The Role and Responsibilities of an Industrial Development Agency Attorney


Industrial development agencies (IDAs) provide financial assistance to developers and purchasers of commercial real estate. IDAs also coordinate incentives for specific projects. Industrial development agency attorneys must meet federal, state, and local regulations. They also must meet ethical standards and comply with applicable laws.

IDAs provide financial assistance

In many cases, commercial property purchases involve the local Industrial Development Agency (IDA) receiving financing for the project. Timing of IDA entry into the transaction can be critical, as it will affect costs such as title insurance and real estate transfer taxes. Therefore, attorneys must consider this when determining the timing of IDA entry in a commercial property transaction. For example, an IDA can offer more favorable terms to developers looking to finance a project in advance.

Financial assistance provided by the IDA can range from mortgage recording tax exemptions to sales tax reductions and tax-exempt bond issuances. 

IDAs coordinate incentives for each project

Industrial development agency attorney New York coordinates incentives for each project by providing legal assistance and coordinating the process with IDA officials. IDAs are public benefit corporations established under the General Municipal Law and the Public Authorities Law. Generally, they are exempt from sales tax on the purchases they make for a project. IDAs should consult Tax Bulletin Purchases and Sales by Governmental Entities for guidance on adequately claiming sales tax exemptions for IDA purchases. 

The IDA can also offer a property tax exemption for a project. However, if a project receives additional subsidies, it must document those in its budget to obtain the property tax exemption. In some instances, the IDA may reduce the amount of the property tax exemption if additional subsidies are provided after the property tax exemption is approved. Moreover, if a project deviates from an existing exemption, it must secure the approval of all taxing authorities that impose a property tax on the project.

Board members are unpaid

The Industrial Development Agency is a public agency that promotes business growth. The Agency provides tax breaks and incentives to companies that want to expand or start a new business. The Agency also offers free assistance and low-cost space for new companies. The funding for the Agency comes from the fees that companies pay to receive these breaks.


The Office of Ethics of an Industrial Development Agency Attorney guides financial and non-financial conflicts of interest and personal gifts and obligations. Its mission is to promote honesty, integrity, and compliance with the law. Employees are expected to act ethically, honestly, and transparently, and any violation of these standards may lead to termination or dismissal from the Agency or civil or criminal prosecution.

A member of the Agency should abstain from accepting outside employment. Such employment may compromise their independence of judgment and result in the disclosure of confidential information acquired through their official position or authority.


Industrial development agencies often hire an attorney to help them negotiate deals with contractors, operators, and other parties. These professionals provide legal advice on a variety of issues, including taxation. Their work may also include explaining their responsibilities to the Tax Department. For example, they may present to the Agency’s agent how they can claim sales tax exemption on certain purchases.

Commitment to high ethical standards

High ethical standards are essential to being an Industrial Development Agency attorney. These standards govern how an attorney acts and makes decisions and can profoundly affect a case’s results. Commitment to high ethical standards can also be a helpful way to deal with issues relating to employment and workplace conditions.


Posted in Law