In 2017, the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created an incentive for taxpayers to invest in Qualified Opportunity Zones— census tracts that consist of low-income communities. These investments, which are incentivized via lucrative tax deferral benefits, are intended to uplift communities and leave them in a better position than they were pre-investment. However, the initiative lacks regulation requiring investments to actually benefit low-income areas, resulting in money going to places that do not need help, while communities that are in need may face displacement. This is a result of many wealthy investors finding that luxury projects are the easiest to finance, while others have even lobbied to have state officials designate specific plots of lands, that are not low-income at all, as Opportunity Zones. This Note explores how the Opportunity Zone legislation contributes to the pervasive income and wealth disparities in America and proposes additional regulations that could result in meaningful investments that benefit underserved communities.



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