Governor Nominates Aiken’s Northside For Opportunity Zones

Monday, March 26, 2018

26 March 2018
Governor Nominates Aiken’s Northside For Opportunity Zones

Governor Henry McMaster has announced that he has nominated a census tract in the City of Aiken for the recently announced federal economic development program called Opportunity Zones. As a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are designed to encourage long-term private investments in low-income communities.

The area nominated encompasses areas of Aiken that lie north of Downtown and run to Beaufort Street on the east and Vaucluse Road to the west.
McMaster’s nomination of the Aiken census tract, along with others around the state, will be forwarded to the U.S. Treasury Secretary A website for the program has been created at This website includes important information and a map which includes the nominated tracts. McMaster’s selected Opportunity Zone tracts have been nominated and are pending approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Approval from the U.S. Department of the Treasury is expected to take 30 days.

This program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into “Opportunity Funds,” which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called “Opportunity Zones.” The zones themselves are to be comprised of Low-Income Community census tracts and designated by governors in every state. South Carolina may designate 25 percent of qualifying census tracts as an Opportunity Zone.

    To qualify, a census tract must satisfy the definition of “low-income community” (LIC), be nominated by the Governor and approved by the US Treasury.
    * Census tracts qualify as an LIC if they are considered distressed or severely distressed:
  • Poverty rate of 20 percent or greater
  • Median family income of 80 percent or less than the statewide median family income if located outside of a metropolitan area
  • Median family income of 80% or less than the statewide median family income or the metropolitan area median family income, whichever is higher
    Severely Distressed:
  • Poverty rate of 30 percent or greater
  • Median family income of 60 percent or less of the area’s median family income
  • Unemployment of at least 1.5 times the national average of 8.3 percent (for the 2011-2015 ACS)

Currently, South Carolina has 534 census tracts that qualify. As a result, up to 25 percent of those tracts (134) are eligible to be nominated by the Governor. The Opportunity Zone designations remain in effect for 10 years.

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