On March 9th, the Baker-Polito Administration opened the process for Massachusetts cities and towns to apply for federal designation as an Opportunity Zone. The Opportunity Zone program will serve as an economic development tool for municipalities and will incentivize investment in low income areas by offering favorable federal tax treatment for investors. The program is designed to drive increased investment in local opportunities, with the potential to support business growth, housing, and commercial construction.
The Opportunity Zone program, created by the federal tax cut legislation signed in December 2017, allows the governor to nominate up to 138 census tracts for designation as Opportunity Zones. The eligible tracts are located in 110 municipalities across Massachusetts. Investors may invest capital gains into these zones, and both defer and reduce their federal tax liability for those capital gains. These investments must be made through privately-created Opportunity Funds.
To identify the tracts with investment and job growth potential, a brief application available online through March 22nd, allows local governments to propose a single tract, or a set of tracts, for designation as an Opportunity Zone. Applications will be evaluated based on potential opportunities within the zone, planning work done at the local level to prepare for success, and the need of the application area and the surrounding community.
For more information on the Opportunity Zone application process, click here.