New-Year Updates on Opportunity Zones
Written by: Alex Hurley, Jr. Vice-President of Operations at Venture Smarter
Recent developments out of the U.S. Treasury and the White House related to Opportunity Zones show that this initiative is gaining momentum as 2019 begins. Opportunity Zones are components of a federal economic development framework designed to spur investment into specific economically distressed areas around the country. A more thorough background and analysis of the program can be seen in my previous piece, Breaking Down Opportunity Zones.
The Treasury released updated rules and guidance on Opportunity Zones and Opportunity Funds. Their public hearing scheduled to take place on January 10th with the IRS to discuss public comments on these rules has been postponed due to the current government shutdown. Two documents were released to provide further investment information for those interested in participating in this program. The first was additional regulatory guidance, and the second was a list of special revenue rules. A short synopsis of important takeaways from these two documents can be found here.
Additionally, the White House recently announced that it will launch a multi-agency council focused on Opportunity Zones. This 13 agency council will be chaired by U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson with agency participants from Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, Education, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration. Key activities of the council will include evaluating how federal agencies can prioritize opportunity zones; engaging with state and local officials; proposing changes to laws, regulations, policies, and programs to support the Opportunity Zones; and researching data, metrics, and methods to measure the effectiveness of this initiative.
Venture Smarter will be participating in the U.S. Opportunity Zone Expo next week in New York City, which is being put on by the National Infrastructure Investment Alliance. Attendees are expected to receive the most up-to-date information available on Opportunity Zones from Treasury officials, among others.