West Virginia: Opportunity Zones Program
Enacted as part of the 2017 tax reform package (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), the Opportunity Zones Program gives each state’s Governor the authority to designate “Opportunity Zones” or areas of populations that are eligible to receive private investments through Opportunity Funds. The program is designed to drive long lasting investments into rural and low-income urban communities in every U.S. state and territory.
- Governors can determine up to 25 percent of the total number of eligible areas to be designated as Opportunity Zones.
- Low-income census tracts are used to determine eligible areas within each state. Low-income census tracts are places where the individual poverty rate is at least 20 percent or median family income is no greater than 80 percent of the area median.
- Up to 5 percent of these population areas that are not low-income communities can qualify under an exemption if the median family income of the tract does not exceed 125 percent of the median family income of the low-income community contiguous with the tract.
Opportunity Funds are investment vehicles organized as corporations or partnerships to foster investments into Opportunities Zones holding at least 90% of its assets in designated Opportunity Zones.
Investors who are interested in investing in a potential opportunity zone may submit letters of interest.
How will the Opportunity Zone Program help West Virginia?
The Opportunity Zone Program will drive much needed capital into our state’s struggling communities.
What is the timeline for determining the Opportunity Zones?
- Governors have until March 21, 2018 to submit their Opportunity Zone designations to the U.S. Treasury Department or request a 30-day extension.
- Once approved, Opportunity Zone designations remain in place for ten years and cannot be modified after initial designation.
How will the Governor decide which zones to nominate?
Under the direction of Governor Jim Justice, the WV Department of Commerce will research and make recommendations on which areas in the state of West Virginia should be nominated as Opportunity Zones.
The West Virginia Department of Commerce has created this webpage to keep the public informed of the Opportunity Zone recommendation process.
The West Virginia Department of Commerce is seeking proposals from municipalities and counties. Commerce will use a data driven process to evaluate eligible census tracts. Additionally, Commerce is working with the Federal Reserve, Community Development Financial Institutions, local banks, investors and developers to identify potential projects that could be attractive to Opportunity Funds and investors.
Public Proposal Submissions
We need your input!
To properly identify possible nominations for eligible census tracts, the West Virginia Department of Commerce is requesting proposals from city and county governments that can provide, at a minimum, the information found in the Opportunity Zone Proposal, here:
Please note: You may propose tracts only from the list of eligible census tracts in the state. View eligible census tracts in West Virginia here:
All submissions must have a letter of support on official county or city letterhead. If more than one census tract is submitted, tracts should be rank ordered by highest priority.
Contact for Media:
Chelsea A. Ruby
Director of Marketing and Communications
West Virginia Department of Commerce