The Internal Revenue Service has canceled today’s public hearing the opportunity zones, as most of the agency’s employees remain furloughed due to the ongoing government shutdown. A new public hearing date will be announced once appropriations for the Treasury Department have been restored.
The meeting, originally scheduled for January 10th at 10:00 a.m., was to focus on proposed regulations concerning capital gains invested in qualified opportunity funds, which offers potentially significant tax benefits to investors that make long-term investments in certain low-income communities. There are currently more than 8,700 designated opportunity zones across the U.S. and its territories.
In October, the Treasury Department released its proposed regulations to clarify what gains qualify for deferral, which taxpayers and investments are eligible, the parameters for opportunity funds, and other guidance.
According to the proposal, investors can defer taxes until 2026 for capital gains from prior investments, if those gains are redeployed into opportunity zone funds. For opportunity zone investments held for five years, taxpayers can eliminate 10 percent of the deferred gain. For investments held for seven years or longer, 15 percent of the deferred gain can be eliminated.
Opportunity zones retain their designation for 10 years, but under the proposed regulations, investors can hold onto their investments in qualified opportunity funds through 2047 without losing tax benefits.
The opportunity zone program was established as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and based on a bipartisan bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).