Opportunity Zones are designed to incentivize new equity investments in low-income communities nationwide. All of the underlying incentives relate to the tax treatment of capital gains, and all are tied to the longevity of an investor’s stake in a qualified Opportunity Fund. There are three core tax incentives:
Temporary deferral: A temporary deferral of inclusion in taxable income for capital gains reinvested into an Opportunity Fund. The deferred gain must be recognized on the earlier of the date on which the Opportunity Zone investment is disposed of or December 31, 2026.
Step-up in basis: A step-up in basis for the deferred capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund. The basis is increased by 10% if the investment in the Opportunity Fund is held by the taxpayer for at least 5 years and by an additional 5% if held for at least 7 years, thereby excluding up to 15% of the original deferred gain from taxation.
Permanent exclusion: A permanent exclusion from taxable income of capital gains from the sale or exchange of an investment in an Opportunity Fund if the investment is held for at least 10 years. This exclusion only applies to gains accrued on investments made through an Opportunity Fund. There is no permanent exclusion possible for the initially deferred gain.
For a thorough overview and analysis of the benefits of Opportunity Zones investment, see EIG’s Opportunity Zones Fact Sheet.