Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and are designed to encourage long-term private investments in low-income communities. This program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into "Opportunity Funds," which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called "Opportunity Zones."
S.C. Commerce has established The Opportunity Zone Grant Fund, under which South Carolina governmental entities (counties and/or municipalities), may request funding to offset the costs of obtaining an outside vendor to assist in the structuring of a competitive Opportunity Zone Prospectus. The program also allows the third-party vendor to assist the governmental entity in determining the best project to pursue.
To date, three grant application periods have resulted in 10 governmental entities receiving combined awards of $230,000 for projects totaling $468,000.
With the success of previous grant awards, the Department of Commerce is opening up two additional grant cycles in 2019. Following the same focus on prospectus development and project determination, grant applications deadlines are September 16 and December 2.
Should any South Carolina governmental entity have an interest in applying for funding assistance, they must complete the application in full and submit by the appointed grant deadlines.