On December 12, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at revitalizing economically-distressed communities. The directive, titled the “Executive Order on Establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council,” builds off a provision in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) that created tax incentives for investment in areas designated as “opportunity zones” by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The executive order supplements the tax bill provision by establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, which will streamline resources across 13 different federal agencies for opportunity zones, including grant funding, loan guarantees for investors and infrastructure spending. The council will be led by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and convene state, local and tribal stakeholders to coordinate economic development strategies for opportunity zones.
The announcement follows the October 2018 release by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of proposed regulations that would provide guidance on opportunity zones. Guidance is intended to help investors and local governments determine the types of economic development eligible for opportunity zone investments and provide additional information on tax incentives for investors. To help shape this guidance, the IRS is seeking public comments on the proposed regulations, and counties are encouraged to submit comments by the December 28, 2018 deadline.
As of December 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department has identified a total of 8,761 opportunity zones across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Each area will retain that designation through 2028. Many counties contain areas that qualified for opportunity zone status and are eligible for targeted investment. The complete list of designated Opportunity Zones is available at Opportunity Zones Resources.
If your county has a designated zone(s) and you are in the process of working to secure investments, have information or best practices to share, please contact NACo staff members Daria Daniel and Jack Peterson at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.