Stimulating growth in economically-disadvantaged communities is a provocative aspiration — one that requires collaboration and support from the foremost experts in community development. Partnering with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, the Utah Association of Counties and the Sorenson Impact Center are developing an innovative platform to attract sustainable investments to rural Utah counties.
The Federal Opportunity Zones Program is an innovative reinvestment system established through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Through temporarily deferring taxes on capital gains reinvested into designated Opportunity Funds, researchers estimate that the program may infuse rural and underserved markets with an estimated 6.1 trillion dollars.
Opportunity Zones were drawn from low-income census tracts with poverty rates of at least 20 percent and median family incomes of no greater than 80 percent of the area median income.
The governor of each state nominated up to a quarter of their low-income census tracts to be certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Opportunity Zones.
Additionally, governors were given dispensation to nominate up to five percent of moderate-income tracts that are adjacent to qualifying low-income tracts to be designated as Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Funds invest at least 90 percent of their capital in qualifying assets in Opportunity Zones. Investors who reinvest their realized capital gains into qualified Opportunity Funds receive the following benefits:
Opportunity Funds can invest in real estate projects, provided they build new construction or “significantly improve” existing structures.
Opportunity Funds can also invest in businesses that perform the majority of their operating activities in Opportunity Zones.
The spirit and intention of the Opportunity Zone incentive is to deliver much-needed investment in people and communities where the need and potential for growth is greatest.
Local employers have a new source of equity capital to access when looking to fund projects or expansions.
Individuals and corporations benefit from deferring and reducing their capital gains tax liability.
Under the leadership of the GOED, the Utah Association of Counties and the Sorenson Impact Center have partnered to create “Opportunity Utah.”
We work collectively to help communities realize the benefits of the Opportunity Zone incentive through community engagement, marketing and investor outreach.