In 2018, the State of Iowa announced the Mason City Opportunity Zone, identifying an area that shows potential for growth and encouraging the long-term investments that will allow it to thrive. The zone’s boundaries consist from approximately 4th Street NW to the city’s southern limit at 230th Street, and from Federal Avenue west to about Monroe Avenue.
Created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones are a federal economic development tool aiming to improve the outcomes of distressed communities around the country. Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts that offer tax incentives to groups who invest and hold their capital gains in Zone assets or property. By investing in Opportunity Zones, investors stand to gain a temporary deferral on their capital gains taxes if they hold their investments for at least 5 years, and a permanent exclusion from a tax on capital gains from the Opportunity Zones investments if the investments are held for 10 years.
Tax Benefits to Investing in Opportunity Zones
For an investor to realize the tax benefits of investing in Opportunity Zones, an investor’s capital gains must be invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund with 180 days of the sale or exchange that generated the gains. Investors are then eligible to defer the tax on their capital gains until the earlier of: the date the Opportunity Fund investment is sold or December 31, 2026.
The capital gains invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund are eligible for partial tax forgiveness if the investment is held in a Qualified Opportunity Fund for at least 5 years. After 5 years, only 90 percent of the original gain is taxed. If the investment is held for 7 years, only 85 percent of the original gain is taxed.
If an investment in a Qualified Opportunity Fund is held for 10 years, any tax on the appreciation of that investment is forgiven.
What are Opportunity Funds?
Opportunity Funds are Treasury-certified investment vehicles, that deploy capital into Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Funds are required to hold at least 90 percent of their assets in an Opportunity Zone, or face penalty for each month it fails to meet the investment requirement. The penalty equals the amount of the investment shortfall, multiplied by the underpayment rate as defined in Section 6621(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- “Opportunity Zones Target Mason City for Investment”
- Parts of Mason City, North Iowa nominated for ‘opportunity zone’
- IRS.gov Opportunity Zone FAQ
- Iowa Economic Development Authority – Opportunity Zones
- Iowa Opportunity Zones Announcement Press Release