In May 2018, Governor LePage named Waterville census tract 23011024102, which includes the city’s downtown area, as one of Maine’s thirty-two (32) Opportunity Zones (OZ). The tax benefit program, established in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and governed by the IRS, intends to convert U.S. investors’ $2.3 trillion in unrealized capital gains into private investment in low-income communities (“Opportunity Zones”), thereby stimulating growth, creating jobs, and increasing prosperity of residents.
 As designated in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Internal Revenue Code §§ 1400Z–1 and 1400Z–2
With eligibility in Waterville’s downtown district, inclusion into the OZ program comes at an exciting time for the city. With over $100 million recently invested in downtown projects, the OZ program stands to leverage and capitalize on existing revitalization efforts. Moreover, during the past few years downtown Waterville has witnessed over 20 acquisitions of commercial properties, continued population growth, and increases in retail sale figures.
The OZ program delays, reduces, and/or eliminates taxation on capital gains (see next page for explanations). In order to reap these benefits, a corporation or individual must establish an Opportunity Fund (OF), an investment vehicle organized as a corporation or partnership in order to invest in qualified OZ property.
The OF must have at least 90% of its assets in qualified OZ property, which may include qualified OZ stock, qualified OZ partnership interest, or qualified OZ business property, all of which must have been acquired by the OF after Dec. 31, 2017. An investor may defer gains invested into an OF during the 180-day period beginning on the date of sale of the asset to which the deferral pertains.
 U.S. House of Representatives. (2017, Dec. 15). “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – Conference Report.” U.S. Government Publishing Service, pg. 136-137. https://www.congress.gov/115/crpt/hrpt466/CRPT-115hrpt466.pdf.