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Global Public Policy

Trump creates council to boost Opportunity Zones

December 14, 2018

President Trump issued an executive order on December 12, directing federal agencies to coordinate their economic revitalization efforts. The newly-formed council of 13 federal agencies was tasked with streamlining, coordinating, and targeting existing federal programs to Opportunity Zones. The council will consider legislative proposals and undertake regulatory reform to remove barriers to revitalization efforts.

The Opportunity Zones program was created by the 2017 tax reform law to spur investment into distressed communities. Investors can defer taxes on capital gains invested into the Zones. Investments held for 10 years or more may pay no taxes on subsequent gains if certain requirements are met.

“The program is designed to encourage investors to deploy capital quickly but still invest long-term,” Treasury official Daniel Kowalski said at a ICSC New York Deal Making panel of Opportunity Zones. The program is anticipated to spur $100 billion in private investment into these distressed areas.

Initial Opportunity Zone regulations were released October 19, 2018. According to Kowalski, Treasury is working on another tranche of regulations that will focus on the operational aspects of the Opportunity Funds that invest in the Zones. Those regulations are expected sometime in January.

Phillips Hinch

Vice President, Tax Policy