PART I: What is the GO Zone?
The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 (H.R. 4440 passed by Congress on Dec. 16, 2005, and signed by President Bush on Dec. 21, 2005) establishes tax incentives and bond provisions to rebuild the local and regional economies devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The act is commonly referred to as the "GO Zone Act."
While the entire state of Louisiana is part of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area, the provisions of the GO Zone Act apply only to a limited number of Louisiana parishes, defined as the "Core Disaster Area" and referred to as the "GO Zone." However, it is also important to note that the GO Zone reaches far beyond Plaquemines, Calcasieu, Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and the other parishes most devastated by Katrina and Rita.
This means that businesses on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, in Baton Rouge, as far north as Pointe Coupee and the Feliciana parishes, and as far west as Calcasieu Parish are eligible to take advantage of many of the provisions of the GO Zone Act, including tax-exempt bond financing for new investment and favorable tax accounting for both new property and Katrina-related expenses.
The following definitions apply:
- Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area
Covers the area for which the President declared a major disaster before Sept. 14, 2005. This includes the entire states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
- Katrina Covered Disaster Area
A portion of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area has been designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a covered disaster area. The Katrina Covered Disaster Area covers all of the parishes in Louisiana, all of the counties in Mississippi and certain specified counties in Florida and Alabama.
- Gulf Opportunity Zone ("GO Zone")
The GO Zone (also called the "Core Disaster Area") covers a portion of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be eligible for individual and/or public assistance from the federal government. In Louisiana, the GO Zone covers the following parishes:
Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
- Hurricane Rita Disaster Area
Covers the area for which the President declared a major disaster before Oct. 6, 2005, because of Hurricane Rita, which was the entire states of Louisiana and Texas.
- Rita GO Zone
The Rita GO Zone covers the portion of the Hurricane Rita Disaster Area determined by FEMA to be eligible for either individual and/or public assistance from the federal government. In Louisiana, this area covers the parishes of:
Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Livingston, Plaquemines, Sabine, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon and West Baton Rouge.
Many of the same Louisiana parishes are covered by both the GO Zone and the Rita GO Zone (see map page 9). However, the Louisiana parishes of Allen, Beauregard, Evangeline, Sabine, St. Landry and Vernon are only designated as Rita GO Zone parishes.