October 25, 2018

The IRS Published Proposed Rules on Opportunity Zones 

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  • Following up on the release of the IRS proposed regulations and accompanying revenue ruling on the Opportunity Zones tax incentive last week, an Enterprise blog post looks at some key elements of those proposed rules. The Treasury Department and the IRS are simultaneously working on additional guidance, including a second round of proposed regulations. Enterprise believes that regulations should incorporate transparency of Opportunity Fund activities and accountability to prevent abuse. For example, collecting transaction-level data from Opportunity Funds will enable the public and Congress to evaluate the efficacy of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. Enterprise encourages the submission of comments to identify ways to improve the regulations. Stay tuned to our blog and Opportunity Zones webpage for additional information.
     
  • In an op-ed in The Hill, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI-6) and Maurice A. Jones, president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), note that leveraging investment incentives in the tax code to drive private capital into distressed and underinvested communities is a win-win proposition. Citing the success of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit programs in leveraging billions of dollars in private sector investments annually, the authors argue that the new Opportunity Zone incentive can spur economic opportunity and direct private capital toward underinvested communities. Upton and Jones urge the Treasury Department to provide sufficient oversight to protect against program abuses and to facilitate the collection of the necessary data to determine whether the incentive is working as intended. (The Hill, October 23) The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) has released the Opportunity Zone Fund Directory, a new online resource that provides descriptions and contact information for publicly announced Opportunity Funds that will direct investment into Opportunity Zones. 
     
  • An article in NextCity highlights Opportunity Alabama, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit dedicated to maximizing the impact of the state’s Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Alabama’s founder Alex Flachsbart points out that the nonprofit, which aims to help build the state’s underdeveloped community development financing infrastructure, will serve as an intermediary to facilitate investor access to all potential projects in Alabama’s 158 opportunity zones. He explains that Opportunity Alabama is developing a system that would help track the impact of the Opportunity Zone incentive on all of Alabama’s low-income communities. (NextCity, October 24)
     
  • Enterprise, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), has announced the HomeFix program, which aims to empower New York City homeowners to remain in their homes by providing homeowner solutions, including home repair loans and technical and financial assistance. Enterprise and HPD have also released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an administrator to run the program. The deadline for submissions to the RFP is 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, November 23, and a pre-submission conference will be held at 2 p.m. ET on Monday, November 1, at our New York City office.
     
  • Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Jose Serrano (D-NY) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter asking their House colleagues to join them in requesting that the “New Markets Tax Credit be permanently extended, along the lines of the bipartisan, New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act (HR 1098), in any tax legislation that comes before the House during the lame duck session.” The letter, which is addressed to Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX), is intended for members who are not on the Ways and Means Committee. The deadline to sign onto the letter is Friday, November 9. 
     
  • Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has rolled out “Resilient Boston Harbor,” a comprehensive vision that calls for implementing climate-change adaptation strategies along the city’s 47-mile shoreline to protect residents and property against the impacts of rising sea levels. The City’s Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space Christopher Cook points out that this plan, which follows the city’s Comprehensive Resilience Plan, includes efforts to preserve existing affordable housing near the harbor, with the potential to create new affordable housing as part of mixed-use redevelopment projects in the waterfront area. (NextCity, October 25)

In Case You Missed It

  • The San Diego City Council has committed to creating 1,260 permanent supportive housing units by 2021. The plan would spread the units evenly, calling for 140 units in each of the city’s nine districts, a fair-share plan modeled off a similar plan recently implemented in Los Angeles. The city is funding this initiative with a mix of existing federal funds and at least $32 million in new state money designated for homelessness relief programs. (San Diego Tribune, October 23).

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