In December of 2017, a federal bill known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was passed. The new bill is designed to give investors new incentives to reduce and eliminate capital gain taxes. By doing so, it allows for an incredible tax break for investors through a new program known as Opportunity Zones. Through Opportunity Zones, investors will be allowed to defer their capital gain taxes, as well as a permanently excluding taxable income of capital gains from the sale or exchange of an investment in an Opportunity Fund.
The purpose is to have investors reinvest their gains in Opportunity Zone funds. By doing so it will provide tax incentives (to low income areas), as well as temporary tax deferral on investors capital gains. In return, this money is used for qualifying census tract communities, also known as Opportunity Zones. These opportunity zones are designated in the vicinity of residential tracts where there are at least 30 businesses neighboring the sites.
With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, It allows many benefits that Opportunity Zones have for Opportunity Fund Investors will defer, reduce, and eliminate the recognition of these capital gains through December 2026. Accordingly, they permanently avoid taxes on some capital gains when they invest those gains into opportunity funds. Overtime, if tax payers held these gains in opportunity funds after 5 years, then it would result in 10% of taxes being deferred and results in a 10% increase from the original gain. If the funds are held for 7 years, then it would increase by 5% ,resulting in 15% of taxes being deferred. If the investor were to hold these gains in opportunity funds for more than 10 years, then the taxes will essentially be eliminated on any additional capital gains. This bill allows for the government to pin-point census tract locations that qualify to be Opportunity Zones.
The City of Lancaster has six qualifying locations with nearly 4,000 acres within Opportunity Zones, ranging from redevelopment opportunities to vacant land ripe for development and encompassing all zoning types.