February 13, 2018

Governors Opt Out of Opportunity Zones if States Miss March 21 Deadline

Opportunity Zones Infographic

By March 21, Governors (State CEOs) will need to submit to Treasury recommendations for Opportunity Zones or request a 30-day extension to do so. Early iterations included a provision which stated that Treasury would designate Opportunity Zones in states where State CEOs failed to meet this deadline. However, that backstop was stripped from the enacted legislation. Last week it was confirmed that if states want to be eligible to receive private investment incented through the Opportunity Zones Program, State CEOs must meet the March 21 deadline or request a 30-day extension of the Determination Period. 

The CDFI Fund now has an Opportunity Zones resource page online, which includes:

  • IRS Revenue Procedure
  • Map of census tracts eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones
  • Sortable, state-level list of census tracts eligible for designation (excel file)

The IRS guidance released last week noted that Treasury will send information on the Opportunity Zone nomination process, including how to access the online Nomination Tool and how to request an extension, individually to all State CEOs. 

Selecting Opportunity Zones for Nomination

The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) has developed guidance for State CEOs, which includes recommendations on how to select Opportunity Zones as well as next steps for that process. For example: 

  • Best practices suggest prime Opportunity Zones: 
    • are poised to absorb private equity capital in a way that promotes positive economic growth,
    • are currently the focus of mutually reinforcing state, local, or private economic development initiatives,
    • have demonstrated success in geographically targeted development programs (i.e. Promise Zones, New Market Tax Credits, Empowerment Zones, Renewal Communities), and
    • have recently experienced significant layoffs due to business closures or relocations.
  • Every State CEO should immediately:
    • establish a process for nominating Opportunity Zones, and 
    • actively solicit input from their mayors, county commissioners, and local economic development organizations to ensure that nominations align with local priorities.

EIG also recommends State CEOs designate a point person or agency to lead state efforts including Opportunity Zone nomination, investor outreach, and public support. 

New, Dynamic Mapping Tools Available This Week

In addition to the national mapping tool Enterprise created in January, dynamic state-level mapping tools will be made available this week based on the IRS guidance defining Opportunity Zone eligibility. The Opportunity360 maps will allow users to filter eligible census tracts utilizing a variety of overlays including demographic information and federal program data to assist with designation strategies. 

For a breakdown of census tract eligibility and a demonstration of the Opportunity360 map, view our recent webinar and blogs:

Questions for Treasury? 

For further information regarding the IRS revenue procedure, contact the principal author, Erika Reigle of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax and Accounting), at (202) 317-7006. The CDFI Fund Help Desk can be reached at (202) 653–0421.

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