5/22/2018 – U.S. Treasury Department approves Caldwell County Opportunity Zones

Posted on: May 22nd, 2018 by admin


May 22, 2018


By Guy Lucas
(Lenoir) News-Topic


A large amount of Caldwell County has been accepted for a new federal program that may spur new development projects, the N.C. Department of Commerce announced Monday.


The U.S. Treasury Department has approved all 252 of the state’s recommended Opportunity Zones, which will allow investors to re-invest capital gains while avoiding standard capital gains tax obligations, including four census tracts in Caldwell County:


  • 301, 303 and 308, which together cover a large part of Lenoir, including all of downtown, and southwest Caldwell County. From the intersection of Main Street and U.S. 321 in the Valmead area, the western boundary of this area follows Creekway Drive to Morganton Boulevard and then follows Morganton Boulevard all the way to the Burke County line, and on the east the boundary follows U.S. 321 to McLean Drive, to Norwood Street and then to Connelly Springs Road, which it follows all the way to the county line.
  • 311, which takes in most of the area between N.C. 268 and Wilkesboro Boulevard (the Lower Creek area is part of census tract 305)


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said that the tax break amounts to a new incentive for businesses considering coming to Caldwell County and could make a difference in getting some projects started.


“We think this will help push some decisions,” she said. “This just enhances our ability to market those areas.”


But because the Department of the Treasury is still developing criteria and guidelines that will define how the Opportunity Zones and related Opportunity Funds will operate, it is hard to know exactly how any particular project may be affected, she said.


The Department of Commerce press release said that the earliest that capital may begin to flow is late 2018. But Deputy Secretary Napoleon Wallace said that local and regional partners “can accelerate their work to identify and prepare projects and investments in their areas suitable for equity capital.”


Recently passed federal legislation, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1), created the Opportunity Zone concept and authorized each state to designate census tracts as qualified Opportunity Zones, where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater or where family income is less than 80 percent of the area’s median income.


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