At High Impact, we’re excited about the Opportunity Zones program and its potential to kickstart a wave of long-term investment into economically distressed communities across America. Since the program was announced as part of last year’s tax plan, we’ve been closely following the program’s progression and are eagerly awaiting final guidance on its implementation.
To High Impact, it’s clear that mission-focused stakeholders will need to proactively engage with the Opportunity Zones program to ensure the program delivers on its promise of meaningful job creation and economic development for low-income communities. Unlike other tax incentive programs like New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) or Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), the Opportunity Zones program will not regulate investment through specialized financial intermediaries or an application process. Unencumbered by these restrictions, investment will flow towards projects and geographies that promise the greatest expected return. With that in mind, we stand ready to help our clients and others who calculate returns not only in dollars earned but also in social impact access this program.
For our readers who aren’t familiar with the Opportunity Zones program, great resources already exist covering the program’s structure. The IRS (link) and the Economic Innovation Group (link) provide solid background information on the program and for those looking to identify and pull information on the Qualified Opportunity Zones within their states, Enterprise Community Partner’s Opportunity360 tool (link) is a great resource.