New Report Emphasizes Importance of Scott’s IMPACT Act as Opportunity Zones Continue Aiding Distressed Communities

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

A new report on Opportunity Zones released by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) today emphasizes the need for Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) IMPACT Act, which would reinstate and expand reporting requirements to determine the impact of the more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones across the country. When Opportunity Zones were passed as part of the 2017 tax reform package, Senate Democrats utilized procedural rules to strip the reporting requirements initially included with Opportunity Zones from the bill. Senator Scott has been a consistent advocate for reinstating these reporting requirements since then.

“With recent announcements such as the creation of 1,500 rural jobs in Hampton County, South Carolina, Opportunity Zones continue to deliver on their promise to help our nation’s most distressed communities,” Senator Scott said. “What we need now is a reporting system in place so we can fully understand the amazing impact these zones are having across the country, and today’s report from the GAO shows the importance of the IMPACT Act as the initiative continues. Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 elections, I hope we can move forward swiftly on this legislation either in the lame duck or in 2021.”

The Improving and Reinstating the Monitoring, Prevention, Accountability, Certification, and Transparency Provisions of Opportunity Zones (IMPACT) Act is a bipartisan bill that includes a variety of reporting requirements, fully listed below, to provide for the most robust and granular analysis over time on the targeted impacts of investments in Opportunity Zones. With more than $63 billion already in anticipated investments, it is critical that this analysis is in place. The IMPACT Act’s requirements do this while protecting taxpayer privacy laws and preserving the ability of communities to utilize a wide-variety of possible investments without overburdening entrepreneurs and local governments with mountains of unnecessary paperwork.

Instead of utilizing a “Band-Aid method” or temporary fix, the Opportunity Zones initiative aims to lift up entire neighborhoods by attracting private investment to areas most in need. With about $6 trillion of capital gains sitting on the sidelines, investors can now take advantage of a tax incentive if they elect to invest resources in the more than 8,700 designated distressed communities across the country. The law is also written in a way that encourages long-term investment by allowing for a “step-up” approach: There is a greater financial benefit for investing over a 10-year time period, rather than just five years. This type of structure will encourage investors to establish meaningful relationships with the communities they are investin