Investing in Opportunity Zones: The Facts

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Any bookkeeping, business or tax article contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor can it be used to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included numerous changes for businesses and individuals. One of these was the creation of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive, the purpose of which is to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities by providing tax benefits to investors.

Which Communities Qualify as Opportunity Zones?

Low-income communities and certain contiguous communities qualify as Opportunity Zones if a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory nominated them for that designation and the U.S. Treasury certified that nomination. Using this nomination process, 8,764 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories were certified as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs). Congress later designated each low-income community in Puerto Rico as a QOZ effective December 22, 2017.

For a complete list and visual map of census tracts designated as QOZs visit the Opportunity Zones Resources page at the IRS website.

Tax Benefits of Investing in Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones offer tax benefits to business or individual investors who can elect to temporarily defer tax on capital gains if they timely invest those gain amounts in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF). Investors can defer tax on the invested gain amounts until the date they sell or exchange the QOF investment, or Dec. 31, 2026, whichever is earlier.

The length of time the taxpayer holds the QOF investment determines the tax benefits they receive:

  • Five years. If the investor holds the QOF investment for at least five years, the basis of the QOF investment increases by 10% of the deferred gain.
  • Seven years. If the investor holds the QOF investment for at least seven years, the basis of the QOF investment increases to 15% of the deferred gain.
  • Ten years. If the investor holds the investment in the QOF for at least 10 years, the investor is eligible to elect to adjust the basis of the QOF investment to its fair market value on the date that the QOF investment is sold or exchanged.

Deferral of Eligible Gain. Gains that may be deferred are called “eligible gains.” They include both capital gains and qualified 1231 gains, but only gains that would be recognized for federal income tax purposes before January 1, 2027, and that aren’t from a transaction with a related person. To obtain this deferral, the amount of the eligible gain must be timely invested in a QOF in exchange for an equity interest in the QOF (qualifying investment). Once this is done, taxpayers can claim the deferral on their federal income tax return for the taxable year in which the gain would have been recognized if they had not deferred it. Taxpayers may make an election to defer the gain, in whole or in part. For additional information, see How To Report an Election To Defer Tax on Eligible Gain Invested in a QOF in the Form 8949, Sales and other Dispositions of Capital Assets instructions.

Investing in QOZ Property as a Qualified Opportunity Fund

A QOF is an investment vehicle that files either a partnership or corporate federal income tax return and is organized for the purpose of investing in QOZ property. To become a QOF, an eligible corporation or partnership self-certifies by annually filing Form 8996, Qualified Opportunity Fund with its federal income tax return. The return, together with Form 8996, must be filed timely, taking extensions into account. An LLC that chooses to be treated either as a partnership or corporation for federal income tax purposes can organize as a QOF.

Qualified Opportunity Zone Property

QOZ property is a QOF’s qualifying ownership interest in a corporation or partnership that operates a QOZ business in a QOZ or certain tangible property of the QOF that is used in a business in the QOZ. To be a qualifying ownership interest in a corporation or partnership, (1) the interest must be acquired after December 31, 2017, solely in exchange for cash; (2) the corporation or partnership must be a QOZ business; and (3) for 90% of the holding period of that interest, the corporation or partnership was a QOZ business.

Qualified Opportunity Zone Business Property

QOZ business property is tangible property that a QOF acquired by purchase after 2017 and used in a trade or business and:

  • the original use of the property in the QOZ commenced with the QOF or QOZ business OR
  • the property was substantially improved by the QOF or QOZ business; and
  • during 90 percent of the time the QOF or QOZ business held the property, substantially all (generally at least 70 percent) of the use of the property was in a QOZ.

Leased property may also qualify as QOZ business property. The lease must be a market-rate lease entered into after December 31, 2017, to qualify.

Qualified Opportunity Zone Business

Each taxable year, a QOZ business must earn at least 50% of its gross income from business activities within a QOZ; however, the regulations provide three safe harbors that a business may use to meet this test. These safe harbors take into account any of the following:

  • Whether at least half of the aggregate hours of services received by the business were performed in a QOZ;
  • Whether at least half of the aggregate amounts that the business paid for services were for services performed in a QOZ; or
  • Whether necessary tangible property and necessary business functions to earn the income were located in a QOZ.

Share this post NOw

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Small Business Financial Services

We help you cut through the clutter and noise and help you focus on a clear path to success. We help you succeed with a reliable bookkeeping, payroll support and income tax reporting.
Learn more

Individual Income Tax Services and IRS Response Assistance

Stressed during tax season? Surprised with a huge tax bill? Receiving an IRS letter? FAS can help make your year-end tax compliance less stressful with professional tax services.
Learn more

US and Canada Cross Border Tax Services

Our experienced staff, combined with our US and Canada locations, allows us to provide the tax support you need, wherever you are, at home or abroad.
Learn more

Running a small business is an extremely challenging task. However with a team like FAS, I do not have to worry about our bookkeeping and tax services.

They are truly great team!
Garage Guys Automotive

Very responsive! FAS bookkeeping service has been an integral part of my consulting business.

I highly recommend FAS to business owners who are looking for a reliable business partner to handle their bookkeeping needs.

Bruce Saxton

I have known Christy for about 5 years. She has assisted several of my clients and me personally.

If you are a business owner, Christy makes an outstanding strategic partner. I highly recommend her.

Gerry Brisson

I started looking for a new bookkeeping and tax service firm as my company was no longer getting the service that we deserve from a bookkeeping firm.

I highly recommend FAS to business owners who are looking for a reliable and professional bookkeeping and tax preparation service firm.

Mark Sargent

 Because of the nature of my business and report requirements from corporate that are time-sensitive.

I can count on Cristy and her team’s eye for detail and reliability to deliver accurate and timely financial information.

Terri Foster

We've been with FAS for years and they are one of the most professional and honest people we've worked with.

I highly recommend Cristy, Dennis and FAS Bookkeeping & Tax Services Firm.

Katie To

Being a small business owner means we’re always constrained by time and resource.

I highly recommend FAS for your bookkeeping and tax preparation needs.

Roy Andrade
FAS, with Cristy & Dennis, has been an important part of our progress as a company and I will not hesitate recommending them to business owners who are looking for a serious business partner for such a sensitive financial matter.
Jorge Vasquez
I have referred Cristy to many of our clients and have always been impressed by her professionalism and dedication to her customers.

If you own a small business and operate in the Houston or Katy area you will benefit from working with Cristy on your financials
Roland Parker
Christy is an awesome bookkeeper and adviser. I highly recommend her for personal tax and business tax.

Not only she help with our taxes, she even organize our entire book keeping for very reasonable price.
Kayla Cory
FAS is the best bookkeeping services I have encountered in my 39 years of self employment. They are hard working, ethical and honest in every aspect of their professional lives.

Both Dennis and Cristy have gone way beyond their normal duties to provide services at the highest level.
Marv Conway