Federal government approves Wisconsin Opportunity Zone designations

The U.S. Treasury Department has approved Gov. Scott Walker’s economic Opportunity Zone designations for Wisconsin, opening the door for greater private investment in low-income communities across the state.

Last month, Walker recommended the designation of 120 Opportunity Zones across 44 counties in rural, urban, and tribal areas of the state. Click here to see the full list of Wisconsin designated Opportunity Zones.

The Opportunity Zones Program created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is designed to drive long-term investment to low-income communities by providing investors with certain tax incentives when they re-invest unrealized capital gains in designated Opportunity Zones.

Opportunity Zone Program Quick Facts:

  • Opportunity Zones are census tracts, recommended by governors and officially designated by the U.S Treasury Department, that are eligible to receive private investments through Opportunity Funds. Opportunity Zone designations last for 10 years.
  • Opportunity Funds are a new class of investment instruments certified and authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department to direct private investment into Opportunity Zones.
  • Opportunity Funds are authorized to invest in Opportunity Zone Property, which is defined as stock in a domestic company, interest in a domestic partnership, or tangible business property.
  • The Opportunity Zones Program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds. The incentives include:
    • Temporary deferral of capital gains that are re-invested into Opportunity Funds;
    • Investors can also reduce taxes owed on rolled-over capital gains (by 10% – 15%) if they hold their Opportunity Fund investment for at least five years; and
    • Capital gains on Opportunity Fund investments are excluded from taxable income if investments are held for at least 10 years.
  • It’s anticipated the Opportunity Zones Program will be fully implemented by the fourth quarter of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019.

For more information on the Opportunity Zones program, click here to read an overview of program details provided by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.