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Opportunity Zones in Alabama (and 19 Other States) Certified by Treasury Department - What Happens Next?

On April 18, the Treasury Department certified the list of 158 Opportunity Zones submitted by Governor Kay Ivey on March 21, 2018. This certification marks the last step in the Opportunity Zone selection process and means that the Census tracts selected will remain Opportunity Zones for the next 10 years.

PolicyMap has published a map of all certified Opportunity Zones nationwide in a mobile format – available here – and is in the process of updating the site to include the new certifications released yesterday. A map of Alabama’s new Opportunity Zones is available from the Treasury Department here.

As of March 18, the Treasury Department has certified Opportunity Zones in 20 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin) and four territories (American Samoa, Northern Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).  These states and territories submitted their Opportunity Zone nominations by the original March 21 deadline. States that did not submit by the original deadline must submit their nominations by the extended deadline of Friday, April 20 to be considered.

As described in greater detail in our February article, the Opportunity Zone program was created as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as an incentive tool to spur place-based investment in low-income communities. The program incentivizes investors to make equity investments in Opportunity Zone-based businesses and development projects by providing:

  • A temporary tax deferral for any realized, but not recognized, capital gains reinvested through the program (the “Original Gain”);
  • The potential for a 10% to 15% reduction in the amount of tax otherwise payable on the Original Gain; and
  • If the investment in the Opportunity Zone is held for ten years or more, a permanent exclusion of any capital gains derived from the eventual sale or exchange of the Opportunity Zone investment (not the Original Gain).


To receive any of the tax benefits described above, all Opportunity Zone-based investments must be made through a Qualified Opportunity Fund (“QOF”). The Treasury Department is responsible for providing guidance on the QOF certification process, and Opportunity Zone-based investment activity is unlikely to occur until that guidance is finalized.