Providing tax benefits to investors who invest eligible capital into distressed communities throughout the U.S. and its possessions, Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) were created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development and job creation. If you’re considering investing in a QOZ, read on to learn the facts you need to know about this tax incentive.
What Are Opportunity Zones?
Opportunity Zones can deliver significant tax savings on medium- to long-term investments in economically disadvantaged communities. This new tax incentive pertains to both the capital gains invested initially through a qualified opportunity fund, as well as capital gains earned for the investor from businesses or projects in a zone.
5 Facts About the Opportunity Zone Tax Incentive
- You Can Defer Tax on Capital Gains
Taxpayers may defer tax on eligible capital gains by making an appropriate investment in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) and meeting other requirements.
- Partnerships or Partners Benefit from Deferral on Capital Gains Tax
In the case of an eligible capital gain realized by a partnership, the rules allow either a partnership or its partners to elect deferral. Similar rules apply to other pass-through entities, such as S corporations and its shareholders, as well as estates and trusts and its beneficiaries.
- You Have to Meet Criteria to Qualify for the Deferral
- Capital gains must be invested in a QOF within 180 days.
- Taxpayer elects deferral on Form 8949 and files with its tax return.
- Investment in the QOF must be an equity interest, not a debt interest.
- A Taxpayer Having Held Investments for 5 to 7 Years Can Take a Percentage Off the Deferral
If a taxpayer holds its QOF investment at least five years, the taxpayer may exclude 10 percent of the original deferred gain. If a taxpayer holds its QOF investment for at least seven years, the taxpayer may exclude an additional five percent of the original deferred gain for a total exclusion of 15 percent of the original deferred gain. The original deferred gain – less the amount excluded due to the five and seven year holding periods – is recognized on the earlier of sale or exchange of the investment, or December 31, 2026.
- A Taxpayer Can Increase Its Basis for the Qualified Opportunity Zone Incentive When Having Held an Investment for at Least 5 Years
If the taxpayer holds the investment in the QOF for at least 10 years, the taxpayer may elect to increase its basis of the QOF investment equal to its fair market value on the date that the QOF investment is sold or exchanged. This may eliminate all or a substantial amount of gain due to appreciation on the QOF investment.
How do I qualify?
To view the current list of designated Qualified Opportunity Zones, navigate to the Opportunity Zones Resources page at the Department of Treasury’s www.cdfifund.gov. If you still have questions about the Opportunity Zone Tax Incentive, don’t hesitate to reach out by the button below, where your expert will reach out to you at your earliest convenience.
Additional Links & Resources
- List of designated Qualified Opportunity Zones: For a map of all designated QOZs, click here.
- IRS Revenue Procedure: Provides information on the eligibility criteria for census tract designation as a Qualified Opportunity Zone and the nomination and designation process.
- Opportunity Zones Information Resource, with sortable lists by State of all census tracts originally eligible for designation as a QOZ.
- Opportunity Zones Shapefile: This Zip file contains a Geographic Information System (GIS) shapefile of all population census tracts designated as QOZs as well as all population census tracts originally eligible for designation as a QOZ. See Readme text document for additional detail.