May 8, 2019

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Opportunity Zones Reporting Requirements Bill

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Today Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Todd Young (R-IN), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a bill, S. 1344, that would require the Secretary of the Treasury to collect data and issue a report on the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. Enterprise applauds these Senators’ commitment to evaluating the effectiveness of the new Opportunity Zones tax incentive and we strongly urge Congress to enact this legislation. This legislation takes a critical and meaningful step toward strengthening the accountability and transparency of Opportunity Fund investments, which is a key policy priority for Enterprise.

Why this Matters 

Originally proposed in the bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act, which was sponsored by Senators Booker and Scott in the Senate and Representatives Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ron Kind (D-WI) in the House, the Opportunity Zones tax incentive aims to attract long-term, patient equity capital into designated low-income communities, i.e. Opportunity Zones. The Investing in Opportunity Act included language requiring the Treasury Department to report on the impacts and outcomes of Opportunity Fund investments; however, when the tax incentive was ultimately enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reporting requirements were not included.  

Since the Opportunity Zones tax incentive was enacted, Enterprise has been urging Congress and the Administration to commit to reporting public data on investments in Opportunity Zones. Enterprise believes that the Opportunity Zones tax incentive should be used to advance equitable and inclusive growth, and that an important part of assessing this new tax incentive is transparency and accountability through data and reporting requirements. Enterprise believes that the federal government must require public data collection and reporting on Opportunity Fund investments and outcomes, allowing Congress and the public to evaluate whether this new tax incentive is driving equitable investments.

How the Bill Would Promote Transparency and Accountability for Opportunity Zones 

Data Collection and Reporting about QOFs. The bill would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to collect information on investments held by qualified opportunity funds (QOFs), including:

  • The number of QOFs;
  • The amount of assets held in QOFs;
  • The composition of QOF investments by asset class;
  • The percentage of designated Opportunity Zones that receive QOF investments; and 
  • The impacts and outcomes of zone designation on economic indicators including job creation, poverty reduction, new business starts, and other metrics as determined by the Treasury Secretary.

The bill would require the Treasury Secretary to submit a report to Congress, including the above information, beginning five years after the bill’s enactment and annually thereafter. 

Data Collection and Reporting about Investments. The Treasury Secretary would also be required to collect information at the investment-level:

  • The total amount and date of an investment;
  • The type of investment – such as whether it is in an existing business, new business, or real estate
  • The location of a business or real estate investment;
  • The type of activity being supported by the investment – such as whether a real estate investment is for a single-family or multi-family residential property or commercial property, or what economic sector a business investment is supporting;
  •  In the case of a business investment, the approximate number of full-time employees at the time the investment was made; and 
  • In the case of a real estate investment, the approximate total square footage and approximate number of residential units. 

The bill would require the Secretary to make the above information publicly available no later than one year after the enactment of the bill, and annually thereafter as the data is reported by any QOF. 

The bill would also require the Treasury to establish appropriate procedures and measures to ensure that the data collection and reporting is not duplicative or redundant, and that any personally identifiable data is properly protected and not publicly released.  

Click here to view the bill. 

Next Steps

Enterprise strongly supports the bill and encourages our partners to ask your Senators to support S. 1344 and reporting requirements for the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. This bill would codify the Treasury’s responsibility to collect and publicly provide critical data on Opportunity Funds and their investments, an important addition to the statute that established the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. 

Related, Enterprise is preparing comments in response to a request for information from the Treasury on the development of public information collection and tracking related to Opportunity Zones. The public comment period closes on May 31, and Enterprise is planning to share our comments with partners in advance of the deadline. 

Stay tuned to our blog for more information. For questions or comments, please contact Sarah Brundage, senior director, public policy, at sbrundage@enterprisecommunity.org
 

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