Guest blogger: Bruce Lyon, Winter Haven Economic Development Council
The federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 created the opportunity for state Governors to designate up to 25% of the Low-Income Census Tracts in each state as "Opportunity Zones". On Thursday, April 19, 2018 Governor Scott released his list of Florida Opportunity Zones including six located in or adjacent to Winter Haven. These census tracts are identified below.
The Opportunity Zone designation lasts 10 years and enables businesses and developers to defer capital gains taxes on funds invested in Opportunity Zones. The IRS will need to undertake a rule-making process to develop specific guidance to investors.
Opportunity Zones also provide benefits over a longer term including a step-up in invested basis and even a permanent exclusion from taxable income of capital gains under certain conditions.
Opportunity Funds, which will be the mechanism for investments into Opportunity Zones, will allow investors to pool their resources for investment into Opportunity Zones. This is intended to expand the scale of investment going into these underserved areas.
The City of Winter Haven and Winter Haven Economic Development Council worked collaboratively and successfully with Governor Scott’s office to advocate for designation of Winter Haven’s qualifying Census Tracts.
Winter Haven Area Opportunity Zone Census Tracts:
145.01 Winter Haven Intermodal Logistics Center and CSX Intermodal Terminal
137.01 Downtown Winter Haven
135 Winter Haven Airport
128.04 Winter Haven Industrial Park
130.02 US-92 and Lake Marianna
133 Recker Highway Industrial