City set to end tax break for tech staffing firm

Indianapolis-based technology staffing company BCForward won’t fight a Department of Metropolitan Development move to discontinue tax breaks for the firm’s Market Street headquarters.

Formerly Bucher & Christian Inc., BCForward executives were amenable to terminating their 10-year tax abatement, since they didn’t hit job-creation targets laid out in a 2009 agreement, DMD senior project manager Ryan Hunt said. The Metropolitan Development Commission will vote Wednesday afternoon on the termination.

The city’s metropolitan development staff has been reviewing tax-abatement compliance for five firms, and BCForward is the first to come before the commission. Others may ultimately be found in compliance, or the city may renegotiate terms of the agreements.

BCForward expected to add 200 jobs by the end of 2012, but the number by August was 166, Hunt said. That included employees of a non-technology staffing subsidiary, StaffForward. The company also retained 276 jobs, as promised.

Hunt said BCForward's hiring has been significant. “We’re not trying to penalize them,” he said. “We just have to maintain the integrity of the program by holding people to their commitments.”

Many of BCForward's new hires have left the company's payroll for permanent positiions with clients, an unexpected trend that could make it difficult to hit job-creation targets in the future, Hunt said.

The city will not try to claw back real estate and personal-property taxes in this case, as BCForward saved only $4,100 under the first three years of the abatement, Hunt said. Losing the abatement won’t drive BCForward out of the city – the firm recently extended the lease on its downtown offices, he said.

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