***Updated May 13, 2015***
The majority of states have completed their annual data update and are now using 2014 annual data.
For those dedicated and loyal readers of the Impact DataSource TEA blogs, you may have noticed a recurring theme: states can vary significantly on all things TEA. Sticking with that mindset, this blog discusses when states update their TEA data (which yep you guessed it: varies).
First, why do we care when a state updates TEA data? In short, TEA-eligibility for a project can change over time and so there is no guarantee that a site that is currently in a TEA will remain a TEA in the future.
To file individual investor’s I-526s confidently, it is generally (and highly) recommended that the state TEA letter speak to the most current data that the state is utilizing at the time of the investment (or at the time the I-526 is filed). In other words, using outdated or “old” TEA letters leads to problems (and by problems we mean RFEs). Speaking to this point, in one of the 2014 stakeholder calls, USCIS specifically mentioned outdated TEA letters as one of the more common problems seen in I-526 applications. So, it’s important to have a TEA letter reflective of the State’s updated data.
So, when do states release new TEA data?
Almost all states base their TEA calculations on a fixed 12-month period that is updated annually (so just once a year). For this 12-month period, most states utilize the latest finalized calendar year (CY) average. A handful of states utilize the latest 12 months covering a July to June period (latest is currently July 13 to June 14).
Since the majority of all states (including the states that have the most EB-5 activity) utilize the calendar year basis, we’ll focus on those. As of this date of this blog (May 2015), the majority of states have made the switch from CY13 to CY14, with the remaining states soon to follow in the next month or so.
While for most states, a call or e-mail is needed to ascertain exactly (or roughly) when new data will begin to be utilized, other states’ websites will indicate exactly when updated data will be posted.
The following table provides some further detail on when individual states have historically begun using updated TEA data.
|California||May 1 (according to state website)|
|Illinois||Mid March (Illinois will post the exact date each year on their website)|
|New Jersey||Early April|
|New York||Middle of April|
|Texas||Texas is tricky because local mayors and county judges have been given authority to certify TEAs. Many cities/counties are familiar with TEAs and have a process in place, but some of course are not familiar with EB-5/TEAs. As such, depending on your project location, the relevant designating authority(s) in Texas might not have a set process in place for updating their TEA data. We have worked with many Texas cities/counties, so let us know if you have any questions about your project location in Texas.|
As with all TEA analysis, one must take into account not only the timing/methodology differences amongst states, but also the planned timing of the immigrant investment or I-526 filings. As TEA-eligibility for a project site can change over time, understanding when states update their data is just one important aspect of the overall TEA picture. As always, it is important to have potential EB-5 project sites analyzed carefully.For information on state agencies that are designated to certify TEAs, please see http://impactdatas.wpengine.com/state-agencies/
Please contact Impact DataSource for any general or site-specific TEA questions, or if you would like to discuss economic job studies for your regional center projects.