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Senate Investigation of Opportunity Zones

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon will lead a Senate Finance Committee investigation into the opportunity zone program. Sen. Wyden's stated purpose is determining "whether it has delivered on Republican promises to create jobs and drive investment in low-income communities, rather than just create a loophole for wealthy investors to avoid paying taxes."

I know 2018 seems like ages ago, so here's a quick refresher: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a program involving so-called Opportunity Zones ("OZs"). OZs are lower-income areas qualified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the program. If a lower-income area qualified as an OZ, then investors could gain tax advantages by investing in those areas. There are several in the Coachella Valley (generally southeast of Indio) and DFW Metroplex (mostly south and west Dallas), and thousands around the country.

Investors needed to make their investments by December 31, 2021 to get the tax benefits. Because that was the effective deadline, we can expect such investments (at least for purposes of getting the benefits of the program) to end as well. So it's probably a good time to determine what the actual effects of the program have been.

HT: This news was originally brought to my attention by the Nonprofit Law Prof Blog.

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