Opportunity Zones bring long-term investments to low-income communities, creating economic activity and jobs. Congress created them in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are designated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Opportunity Zones provide tax incentives for private-sector investors to deploy capital into the zones. By investing in Opportunity Zones, investors may defer capital gains taxes if they hold their investments for at least five years. Investors are exempt from capital gains taxes if they hold the investments for 10 years. The benefits of this initiative are highlighted in a report released in 2020 by the Council of Economic Advisers.
Currently, Rural Development has five programs that offer priority points to fiscal year 2020 applications for projects located in Opportunity Zones: