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Community Renewal Initiative

*As of September 2016, The EZ/RC Locator application has been decommissioned and is no longer available from HUD’s enterprise geographic information system. Users of the Locator should review the section entitled “Zone Status Determination for Addresses” at the bottom of this page. Use the listed resources available to help verify if a valid U.S. property address is eligible for the tax incentives or other benefits offered to EZ areas.

Introduced in 1993, the Empowerment Zone (EZ), Enterprise Community (EC), and Renewal Community (RC) Initiatives sought to reduce unemployment and generate economic growth through the designation of Federal tax incentives and award of grants to distressed communities. Local, Tribal, and State governments interested in participating in this program were required to present comprehensive plans that included the following principles:

  • Strategic Visions for Change
  • Community-Based Partnerships
  • Economic Opportunities
  • Sustainable Community Development

Communities selected to participate in this program embraced these principles and led projects that promoted economic development in their distressed communities.

The EZ/EC initiative was implemented in the form of three competitions authorized by Congress in 1994 (round I), 1998 (round II), and 2001 (round III). These communities utilized HUD’s PERMS system to create Implementation Plans and develop Annual Reports, which overall, display extensive community and economic development impacts in these distressed communities.

The EC designation expired in 2004 and EZ and RC designations generally expired at the end of 2009. However, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-312 extended the Empowerment Zone and DC Enterprise Zone designations to December 31, 2011.

Following the end of the first EZ designation extension on December 31, 2011, the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on January 2, 2013, provided for an extension of the Empowerment Zone designations for Empowerment Zone Tax Credit purposes only until December 31, 2013. The ATRA of 2012 did not extend the designation of the DC Enterprise Zone.

The fourth retroactive extension of the Empowerment Zone designation, for the purpose claiming EZ tax credits only, was the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH), signed into law December 18, 2015, and extended the EZ designation for the purpose of businesses and entities claiming EZ tax incentives until December 31, 2016.

For the EZ designation extension, IRS Notice 2016-28, issued on April 11, 2016 explained a one step process stating that “any nomination for an Empowerment Zone with a current termination date (as amended by CRTRA, Notice 2013–38, and Notice 2015–26) of December 31, 2014, is deemed to be amended to provide for a new termination date of December 31, 2016, unless the nominating entity sends written notification to the IRS by May 24, 2016...” As of June 2016, no Empowerment Zone declined the nomination.

  • For more information for businesses and employers on qualifying and filing for EZ tax credits, please see the EZ Tax Incentives Summary Chart on the right side panel. All other information on the right side panel and in the linked webcasts and materials is still applicable, only the date of the designation period end is now December 31, 2016.

The HUD/USDA Community Renewal Initiative has now been closed. Any renewal of EZ designations for the purpose of existing tax incentives must come about through an act of Congress and all questions related to tax incentive eligibility should be directed to the IRS. No new zones have been designated by HUD since 2003, and no designation boundaries have been altered since 2009. No zone changes of any type will be made by HUD in the future.

Please note, the District of Columbia Enterprise Zone designation incentives expired on December 31, 2011 and the Renewal Community tax incentives, expired on December 31, 2009. Neither the DC Enterprise Zone nor the Renewal Communities were renewed as a result of PATH. The Enterprise Community designations ended in 2004 and were not renewed by further legislation. The boundaries of these designations (DC Enterprise, Enterprise Communities, and Renewal Communities) are expired. Only tax incentives for Round 1, 2, and 3 Empowerment Zone designations have been extended.

Zone Status Determination for Addresses:

To determine if a Business Address or Employee Home Address falls within an eligible empowerment zone, please read the following to access Empowerment Zone boundary information:

Developers may use the Web API (Application Programming Interface) directly for zone status determinations. Please see HUD’s open data storefront for more information. The EZ Locator data is stored on HUD's Open Data Empowerment Zones page.

Addresses may also be searched one at a time using the following web resources:

  1. ArcGIS Empowerment Zones map
  2. Google Maps WOTC Address Locator

If you cannot find a valid U.S. property address on either the ArcGIS Map or the Google Map, then unfortunately your address cannot be verified using these tools. In this case, you may be required to submit further documentation of the address’s location and eligibility. A full listing of Empowerment Zone Census Tract numbers is located on the EZ/EC/RC Census Tracts page.

All final determinations will be made by your State WOTC Coordinator’s Office or tax credit certifying agency. All questions related to the WOTC program should be directed to the Department of Labor - Employment and Training Administration. Please email Ask.WOTC@dol.gov.