February 14, 2019

Enterprise Community Loan Fund President Lori Chatman Testifies Before the IRS on Opportunity Zones

Today Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise Community Loan Fund, testified before the IRS on the proposed rule for Investing in Qualified Opportunity Funds. Chatman urged the IRS to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the rules implementing the new Opportunity Zones tax benefit so that stakeholders, including Congress and the public, can evaluate the impacts and outcomes of investment in low-income communities.

In her testimony, Chatman stated that “Enterprise continues to stress that transparency and accountability are the keystone to fulfilling the tax incentive’s original intent of transforming economically distressed communities. We urge the Treasury Department to collect and make publicly available transaction-level data from Opportunity Funds so that the public and Congress can evaluate the efficacy of the Opportunity Zones tax incentive.” Read Chatman’s full testimony here.

Enterprise joined 22 other stakeholders in testifying before the IRS, several of whom echoed the importance of strong data collection and reporting requirements, as well as the need to clarify and address other potential barriers to investment.

Today’s hearing took place as the IRS considers public comments in response to the agency’s first proposed rule on Opportunity Zones, which was published in October 2018. Enterprise submitted a comment letter outlining priorities for the IRS to consider as the rulemaking process advances, including:

  • Tracking and reporting outcomes of Opportunity Fund investments
  • Preventing predatory or speculative purchasing of vacant land under the substantial improvement test
  • Requiring a higher “substantially all” threshold for real estate projects
  • Providing regulations that encourage pairing investments with affordable housing and community development tax credits

See Enterprise’s blog post for more information about our December 2018 comment letter on Opportunity Zones.

Next Steps

The IRS has stated it will release a second proposed rule in the near future. This subsequent guidance is expected to address information reporting requirements, among other items.

The rulemaking process is a critical time for affordable housing and community development stakeholders to urge the IRS to enact regulations that support equitable and inclusive economic growth. Stay tuned to our newsletters and blog for updates about the implementation of Opportunity Zones and opportunities to influence the regulations surrounding this new community investment tool.

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