NAFOA Submits Comments on Opportunity Zone Guidance
December 19, 2018
In response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that provides proposed regulations and further guidance on the new Opportunity Zone tax incentive, NAFOA developed and submitted comments with recommendations to ensure that tribal governments can successfully benefit from the incentive.
The deadline for submitting comments on the proposed regulations is Monday, December 28, 2018. We invite you to use NAFOA's letter in part or in whole in the development of your own comments. Comments can be submitted electronically via the Federal Rulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-115420-18).
Opportunity Zones is a new tax incentive created through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to will encourage long-term investments in low-income communities across the United States, including a large portion of Indian Country. Opportunity Zones provides an incentive for investors to receive a tax deferral by re-investing their unrealized capital gains into what are known as Opportunity Funds. As the regulations are currently written, tribal governments are at risk of being excluded from what promises to be significant investments in distressed communities.
NAFOA has been active in disseminating information to tribal governments and facilitating discussions about Opportunity Zones. We have hosted webinars and in-person discussions with tribal government representatives, as well as with the investment community, the community development finance field, and other related organizations. Through this outreach, we have received a significant amount of feedback.
That feedback led to the following key recommendations included in our comment letter:
- Lease Valuation Clarification - Leases of tangible property must be considered Qualified Opportunity Zone Business Property and count towards the 70% tangible property requirement in the business property definition (1400Z-2(d)(3)(A)(i)).
- Eligible Entities Inclusion - Tribal governments must be included in the eligible entities that can form a corporation or partnership for Qualified Opportunity Funds.
- Tribal Consultation - Treasury and IRS must conduct tribal consultation as soon as possible to ensure that they satisfy Treasury’s Consultation Policy and gather input directly from tribal governments.