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WHAT BLACK INVESTORS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OPPORTUNITY ZONES

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Black investors have historically invested in land to build wealth. Real estate is generally seen as a solid investment because property values typically rise over time. Property can be passed from one generation to another; used to diversify an investment portfolio; and is considered less risky than the stock market. Now, there is a new option for blacks to become investors and receive tax breaks with a new real estate asset class: Opportunity Zones.

Opportunity Zones are low-income areas the U.S. Treasury classifies as “qualified opportunity zones.” Investors can make these asset investments through Qualified Opportunity Funds.

The investments are geared to accelerate economic development in almost 9,000 designated areas in America and Puerto Rico, says tax attorney Steve Moskowitz, a founding member of the San Francisco-based tax law firm Moskowitz L.L.P.

Opportunity Zones were added as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They allow investors to defer tax on any capital gains until 2026 and avoid a capital gains tax on the sale of an Opportunity Zone. Those funds are then invested in property and businesses located or operated within the designated QO Zones.

WHAT EXACTLY ARE OPPORTUNITY ZONES?

According to the Economic Innovation Group, the 2017 tax provision provides “a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds.” African American Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) played an integral part in including the zones in the tax law.

The ante is high as there is a massive amount of capital gains that could be invested in Opportunity Zones. Based on estimates that U.S. households and corporations possess over $6 trillion in unrealized capital gains, some officials contend that the program has great potential to trigger an influential change in distressed communities.

Even if a portion of that amount of money was committed, it could possibly mean billions of dollars for poor areas across the country. That is because the program is specifically designed to increase economic opportunity by incentivizing new development in low-income urban and rural areas, says Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA).

Read more @ Black Enterprise

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