Chicago Opportunity Zones Map

Qualified Opportunity Zone Program

While the tax deferral and reduction in basis are attractive benefits of the program, probably the best benefit is that if you hold the QOF investment for at least 10 years, when you sell the investment you will not pay tax on the appreciation.The Opportunity Zone incentive could spur substantial new capital flows into targeted neighborhoods within Chicago and Cook County. Of the 327 Opportunity Zones in Illinois, 135 are within Chicago city limits, and 46 others are outside Chicago but within Cook County.

Restrictions on which projects qualify are minimal compared with other federal community development programs. A few “sin” businesses are excluded outright. Beyond this, a few key clauses determine what constitutes a qualified project. As defined in the statute, to be eligible for investment, 50 percent of a business’s gross income must come from the “active conduct” of the business.

Recently proposed IRS regulations articulate that for a business to be a Qualified Opportunity Zone project under the proposed rule, it is required to hold only 70 percent of assets within Opportunity Zones. Additionally, per this new guidance, the “substantial improvement” clause, which requires QOF to spend at least as much on improvements to a property as was paid to acquire it, will apply only to the buildings acquired and not the underlying land. These proposed regulations also provide Opportunity Funds up to 31 months to invest the capital gains and extend the permanent exclusion on new gains to up to 2048 if the investment is held.

Opportunity Zones By The Numbers


The total number of census tracts certified as Opportunity Zones by the U.S. Treasury.


Potential unrealized capital gains eligible for Qualified Opportunity Fund investment and tax treatment.


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s estimate of private capital that will flow into Opportunity Zones.