Entrepreneurs in Rome will have another opportunity Friday to learn how significant areas of Rome can benefit from their designation as a Federal Opportunity Zone. Chattanooga accountant Ken White will speak to anyone interested in the investment opportunity program in the commission chambers at City Hall at 8:30 Friday morning.
White spoke to the Rome Floyd Chamber Economic Development committee last November. Ballard Betz, the chairman of the Downtown Development Authority Business Development committee and assistant vice president for commercial lending at Synovus Bank in Rome, felt like it would be a good idea to bring White back to Rome to try to further explain the nuances of the law and benefits it could have for both the city and small groups of investors alike.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest from people wanting to purchase property that is located in these federal opportunity zones,” said Rome Floyd Chamber Economic Development Director Heather Seckman. “We’ve certainly had a spike in inquiries about them.”
White worked for Whittington, Jones and Rudert CPAs for 27 years before joining Henderson, Hutcherson and McCullough in Chattanooga as director of their tax department three years ago. His focus is in income tax accounting and advisory services.
Opportunity Zones were included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage investment in low-income or disadvantaged Census tracts, and applies to properties acquired since January of 2018. Two specific zones were created in Rome. One runs from a point just south of Darlington Drive off U.S. 27, while the other extends from Sycamore Street on the north side of Shorter Avenue up to John Davenport Drive. The two zones basically converge in downtown and include the entire Broad Street corridor.
When White spoke in November, he said investors can pool funds from capital gains into an opportunity zone investment fund which has to be reinvested within six months of a capital gains transaction. The investors can hold the funds for up to 30 months as long as the fund files a written reinvestment plan of action.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, investors can defer taxes on any prior gains pooled in a qualified Opportunity Fund until the investment is sold or exchanged, or Dec. 31, 2026, whichever comes first. The amount of taxes that will ultimately have to be paid will vary depending on the length of time the investment is held.