The Opportunity Zones program was established as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017. GOPC published a blog following the creation of the program as a resource to understand program details in its beginning stages. You can review this initial blog for a general understanding for the Opportunity Zones program.
Following the establishment of the program, states who wished to participate could nominate 25% of their eligible census tracts to Treasury by March 21st (with a possible 30 day extension). As was mentioned in our previous blog, Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) opened a submission portal for interested parties in Ohio to recommend census tracts for nomination. For more information on the recommendation/nomination process ODSA used, please visit ODSA’s website. Following that recommendation period, ODSA then worked with the Governor’s Office in order to establish the 320 census tracts Ohio would nominate. Those nominations were sent to Treasury, and have since been certified by the federal government as Ohio’s 320 Opportunity Zones.
GOPC has created a map to visualize the stages of the Opportunity Zones program, which includes: a layer to show all 1200+ eligible census tracts throughout the state, Ohio’s 320 census tracts that were nominated to Treasury, and all 320 census tracts that have been certified. Within this map, GOPC added a layer to visualize regions across the state where CDFI funding has occurred at varying levels. The inclusion of CDFI funding was utilized as a resource for public and private entities in their regional collaboration who were recommending census tracts to ODSA.
The next step for the Opportunity Zones program, following Treasury’s certification of each state’s census tracts, will be the establishment of Opportunity Funds – the investment vehicles that are set up for investing within the Zones. The guidance for certification and regulatory matters regarding Opportunity Funds are being established through Treasury and the IRS. GOPC will continue to provide updates as more information regarding this becomes available. The establishment of Opportunity Funds will likely be completed near the end of 2018.
Additional resources can be found through CDFI Fund, which provides IRS language guidance for the program, a map for the census tracts and the Opportunity Zones designation, and information for how to submit recommendations to the IRS for the Opportunity Funds program.
For preliminary information on the tax incentives for the Opportunity Zones program, the Economic Innovative Group has established numerous educational resources. It is important to remember that the exact details for the program are still being established.