Crash course on Opportunity Zones

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Courtesy image This map shows the boundary lines for Shoshone County’s Opportunity Zone. It includes all of Kellogg, Smelterville and Wardner, as well as various unincorporated county properties within that region.

KELLOGG — Last week Jerry Miller with the Idaho Department of Commerce held two meetings with local residents to discuss the Opportunity Zone that exists within the western portion of Shoshone County.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which established the new Opportunity Zone program, consisting of Opportunity Zones and Opportunity Funds was part of a 2017 tax overhaul bill and was created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments rather than taxpayer dollars.

To stimulate private participation in the program, taxpayers who invest in qualified Opportunity Funds are eligible to benefit from capital gains tax incentives available exclusively through the program.

“The idea behind the law was to get money off of Wall Street and onto Main Street,” Miller said.

The local Opportunity Zone includes the communities of Kellogg, Wardner and Smelterville, as well as other county property within the western part of Shoshone County.

Through research, the IDC listed out the top priorities for Shoshone County’s Opportunity Zone in a media release that it publishes annually to keep potential investors aware of the current conditions in the area.

Along with the local priorities, the release also discusses the area’s infrastructural improvements as another lure for potential investors.

“Housing is a top priority for this opportunity zone," read the release. "The county’s proximity to Coeur d’Alene has created a rise in the real estate market, and multi-family dwellings and newer residential homes are in short supply. Affordable housing is quickly becoming a major concern for the area.

To support housing developments, as well as other investments, new water lines, sewer lines and pavement have been placed through most of the Silver Valley.

In addition to housing needs, the county is focused on creating a more inviting place to raise a family. This includes investment in educational opportunities for higher compensated jobs, as well as creating a more attractive community environment. Kellogg has an “uptown” that currently has a ghost town feel to it. The town is in need of businesses to fill store fronts.”

The west end of Shoshone County does hold some very attractive reasons that could motivate investors to the area, Miller discussed how the access to Interstate 90, the Shoshone County Airport, North Idaho College’s satellite office and the many recreational opportunities attached to Silver Mountain are all positives when companies look at this area.

In exchange for following the rules of the Opportunity Zone program and investing in Qualified Opportunity Zones through Qualified Opportunity Funds, investors can receive substantial capital gain tax incentives incrementally over the long term.

When an investor divests an appreciated asset, such as stocks or real estate, they realize a capital gain.

Under the Opportunity Zone Program, if an investor reinvests a capital gain into an Opportunity Fund, they can defer and reduce their tax liability on that gain.

Beyond that, they can also potentially receive tax-free treatment for all future appreciation earned through the fund.

“I appreciate Jerry Miller making the trip from Boise to help clear up some of the mystery surrounding opportunity zones,” said Colleen Rosson, Silver Valley Economic Development coordinator. “The Shoshone County opportunity zone has many attractive assets like easy I-90 access and our amazing outdoor lifestyle, combined with other potential incentives to offer both residential and industrial investments. We are actively collaborating with other organizations in the Panhandle to maximize marketing and share investment opportunities and tools for our designated zones.”

For more information, or to better understand Shoshone County’s Opportunity Zones, please contact Colleen Rosson at 208-752-5511.

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