What is an Opportunity Zone?
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017. The Opportunity Zone program was included in that act, which was designed to provide tax incentives to investors who fund businesses in underserved communities.
Investors are able to defer paying taxes on capital gains that are invested in Qualified Opportunity Funds that in turn are invested in distressed communities designated as Opportunity Zones by the governor of each state. Up to 25 percent of the low-income census tracts in each state can be designated as Opportunity Zones.
How Does the Opportunity Zone Program Work?
The law passed by Congress in December of 2017 states:
- Qualified Opportunity Zones must be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and are required to hold at least 90 percent of their assets in qualified opportunity zone businesses and/or business property.
- To qualify, capital gains must be invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund within 180 days of the date of the sale or exchange that generated the gain.
- The tax deferral is temporary (up to nine years) and the program ends on December 31, 2026.
- Proposed implementation regulations
- U.S. Treasury Department information resource and list of eligible tracts
- IRS Opportunity Zone program resources
- Frequently asked questions
- US Department of Treasury CDFI Fund link