City seeks clawback of tax incentives from filter-maker GVS

City officials are pursuing a clawback of $68,633 in incentives awarded to GVS Filter Technology Inc., which was approved for the tax credits in 2006 but then closed its Indianapolis plant in 2015.

The Metropolitan Development Commission will meet Wednesday to consider a clawback of tax credits awarded to GVS, which makes filters for automotive, medical, industrial and other uses.

At the time GVS secured the local tax incentives, it agreed to retain two existing Indianapolis employees, hire 50 new full-time employees at an average wage of $22.45 per hour and make $9 million in personal property investments at its plant at 5353 W. 79th St. 

The company never quite achieved these goals and, in 2015, closed its Indianapolis facility altogether.

At its peak in 2014, GVS had 42 local employees, and its personal property investment in the Indianapolis facility reached $2.24 million, said Lindsey Richardt, spokeswoman for the Department of Metropolitan Development.

“The city was confident (GVS) would eventually hit their goals, so we were working with them to see this agreement through,” Richardt said. “From the city’s perspective, they were demonstrating upward trajectory throughout the agreement.”

Once GVS closed its plant, the city decided to start pursuing a clawback. The $68,633 that the city is seeking to recover represents the total amount of tax credits that GVS received between 2007 and 2015, Richardt said.

If the Metropolitan Development Commission agrees to proceed with the clawback, the city will send a letter to GVS requesting payment within 30 days, Richardt said. 

In a separate agreement with the state, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. also approved GVS for tax credits of up to $400,000. The agreement covered the period between 2008 and 2014, but company officials did not actually sign the contract until late 2011, according to IEDC documents. 

In that document, GVS said it planned to invest $7 million in its Indianapolis facility and hire 80 people by the end of 2014.

As is standard with IEDC contracts, the benefits period was followed by a two-year period in which the company was required to remain in compliance with agreed-upon investment and job-creation goals.

The IEDC’s website indicates that GVS claimed $219,050 in tax credits but that amount was reduced by $109,525 in an adjustment.

The IEDC said GVS is required to pay back the remaining $109,525 this spring because the closure breached its contract.

GVS, an international company with more than 1,700 employees, currently has one North American facility—in Sanford, Maine. A company representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Indianapolis plant's closure.

The 38-year-old company, which was founded and is headquartered in Italy, also has production facilities or offices in Europe, Asia, Russia, India, South America and Central America.

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