Articles Posted in Opportunity Zone Funds

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By Catherine Holmes, Brad Cohen and Jamie Ogden

The latest IRS Proposed Regulations Released April 17, 2019 provide greater flexibility to real estate developers seeking capital from investors for Opportunity Zone projects.

Some of the problems posed for real estate developers and others under the new Opportunity Zone (“OZ”) tax incentive program, codified as Sections 1400Z-1, and 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code, have been potentially solved by the latest round of IRS proposed regulations. In particular, the proposed regulations now provide helpful guidance and assurance regarding:

  • development of property that was acquired by a developer prior to December 31, 2017;
  • clarification regarding when real property will be considered to meet the “original use” requirement;
  • capital contributions received from new investors in a “qualified opportunity fund” (or “QOF”) with multiple closings;
  • distributions of debt financed proceeds by a QOF to investors during the 10 year required holding period;
  • greater flexibility to deal with “real world” problems (such as delays in governmental permitting);
  • sales of assets by QOFs before the 10-year holding period for investors and reinvestment of proceeds of sale;
  • sales of assets by QOFs organized as limited liability companies or limited partnerships after the 10 year holding period for investors;
  • clarification that a property rental business is considered an active trade or business (other than a triple net lease); and
  • clarification that depreciation recapture should not be taxable upon a sale of property by a QOF .

This article explains how these new proposed regulations help real estate developers and their eligible investors qualify for the tax benefits under the OZ program.  For information regarding the potential benefits to investors in a QOF and the basic requirements necessary to qualify as a QOF, see our prior article “How Real Estate Developers Can Use Opportunity Zone Funds to Finance New Real Estate Projects.”

Real property acquired before December 31, 2017 can now qualify for development by a QOF through a ground lease arrangement between a real property lessor and an affiliated real property lessee.

One of the requirements for a real estate development to achieve the status of “qualified opportunity zone business property” (“QOZBP”) under Section 1400Z-2 is that the property being developed must have been purchased after December 31, 2017.  Developers who acquired their properties before that date were prevented from qualifying for the OZ tax incentives unless they sold at least 80% of the property to an unaffiliated purchaser, and retained no more than a 20% capital and profits interest.  However, the latest proposed regulations offer another option to a developer in this situation – it can form an affiliated QOF, enter into a ground lease with the QOF as lessee, and have the QOF finance the development of the property. The requirements for ground leases between affiliates under the latest OZ regulations are that:

  • the lease is entered into after 2017;
  • the lease is on market rate terms when it is entered into;
  • the lease does not contain a prepayment of more than 12 months;
  • there is not a plan, intent or expectation that the QOF would purchase the property for other than fair market value to be determined at the time of purchase.

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Recent posts on the Investment Law Blog have focused on Opportunity Zone Funds, a new source of financing for real estate development projects, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

While these articles have focused broadly on real estate investment, I recently spoke with Bryan Wroten of HotelNewsNow, specifically about hotel development and Opportunity Zone investment.

His article, “What opportunity zones mean for US hotel development,” describes both the opportunities and challenges that hotel developers face when it comes to taking advantage of Opportunity Zone development.

The article also describes how the Peachtree Development Group is taking advantage of opportunity zones for viable projects that were already in their pipeline.

Read the full article here.

— Catherine DeBono Holmes


Cathy HolmesCatherine DeBono Holmes is the chair of JMBM’s Investment Capital Law Group, and has practiced law at JMBM for over 30 years.  She has also worked as a senior member of the JMBM Global Hospitality Group and JMBM Chinese Investment Group. Within the Investment Capital Law Group, she helps real estate developers and business owners, brokers, investment advisers and investment managers raise and manage investment capital from U.S. and non-U.S. investors. In the last ten years, she has represented over 100 real estate developers obtain financing through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program for the development of hotels, multi-family and mixed use developments throughout the U.S. She also advises real estate developers on Qualified Opportunity Zone investments. She has also represented private investment fund managers, registered securities broker-dealers and investment advisers on securities offerings, business transactions and regulatory compliance issues. For the last two years, she has been named as one of the top 25 securities lawyers in the country by EB5 Investors magazine. Contact Cathy at or +1 310.201.3553.

