The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 includes a new revitalization tool that incentivizes investments into low-income census tracts by allowing investors to defer tax on prior capital gains, so long as the gains are reinvested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund. Each qualifying fund is created to invest in eligible properties located within a designated “Opportunity Zone.” Under the provisions of the law, each Governor can designate approximately one quarter of all low-income census tracts for investment. After soliciting input from local officials, the Northam administration designated 212 census tracts in 60 counties and 32 cities as Opportunity Zones. This interactive map provides the location of the qualifying census tracts within each jurisdiction. Later this year the U.S. Treasury department will formalize the rules governing the qualifying of both the funds and properties within Opportunity Zones.
This new program provides an opportunity for counties to work with local financial institutions, as well as outside investors, in developing potential projects for reinvestment. Additionally, the tax incentive may be leveraged with other state and federal economic development programs such as GO Virginia, Enterprise Zones, and historic tax credits to maximize revitalization in targeted areas.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will post updates on the guidelines and rules governing the program as they become available. These should include eligible types of investment such as those in real property and businesses. For more information go to DHCD – Opportunity Zones.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP