Economic Development Groups Considering Opportunities

More information about the Opportunity Zone program

Economic development organizations from the region gathered recently at Monty’s on the Upper Campus of Bloomsburg University to learn more about a Federal program designed to spur development in selected communities. Qualified Opportunity Zones were created as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program provides tax benefits for investing eligible capital into designated zones.  

Investors who realize capital gains can defer their tax liability by investing in Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF), which are established to provide funding for projects in Opportunity Zones. Funds can be used to invest in commercial properties, housing, and stock or interest in a business. If funds are held in a QOF for at least five years, 10% of the liability on the investment is eliminated. If the investment is held for at least seven years, an additional 5% of the liability is eliminated. If the investor holds the investment for at least 10 years, when the investor sells or exchanges the investment, the liability for the gain on the increased value of the investment is also eliminated. There are deadlines for investing funds in order to maximize tax benefits.

Opportunity Zones were established by census tract based on economic demographics. There are zones in significant areas of Berwick, Bloomsburg, and Danville. Congressman Dan Meuser spoke about the program with Chamber members in August. Meuser attended the workshop in early October which was sponsored by State Senator John Gordner and SEDA-COG. Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard were also in attendance.

The Chamber has been in discussions with other economic development groups about potential projects in the three local zones.