CAMP VERDE – A conversation last year with Camp Verde’s director of economic development inspired a local realtor to capitalize on the town’s Opportunity Zone status.
Rob Witt wears many hats. He’s president of the Beaver Creek Villas Condominium Association, and managing partner of the Simonton Ranch Land Holding Company, and of Verde Income Partners LLC.
Witt is also now the managing partner of the Opportunity Zone Development Company, whose goal is to help his clients get the “maximum benefit from the investments.”
“The Opportunity Zone benefits those willing to put in the work,” Witt said. “The program regulations and mandated time frames create difficult hurtles. The tax incentives are historic for investors able to negotiate these hurdles. Tax benefits alone will not replace plain old profits.”
Nominated in February 2018, the Town of Camp Verde is the Verde Valley’s sole Opportunity Zone designation. Opportunity Zones are census tracts designated by state and federal governments, targeted for economic development.
To help businesses take advantage of the designation – and the subsequent financial benefits – Witt said one must understand and follow the rules:
-Investment must be made within 180 days of a statutory defined date;
-Funds must be invested in an Opportunity Fund;
-The Opportunity Fund must invest the funds in qualified Opportunity Zone assets;
-The Treasury wants these funds invested in projects sooner than later, so the funds must invest 90 percent of the capital within a maximum of 180 days from the date they receive the funds.
Taxes on realized gain are deferred and reduced if Opportunity Fund investment is held from five to seven years. At five years, 10 percent of the deferred gain is forgiven; at seven years, 15 percent is forgiven.
If the investment is held for 10 years, gains on the Opportunity Fund investment will not be taxed.
Big money to be saved by investors, no doubt. But Witt said that the community’s big winners “should be” its citizens.
“Projects can provide good jobs, places to shop, affordable homes, and quality services,” he said. “The location of the developments along I-17 promise to provide the greatest benefits due to its visibility by thousands of people driving by.”
Witt also said that Camp Verde’s town government “should benefit from the increased resources provided by new jobs and the additional retail taxes collected from new retailers.”
— Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42