers only Login
Local governments attempt to influence business location decisions and economic development through use of the property tax. This report by Richard Dye and David Merriman used an extensive data set for the Chicago metropolitan area that includes information on property value growth before and after TIF adoption
Arvada: Tax Increment Financing in ActionMembers only Login
Tax increment financing is a flexible and creative financing tool that can support development projects throughout Colorado. The Arvada Urban Renewal Authority shares their successes of using TIF for a number of different projects including housing, retail, and historic preservation.
Improving TIF Transparency and Accountability in Michigan
This report from Michigan State University seeks to contribute to the current policy discussion on TIF reform by developing the blueprint for a comprehensive, state-level database on the scale, scope and structure of TIF activities in Michigan.
CDFA TIF State-By-State Report 2015
The CDFA 2015 TIF State-By-State Report is a detailed review of the current state statutes and related regulations governing the use of tax increment financing tools throughout the country. This information has been collected by CDFA with the help from practitioners in the industry, and every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the data provided in this report.
View More TIF Reporting and Analysis Resources

-Programs Map

-Case Studies

CDFA Charter Schools Financing Initiative: Development Finance Strategies for Charter Schools
CDFA's first publication of the CDFA Charter Schools Financing Initiative series, funded with support from the National Alliance For Public Charter Schools. This paper demonstrates how charter schools can access development finance tools and public finance and provides real-world examples of how these tools have been successfully implemented.
CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series: Advancing Food Systems Through Development Finance
This is the sixth and final white paper in a series examining the potential creation of a food systems asset class that supports the market growth of local and regional food systems. This paper presents three replicable strategies for restoring local food systems: reframe food systems development as infrastructure and economic development; build effective relationships and partnerships across the entire food system; and plan for strategic food system financing.
The Impact of Projects Facilitated by the Texas Sales Tax for Economic DevelopmentMembers only Login
The Perryman Group, in collaboration with TEDC, was recently asked to (1) provide a perspective on the importance of proactive economic development and (2) estimate the economic benefits of projects facilitated by the sales tax for economic development. This study examines the impact of projects facilitated by the Texas Sales Tax for Economic Development.
CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series: To TIF or Not to TIFMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series experts examined the best strategies local governments and analysts are using to determine appropriate TIF assistance levels.
Effectiveness of TIF in Austin, TXMembers only Login
The City’s use of tax increment financing in four TIF districts has resulted in positive benefits, including increased tax revenues, redevelopment of disused property, removal of land from a floodplain, and development of more housing. The City recently adopted new, more specific policies that could enhance the benefits the City realizes from the use of tax increment financing.
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-Headlines

-Publications

Tax Increment Finance Best Practices Reference Guide 2nd Edition
The Tax Increment Finance Reference Guide addresses what TIF is, why it should be used and how best to apply the TIF tool. The reference guide also highlights both TIF and special assessment projects from across the country and discusses how they can be applied to address many common economic development issues.
Advance Tax Increment Finance Best Practices Reference Guide 2nd Edition
The Advance Tax Increment Finance Reference Guide examines model policies, guidelines and procedures, and outlines the TIF process from A to Z. Throughout the book, clear guidance is offered for assessing project feasibility and monitoring the performance of active TIF districts. In addition, the guide outlines the critical elements of state TIF statutes that should be known in order to ensure project success and long term economic prosperity.
View More Publications

-Training Courses

Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance Course
January 26-27, 2022
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
CDFA's Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance Course is the foundation for all of CDFA’s educational offerings. This course helps attendees understand the variety of development finance tools available, from bonds, tax credits and TIF, to federal financing programs, RLFs, and access to capital lending resources.
Register
Intro Tax Increment Finance WebCourse
April 25-26, 2022
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
The Intro Tax Increment Finance WebCourse offers an in-depth look at the guiding principles and appropriate application of TIF. Topics discussed include the basics of TIF, negotiating and structuring TIF deals, understanding various financing structures, and combining TIF with different capital sources.
Register
Advanced Tax Increment Finance WebCourse
April 27-28, 2022
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
This course will focus on structuring TIF deals and developing short- and long-term policies. Attendees will also learn about performance monitoring, feasibility analysis, and using TIF in conjunction with other development finance tools.
Register
View All Courses

-Upcoming Events

Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance Course
January 26-27, 2022
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
CDFA's Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance Course is the foundation for all of CDFA’s educational offerings. This course helps attendees understand the variety of development finance tools available, from bonds, tax credits and TIF, to federal financing programs, RLFs, and access to capital lending resources.
Register
Intro Tax Increment Finance WebCourse
April 25-26, 2022
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
The Intro Tax Increment Finance WebCourse offers an in-depth look at the guiding principles and appropriate application of TIF. Topics discussed include the basics of TIF, negotiating and structuring TIF deals, understanding various financing structures, and combining TIF with different capital sources.
Register
Advanced Tax Increment Finance WebCourse
April 27-28, 2022
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern
This course will focus on structuring TIF deals and developing short- and long-term policies. Attendees will also learn about performance monitoring, feasibility analysis, and using TIF in conjunction with other development finance tools.
Register
View more Upcoming Events

-Webcasts

CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series: Layering the Capital StackMembers only Login
This webinar discussed how Bonds, Tax Increment Finance, Tax Credits as well as the litany of federal funding through recent legislation can work for your project and ultimately the community that is benefitting.
Value Capture Strategies: Tax Increment FinancingMembers only Login
This FHWA webinar discusses how Tax Increment Financing (TIF) can be utilized as a value capture strategy for transportation projects. The webinar is intended for professionals from States, cities, counties, Tribes, and metropolitan and rural transportation agencies looking for innovative funding and financial strategies to pay for transportation projects.
CDFA Reframe, Build, Plan: Restoring America's Local Food Systems
CDFA released the final publication of the CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series, Advancing Local Food Systems Through Development Finance. This webinar provides an overview of this publication as we review CDFA's framework for expanding traditional financing and attracting capital to local food systems through the Reframe, Build, Plan approach.
CDFA - PFM Capital Markets Webinar Series: Pricing Private Activity Bonds in Complex Capital StacksMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA-PFM Capital Markets Webinar Series, project finance experts and issuers discussed the viability of how private activity bond deals can fit into complex capital stacks.
CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series: To TIF or Not to TIFMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series experts examined the best strategies local governments and analysts are using to determine appropriate TIF assistance levels.
View More Webcasts

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