Hundreds of industry stakeholders attended a five-hour Opportunity Zone hearing in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 14, calling for clarifications and more flexible regulations on the Opportunity Zone tax incentive program.
Among the concerns brought up during the Internal Revenue Service’s hearing was the six-month window given to Qualified Opportunity Funds to hold capital before investing the money into an Opportunity Zone. Some urged the U.S. Department of the Treasury to relax that period because the program lacks its final guidelines, according to media reports of the hearing. Others voiced concerns about deploying capital within six months, calling it too demanding of a task for a newly formed fund.
Other comments included whether a business can sell more of its goods and services outside the Opportunity Zone it is located in. The proposed regulations could be interpreted in a way that requires 50 percent of gross receipts originate from within the business’ Opportunity Zone, a requirement that would disqualify many businesses from the program based on their sales.
The hundreds of meeting participants included attorneys, developers, economists and accountants.
The IRS only listened to testimony during the hearing. It had received more than 150 written comments beforehand, according to media reports. No decisions were made about changing any of the draft regulations, but IRS officials plan to host another session and consider permanent regulations in the coming months. No hearing date has been set.