Opportunity Zones are low-income census tract that were nominated by Governors and certified by the IRS where private investors can invest capital gains taxes through funds that are established (called Qualified Opportunity Funds) and receive preferential tax advantages in future years.
In June 2019, the Foothills Regional Commission and Isothermal Community College hosted a gathering of the region’s community and economic development leaders focused on Federal Opportunity Zones.
Jeanne Milliken Bonds of Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond presented the information linked below:
- Qualified Opportunity Zones: Innovation and Responsiveness
- Opportunity Zone Investing: 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act
- Statement on Opportunity Zones from Chairman Jay Clayton, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Later that same year, Ms. Bonds shared an in-depth presentation during the region’s Economic Development Day focused on Opportunity Zones, Qualified Opportunity Funds, and examples of regional projects. Click here to view the slides.
FRC staff developed a framework for use by its membership. Click here to view the FRC framework. Click here to view a draft prospectus outline for our membership to use as a starting point in developing a community prospectus.
Treasury and IRS Issue Final Regulations on Opportunity Zones
In December 2019 the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued final regulations regarding the implementation of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. The final rules provide clarity for Opportunity Funds and their eligible subsidiaries in determining qualification and levels of investment in Opportunity Zones. They also provide guidance on the types of capital gains that qualify for Opportunity Zone investments. Please click here to view the regulations, and click here to view FAQs.
Opportunity Zones in ARC Region
Appalachia is Opportunity Zone Leader Three Appalachian-based community organizations were recently recognized as among the nation’s top ten 20 Opportunity Zone Catalysts as per Forbes Magazine. These included a partnership between the Opportunity Zone Development Company and the Erie Downtown Development Corporation which has announced two Opportunity Zone Funds poised to invest up to $60 million in Erie, Pennsylvania; Opportunity Alabama which is developing programs to educate communities on policy and social impacts of projects across Alabama’s 158 Opportunity Zones; and Opportunity Appalachia, a newly formed consortium of community development partners with plans to invest in Opportunity Zones in Appalachia’s rural coal impacted communities. With help through ARC’s POWER Initiative, Appalachian Community Capital, the lead organization of Opportunity Appalachia, officially launched the Opportunity Appalachia program to provide technical assistance to communities in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia to develop community strategies and structure invest able transactions targeting Opportunity Fund (QOF) Investors. This program could potentially create an estimated 700 jobs in a variety of industries. More information about the program and pre-registration for upcoming seminars can be found on the Appalachian Community Capital website.
A listing of Opportunity Zone funds can be found here. Click here to find out more about the regulations and other guidance issues from the IRS.
Click here to fund funds created under the Opportunity Act is with the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created by the nation’s state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs).
The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Opportunity Zones web page can be found here.
LISC Opportunity Zones Community Playbook
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has partnered with the Council for Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) and the Ford Foundation to develop a playbook for community partners on Opportunity Zones. This playbook is the first in a series in which LISC aims to lay out potential trajectories and best practices for the range of Opportunity Zones actors. The playbook is available here
Workforce in the Opportunity Zones
Pay for Success: How Emerging Finance Tools Are Supporting Workforce Development
Community Development in the Opportunity Zones
The Bottom Line: Now’s the Opportunity for Cities to Work on Their Zone Defense
EDA Tool for Accessing Information for Opportunity Zones
EDA is encouraging communities to see Opportunity Zones as a “new arrow in their quiver” to enhance business attraction and drive needed investment in distressed communities. To help with this process, EDA has partnered with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to add an Opportunity Zone tool to the agency’s StatsAmerica website.
The tool provides a map of Qualified Opportunity Zones, and provides an overlay of key demographic and social information that may be leveraged by economic developers, planners, and investors when considering potential investments in a community. This tool may be helpful for communities working on developing an Opportunity Zone Prospectus, and those working to develop Opportunity Zone projects. To access the tool, please click here.