California Representative Proposes Extension Of Opportunity Zone Program

Michelle Steel, a Republican representing California’s 48th congressional district, has introduced legislation that would extend the Opportunity Zone program beyond December 31, 2026. H.R. 4608, known as the Growth and Opportunity Act, also proposes a re-designation of qualified Opportunity Zones every 10 years with the first round occurring on January 1, 2027.

Under current legislation, investments in Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) must be made by December 31, 2026 in order to be eligible for tax-advantaged treatment. The proposed legislation would extend the incentive beyond that date.

Under the initial Opportunity Zone legislation, 8,764 census tracts were designated as qualified opportunity zones. These tracts are located in all 50 states plus Washington D.C., American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The selection of Opportunity Zones was completed by individual governors, and then approved by the Department of the Treasury. Under current legislation, those tracts are permanent and new tracts will not be added.

The future of the Opportunity Zone program has been the subject of speculation. The most recent OZ Pitch Day included a panel dedicated to potential tax policy changes under the current administration. It is likely that any extension or changes to the program would incorporate the IMPACT Act, which would increase reporting requirements for OZ funds.

Steel was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020. She was previously Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Her bill is co-sponsored by Burgess Owens (R-Utah), Maria Salazar (R-Florida), and Carlos Gimenez (R-Florida).

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Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota had previously proposed an expansion of Opportunity Zones that would add nearly 1,000 new census tracts to the program.