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Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone Program

Sunset Date of the RISE Zone Program: January 1, 2030.

Sunset Change - Property and income tax credits are limited to businesses locating in Zone before January 1, 2023.

A RISE Zone is a geographic area that has a strong nexus with a qualified institution and is targeted for increased economic and community development.  

Qualified institutions include institutions of higher education, regional higher education centers or non-profits affiliated with a federal agency. 

The purpose of RISE Zones is to access institutional assets that have a strong and demonstrated history of commitment to economic development and revitalization in the communities in which they are located.  Qualified institutions and local governments develop a targeted strategy to use the institutional assets and financial incentives to attract businesses and create jobs within the zone. The program also incentivizes the location of innovative start-up businesses based on technology developed licensed or poised for commercialization at or in collaboration with qualified Maryland institutions.

A RISE Zone designation will be in effect for 5 years, with a possible additional 5-year renewal. Counties and municipalities are limited to a maximum of three RISE Zones, and the size of each Rise Zone is limited to 500 acres.

The current RISE Zones are:

Municipality RISE Zone Acres Expires
​Baltimore City 
​University of Maryland - Baltimore (UMB)
​Baltimore County
​Towson University
​Montgomery College
​Prince George's
​Greater College Park


The benefits for businesses locating in a RISE Zone or an existing business making a significant capital investment or expansion within the RISE Zone include:
  • Real Property Tax Credits – A five-year credit against the property tax on a portion of the real property expansion, renovation or capital improvement.  The amount of the credit is at least 50% of the “eligible assessment” in the first year, and at least 10% in the second through fifth taxable years. 
  • Income Tax Credit – There are two types of income tax credits for businesses in a RISE Zone: A one-time $1,000 tax credit for each qualified new employee filing a newly created position in a RISE Zone; and a $6,000 credit claimed during a three-year period for hiring an economically disadvantaged employee in a RISE Zone. 

There are additional benefits for businesses located within a RISE Zone that have certain nexus to a Qualified Institution:
  • Rental Assistance Program – A Qualified Institution, political subdivision, county and/or a municipality may establish a program to provide rental assistance to a business that moves into or locates in a RISE Zone on or after the date of the RISE Zone designation, has nexus with a Qualified Institution located the RISE Zone, and has been in active business no longer than 7 years.  A business is eligible for rental assistance for up to three years. 
  • Enhanced Investor Tax Credit – A qualified investor may be eligible for an enhanced income tax credit equal to 50% of the investment made to a Qualified Maryland Biotechnology Company (QMBC) under the Biotechnology Incentive Investment Tax Credit Program or eligible for an enhanced income tax credit equal to 50% of the investment made to a Qualified Maryland Technology Company (QMTC) under the Maryland Innovation Investment Incentive Investment Tax Credit Program


Commerce administers the designation of the Qualified Institution and RISE Zone.  Once Commerce designates the RISE Zone, each Qualified Institution, political subdivision, County and/or Municipality is responsible for qualifying eligible businesses for the Real Property Tax Credit, the Income Tax Credit, and the Rental Assistance Fund. 

The designation of a RISE Zone is a two-step process.  Institutions must first apply to Commerce to be designated a Qualified Institution.  Qualified Institutions may then jointly apply with a county, municipality or the economic development agency of a county or municipality to designate a RISE Zone.

Within 90 days of submission of the application, the applicant will be notified if it has been designated a Qualified Institution. 

Within 120 days of submission of an application, the applicants will be notified if the RISE Zone will be designated.

The RISE Zone remains in effect until January 1, 2028, subject to extension by the Maryland General Assembly.


Abigail McKnightTax Specialist
Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of Finance Program
(410) 767-7234