On December 19, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations implementing the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are a new community development program that encourages long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. The Opportunity Zone Program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF). QOFs are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. NAHRO previously submitted comments to the IRS on Opportunity Zones in December 2018 and July 2019, and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in June 2019. The final Opportunity Zone regulations aim to provide clarity and certainty for investors and communities that make use of the tax incentive.
The final regulation makes certain changes to the proposed rules issued in October 2018 and May 2019. The final regulation adds clarity and expands the types of capital gains that may be invested in QOFs, the types of gains that may be excluded from tax after an investment is held for the 10-year period, how a QOF determines levels of investment in Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ), and how large C Corporations can invest in Opportunity Zones.