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Cities Asked to Help Identify Low-Income “Opportunity Zones”

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, February 9, 2018

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains new tax incentives for investments in low-income census tracts designated as Opportunity Zones. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Idaho Department of Commerce are calling for cities, counties, and tribes in eligible areas to apply for a Governor’s nomination to participate.

Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. Private investment vehicles that place 90 percent or more of their funds into an Opportunity Zone can earn tax relief on the capital gains generated through those investments. Tax benefits increase the longer investments are in place.

The zones themselves will be designated in U.S. Census tracts that meet the Treasury Department’s qualifications for New Market Income Tax credits. These are U.S. Census tracts where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater and/or family income is less than 80 percent of the area’s median income.

The governor of each state is permitted to designate 25 percent of its “low income census tracts” as Opportunity Zones subject to approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Idaho has 109 low-income census tracts, of which up to 27 may be designated as Opportunity Zones.

Communities in the following counties may qualify for Opportunity Zone nomination: Ada, Adams, Bannock, Benewah, Bingham, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Camas, Canyon, Cassia, Clark, Clearwater, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Madison, Minidoka, Nez Perce, Owyhee, Payette, Shoshone, Twin Falls, Valley and Washington.

Cities, counties, and tribes with eligible census tracts should contact the Department of Commerce and apply via the department’s online portal. For more information, to begin the application process and for access to the online portal, please email grants@commerce.idaho.gov

Questions about community eligibility may be directed to Jerry Miller at jerry.miller@commerce.idaho.gov or 208.287.0780. All applications must be submitted to the online portal no later than 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time on March 2, 2018.

 

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