IRS Publishes COVID-19 Relief for Opportunity Zone Funds and Investors

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2020-39, providing guidance for investors in the Opportunity Zones (OZ) incentive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance provides that taxpayers whose last day of the 180-day period to invest capital gains in a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) falls on or after April 1, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, to postpone the last day to December 31, 2020 (Notice 2020-23 had earlier extended that deadline to July 15). Notice 2020-39 also provides that the 30-month substantial improvement test is tolled during the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020, and that QOFs failing to satisfy the 90 percent investment standard for testing dates that fall within that same period automatically have reasonable cause for the failure and therefore it is disregarded. The notice also confirms that Qualified OZ businesses qualify for regulatory relief allowing not more than an additional 24 months to meet the 31-month working capital safe harbor to expend working capital and that QOFs qualify for regulatory relief allowing not more than an additional 12 months to reinvest proceeds received by the QOF from the return of capital or the sale or disposition of Qualified OZ property. The IRS also updated its frequently asked questions page for OZs.