In 2017, Congress created “opportunity zones” – also called “O-Zones” – to spur economic growth in neglected areas of the country that desperately need capital. The program offers capital gains tax breaks to individuals and businesses for investments targeted toward distressed communities. The investment vehicle for an opportunity zone investment is a Qualified Opportunity Fund.
West Virginia has designated 55 census tracts in 29 counties as Opportunity Zones. These census tracts cover portions of the entire state, including small towns and large cities. To view a map of Opportunity Zones in West Virginia, click here.
Investors who deploy existing capital gains, through a Qualified Opportunity Fund, into any of West Virginia’s 55 Opportunity Zones and hold the investment for a set period of time may temporarily defer capital gains tax. Investors who hold on to an Opportunity Fund investment for 10 years or longer will be free from any capital gains tax on capital gains accrued from that investment.
Bowles Rice’s experienced team of attorneys were among the first in West Virginia to assist clients with the creation of Qualified Opportunity Funds and/or investments in O-Zones. The team consists of attorneys whose primary practices include taxation, public finance, government relations, business and commercial transactions, and real estate development.
The team is led by two attorneys with vast experience in those practices: Marc Monteleone and Roger Hunter.
Marc Monteleone possesses real world experience and legal acumen ideally suited for the O-Zone team. His practice includes federal and state taxation, mergers and acquisitions, commercial law and real estate development. He regularly assists businesses in all types of matters, from formation through dissolution.
Roger Hunter has worked extensively in matters involving the capital markets, including large financings and bond issues. From 2011 to 2014, he served as General Counsel to The Greenbrier, James C. Justice Companies, Inc., and many of its affiliates. Roger is a member of the Board of Trustees for the West Virginia Investment Management Board.
The team is rounded out by the following attorneys, including Thomas Heywood, the firm's Managing Partner.
Thomas Heywood is the Managing Partner of Bowles Rice. A former Chief of Staff to former Governor Gaston Caperton, Tom is the leader of the firm’s Government Relations Team. He has extensive experience in working with government officials at the local, state and federal levels. He regularly assists businesses in the strategic planning process.
David DeJarnett practices in the area of private client services, with a concentration in estate and trust planning, estate and trust administration, business and tax planning and tax controversies. His business planning services encompass forming a new business or expanding an existing business, focusing initially on the business and tax comparisons between operation as a C corporation, an S corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, or some other entity.
Camden Siegrist concentrates his work on municipal bonds and related governmental financings, securities and commercial transactions. Also a certified public accountant, he has served as bond counsel on numerous bond-related matters – both new money and refunding issues, and tax-exempt and taxable bonds – for a wide variety of projects.
Floyd "Kin" Sayre concentrates his practice in the areas of tax, commercial and finance law, municipal law, government relations, real estate, gaming and hospitality and small business development, representing businesses and individuals throughout the quad-state region and beyond. Kin is also a certified public accountant.
Emily Lambright represents individuals and businesses by counseling them on income and estate tax issues, business succession planning, entity formation and selection, federal taxation and transactional tax matters. She is also a certified public accountant.
Bob Kiss practices in the areas of tax, estate planning and commercial law. He is a former Finance Chairman and Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates. From 2013 to 2016, Bob served as Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Revenue, where he oversaw 10 state agencies, including the State Tax Division.
Tom Pearcy focuses his practice in commercial and financial law, and has significant experience in public finance and municipal bonds, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, commercial lending, private offerings, contract negotiation, creditors’ rights issues and securities regulation and compliance matters.
Nicola Smith concentrates her work on business, corporate and tax law. Her experience includes commercial transactions and litigation, business reorganization and restructuring, business formation, appellate litigation and representation of financial institutions.
Alexandra Shulz practices in the area of commercial and financial services, with a focus on business and corporate matters and transactions.
Christine Fisher focuses her work on business and corporate matters with special interests in entity formation, corporate governance and public funding. She also has experience in the areas of real estate and estate planning.