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By Catherine Holmes, Brad Cohen and Guy Maisnik

On October 19, 2018, the IRS issued the first set of proposed regulations and a New Revenue Ruling on new Internal Revenue Code Section 1400Z-2 governing Opportunity Zone investments.

Under the new Opportunity Zone tax law, taxpayers who realize taxable capital gains from the sale of any asset (stock, property, etc.) and who reinvest those gains into “Qualified Opportunity Funds” (“QOFs”) or “Qualified Opportunity Zone Property” (“QOZP”) will be eligible to receive significant tax benefits, including deferral of their original gain, reduction of their original taxable gains after holding periods of five years or seven years, and no tax on capital gains realized from the new investment in a QOF or QOZP after a holding period of 10 years.

The first set of proposed regulations issued by the IRS under Code Section 1400Z-2 cover a number of issues that apply to individual taxpayers with respect to gains eligible for deferral, types of taxpayers eligible for deferral, the “180-day rule” defining when a qualified investment must be made in order to qualify for the deferral, and how to elect a deferral of the initial capital gain. In addition, the proposed regulations, along with new Revenue Ruling 2018-29, provide guidance to real estate developers seeking to form QOFs or determine whether their properties qualify as QOZP. This article focuses on the regulations and the Revenue Ruling that apply to QOFs and QOZP, and addresses how those regulations and the Revenue Ruling will help real estate developers seeking to raise Opportunity Zone investments to finance real estate development.

How to designate an entity as a QOF and how that Impacts the 90% Test for Eligibility as a QOF

The Regulations specify that any corporation or entity taxed as a partnership, including pre-existing entities, may self-certify as a QOF by using a form that has been proposed by the IRS. The Regulations further allow the QOF to choose the month in which the entity elects to be designated a QOF. If the QOF does not designate a month on the tax form, the Regulations provide that the designation will commence with the first month of the taxable year of the entity. This is important, because a QOF must hold at least 90% of its assets in QOZP as measured on the last day of the first 6-month period of the taxable year of the QOF and on the last day of the taxable year of the QOF. Therefore, if a QOF designates January as the first month of designation, the first six month test will apply in July. If a QOF designates any month after June of the taxable year, the Regulations state that the first test period will be the end of the first taxable year. Continue reading →

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by Catherine DeBono Holmes and Bradford S. Cohen

Real estate developers have a new source of investment for their development projects, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

A new tax incentive for investment in low-income areas designated as “Opportunity Zones” was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, signed into law on December 22, 2017. Under this section of the Act, codified as sections 1400Z-1, and 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code, taxpayers with taxable capital gains from the sale of any asset (stock, property, etc.) who reinvest those gains within 180 days of the date of sale of the asset into “Qualified Opportunity Zone Property” will become eligible to receive significant tax benefits. These potential tax benefits are expected to result in substantial new investment by investors in real estate projects that meet the requirements of “Qualified Opportunity Zone Property.” This article explains what the requirements are for designation as Qualified Opportunity Zone Property, and discusses the structure of Opportunity Zone investments.

What are the potential benefits to persons who invest in a Qualified Opportunity Zone Property?

There are three potential benefits that investors may receive from an investment of their taxable capital gains into a Qualified Opportunity Zone Property:

Deferral of Capital Gains Tax – Investors will receive a deferral of taxation on 100% of the taxable capital gains invested in Qualified Opportunity Zone Property until the earlier of the date that their investment is sold or December 31, 2026;

Reduction of Capital Gains – Investors who invest by December 31, 2019 will be eligible to receive a 10% reduction of the taxable gain amount invested in Qualified Opportunity Zone Property if the investment is retained for at least 5 years, increasing to a 15% reduction if the investment is held for at least 7 years; and

No Tax on Capital Gains realized on Qualified Opportunity Zone Property – Investors who invest by December 31, 2019 and hold their investment in a Qualified Opportunity Zone Property will pay no tax on any capital gains realized when that investment is sold.

What are the requirements for Qualified Opportunity Zone Property?

There are four primary requirements for a real estate development to achieve the status of “Qualified Opportunity Zone Business Property”: Continue reading →