Sizable sectors of Boyd and Greenup counties have been designated new business investment Opportunity Zones by the federal government, meaning those who invest in, start up or expand business operations in the zones will be eligible for significant federal tax breaks.
The opportunity zones include downtown Ashland, EastPark Industrial Center, Greenup and much of Greenup County's waterfront. The designations are brand new and hold the potential for significant enhancement of business and commerce, said Ashland Alliance Chief Executive Officer Tim Gibbs.
"This is out of the new federal tax bill and 13 states have the ability to designate these zones, which means one can receive preferential treatment on their taxes to encourage investment," Gibbs said.
"Federal taxes including capital gains," Gibbs said. "They don't have to start a business. They can invest in a business. They can be the venture capital for the business. They can come in and make an investment in a region, in one of these zones, and can realize tax benefits towards either delaying or minimizing their tax obligations from gains on that investment."
A press release issued by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced on April 9 the U.S. Department of the Treasury certified 144 Opportunity Zones in 84 Kentucky counties under a program in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that aims to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The designation offers significant federal tax breaks and deferrals to entities and individuals investing in Opportunity Funds, which support development projects within one or more zones. The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development will oversee the state’s program through the Kentucky Opportunity Zone Initiative. The state launched KYOZ.org to provide information.
“The Opportunity Zones approved today by the U.S. Department of the Treasury provide one more reason for companies and businesses to consider locating in Kentucky,” said Gov. Bevin. “Kentucky will maximize this golden chance to attract economic development projects to communities most in need across the commonwealth, and the Kentucky Opportunity Zone Initiative will strengthen and rebuild both rural and urban areas. Whether along the Mississippi River in West Kentucky, throughout West Louisville’s neighborhoods, or in the heart of Appalachia, these zones will spur investment, growth and community development.”