Opportunity zones are an economic development tool—that is, they are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.
Qualified Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. These zones are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities throughout the country and U.S. possessions by providing tax benefits to investors who invest eligible capital into these communities. Taxpayers may defer tax on eligible capital gains by making an appropriate investment in a Qualified Opportunity Fund and meeting other requirements.
Each state nominates blocks of low-income areas by census tract, which are then certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service. Through the IRS, investors can file a Form 8896 to create a Qualified Opportunity Fund — vehicles structured as either a partnership or corporation for the purpose of investing in an OZ census track, whether in real estate or directly in businesses through equity.