While newly created Opportunity Zones have investors in Maryland hopeful for the future of many distressed neighborhoods, the final guidelines have not yet been released by the IRS. Opportunity Zones were created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in an effort to give investors incentives to reinvest capital gains in designated areas.

Wendi Kotzen, Ballard Spahr partner and co-practice leader of the firm's tax group, predicted "the IRS can and probably will come up with favorable guidelines." In October of last year, the IRS released its first round of proposed guidelines and held a hearing to receive feedback and comments from various businesses, investors, and interest groups. More specific guidelines, particularly on which businesses qualify for investments via Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds, are expected to be released in three more phases leading up to the spring.

Ms. Kotzen also pointed out that "Opportunity Zones represent only part of the larger tax reform bill passed in 2017. The overall tax package created decades worth of work for regulators in terms of interpreting the law and developing guidelines."

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