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IRS Extends Key Opportunity Zone Deadlines Again

The IRS Building in Washington, D.C.

Opportunity zone investors woke up to great news on Wednesday that had nothing to do with a presidential inauguration.

The IRS has extended several deadlines relating to opportunity zone investments due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the department announced in a public notice posted Tuesday night. Some deadlines had previously been assumed to have passed on Dec. 31 until the reversal, which extended them until March 31.

Any 180-day period that was supposed to end on or after April 1, within which realized capital gains were to be placed in a qualified opportunity fund, had already been extended to Dec. 31, and now until March. Individual investors who may have thought their window to find the right opportunity closed three weeks ago now have another two months to play with.

"I think this is something that was, for most of us in the industry, a pleasant surprise,” Javelin 19 Investments President Jill Homan told Bisnow. “Everybody was frantic in finishing deals before that deadline passed. So I thought that was bad, but clearly with the continued significant impact COVID-19 is having, the change was necessary.”

Because capital gains themselves aren't tracked, investors can have spent the capital gains from 2019 they'd like to invest, as long as the amount they place into opportunity funds does not exceed the total capital gains realized during the applicable time period, Homan said.

The extension was surprising not just because it came after the previous deadline had already passed but because it came as all eyes in Washington, D.C., were on the impending change in presidential administrations.

"I wasn’t expecting something so material to come out the night before the inauguration," Homan said.

Other changes include the discounting of the 12 months between April 1, 2020, and March 31 in determining the 30-month window to make substantial improvements on opportunity zone investments, along with the discounting of the 15 months between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, when counting time toward the 90% investment threshold for qualified opportunity funds.