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What is the GO Zone?

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that hit the country in the middle of 2005 were considered the most devastating natural disasters the country has ever had. These calamities really had huge impact on the affected states' economy. Due to this, the Congress approved the house bill number HR 4440 on December 16, 2005 which was signed by President Bush five days later. HR 4440, otherwise known as the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 or the GO Zone Act, offers several tax benefits to properties built and placed into service in the GO Zone region after the hurricanes. The incentives are being offered by the government to help bring back life once again to the affected areas and rebuild the economies of these states.

Though hurricane Katrina affected most of the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi, not all parishes are covered by the provisions of the GO Zone Act. In Louisiana, for example, only 37 parish areas are eligible to claim the benefits provided by the act. Some of these parishes are Calcasieu, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Washington. The areas covered by the act are the so-called "Core Disaster Area" or the "GO Zone."

Below are some terms that need to be defined to have a better understanding of the GO Zone. Gulf Opportunity Zone (GO Zone) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area, which is partially covered by the GO Zone. In Louisiana, only the parishes in the southern and southeastern part of the state are allowed to receive help from the federal government.

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area

The President declared the entire states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama as major disaster areas and are included in the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area.

Hurricane Rita Disaster Area

This was the area mostly affected by Hurricane Rita. The President declared the states of Louisiana and Texas to be major disaster before October 6, 2005.

Katrina Covered Disaster Area

This area is comprised of a section of the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Area which includes all parishes of Louisiana, all counties of Mississippi, and some counties of Alabama and Florida. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigned these parishes and counties as covered disaster areas.

Rita GO Zone

Some of the parishes or counties covered by the GO Zone are also covered by the Rita GO Zone. In Louisiana, the parishes covered by both GO Zones are those in the southern part of the state. There are also a few parishes which are only part of the Rita GO Zone such as the parishes of Evangeline, St. Landry, Vernon. Beauregard, Sabine and Allen. These areas also belong to the Hurricane Rita Disaster Area and are allowed to receive federal government assistance.

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