Click to Home

Go To Search
Frequently Asked Questions - Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ)
State Income Tax Credit Questions
Student Loan Repayment Questions

General Questions

What are Rural Opportunity Zones?

The law designates 77 counties in Kansas as Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ), providing a 100 percent state income tax waiver for up to five years and repayment of up to $3,000 per year ($15,000 maximum) in outstanding student loans.


To be eligible for the state income tax waiver, individuals must have lived outside the state for at least the past five years prior to moving to a ROZ county and have Kansas source income of less than $10,000 per year over the past five years.

To be eligible for student loan repayment, individuals must have graduated from an accredited post-secondary institution and move to a ROZ county. The student loan repayment incentive is open to both Kansas and non-Kansas residents.


What are the 77 ROZ counties?

Allen, Anderson, Barber, Bourbon, Brown, Chase, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Decatur, Doniphan, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jackson, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Labette, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Morris, Morton, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rice, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Trego, Thomas, Wabaunsee, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson.

When did the ROZ law take effect?

Jan. 1, 2012, for both the state income tax waiver and the student loan repayment program. The student loan repayment program is a state-county partnership that required counties to join that part of program in order for individuals moving to those counties to receive the student loan repayment incentive.

Which counties have joined the student loan repayment program?

Allen, Barber, Bourbon, Brown, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Decatur, Doniphan, Edwards, Elk, Ellsworth, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Haskell, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Marshall, Meade, Mitchell, Morris, Morton, Nemaha, Neosho, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rice, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson.

Is there a penalty for leaving a ROZ county before the program ends?

No, but individuals can no longer receive future benefits under the program if they leave a ROZ county.

Do I need to live in the ROZ County for the entire tax year in order to receive the credit?

Yes, a qualified individual must live in the ROZ County for the entire taxable year to claim the credit.

Which state agencies will oversee the program?

The Department of Commerce will oversee the student loan repayment program. The Department of Revenue will oversee the state income tax exemption.

How will this program be marketed?

The Department of Commerce will coordinate marketing the ROZ program, along with regional and local economic development organizations.
 

Will there be a formal application and/or review process to become a participant in the program?

Yes. The application form to apply for the student loan repayment program is available here. There is not a formal application process for the state income tax waiver. The Department of Revenue will determine eligibility based on individual tax returns filed each year.

If I have additional questions, who should I contact?

For the student loan repayment portion of the program, contact Chris Harris, Kansas Department of Commerce, ROZ Program Manager, at (785) 296-6815 or . For questions about the state income tax waiver, contact the Kansas Department of Revenue, Office of Policy and Research at (785) 296-3081.

State Income Tax Credit Questions

What are the income requirements to qualify for the state income tax wavier?

The law requires that an individual moving from out of state may not have earned more than $10,000 per year for each of the past five years from Kansas source income before moving to a ROZ county.


Is there a requirement that an individual moving to a ROZ county be employed before moving?


No.

What county specific dates apply for  income tax waiver eligibility?

In the following counties, residency must have been established after July 1, 2011 to be eligible for state income tax waivers (the first tax year eligible for waivers in these counties was 2012):
Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson.


In the following counties, residency must have been established after July 1, 2013 to be eligible for state income tax waivers (the first tax year eligible for waivers in these counties is 2014):

Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Brown, Chase, Clay, Coffey, Doniphan, Ellsworth, Grant, Gray, Haskell, Jackson, Linn, Marshall, Meade, Morris, Nemaha, Neosho, Ottawa, Rice, Stevens and Wabaunsee.

In the following counties, residency must have been established after July 1, 2014 to to be eligible for state income tax waivers (the first tax year eligible for waivers in these counties is 2015):
Cherokee, Montgomery, Labette and Sumner.

What if I have additional questions?


Contact the Department of Revenue at (785) 368-8222 or click here.Student Loan Repayment Questions


Student Loan Repayment Questions

Are there income guidelines to qualify for the student loan repayment program?

No, there are no income requirements. 


I graduated from college before the program started on Jan. 1, 2012.  Can I participate in the program?

Yes. The only eligibility requirements are that you graduated from an accredited post-secondary institution, that you have outstanding student loans from the degree you earned and that you move to a ROZ county.

How much will the program repay of my student loans?

The program will pay 20 percent of your outstanding student loans up to a maximum of $3,000 per year ($15,000 maximum benefit over five years). For example, if you have $10,000 of outstanding student loans, the program will repay 20 percent of that balance per year (in this case, $2,000). If you have $70,000 in outstanding student loans, for example, you’re only eligible for the maximum benefit per year of $3,000.

Are the payments I receive from the county-state considered taxable income?

Yes, payments will be considered taxable income. For more information, consult IRS publication 970, “Tax Benefits for Education.”

Do individuals in this program enter into a contract with the county or state regarding terms of residence?

No, but there is a formal application process to determine eligibility for the program.


Does becoming eligible for the program guarantee benefits?

No, eligibility in the program does not guarantee benefits. The Kansas Legislature appropriated a set amount of funding for this program, and once that funding is distributed, future eligible applicants will be placed on a waiting list until the Legislature appropriates more funds. In addition, some counties are limiting the number of eligible applicants they will take in the program because of budgetary reasons. The student loan repayment program is a county-state partnership, with each side contributing half of the participant’s student loan repayment each year.

When should I expect to receive the first repayment on my student loan?


Repayments will be made in September or October of each calendar year.


Will repayments be made directly to me or to my lender?

Repayments will be made directly to your lender.

If I move to a ROZ county but open a business or work in another county, am I eligible for the program?

Yes. Eligibility is based on where you live, not where you work or operate a business.

Can a county focus on only certain degrees or professions?

All degrees and professions are eligible.

Can a county pay bonuses or approve additional amounts of incentives beyond what is currently offered?

Any bonuses would be at the county’s discretion.

Can two or more counties in a region partner to offer specific incentives?

Partnering between two or more counties to offer additional incentives would be up to the counties themselves.

Can graduates of a university or college in Kansas participate in this program?

Yes. Anyone who graduated from an accredited post-secondary education institution is eligible to participate in the student loan repayment program.

Does the student loan repayment apply to loans taken out by parents as well as those taken out by individuals agreeing to move to the ROZ county?

Parents could be co-signers on the loan, but the students must have signed for the loan to qualify for the program.

Can a county repay more than the $15,000 over five years if it wishes?

Yes, at the county’s discretion. The state, however, will not match more than the $15,000 maximum.

Can a county find other sources of funding, such as from a foundation?

Yes, other sources of funding are permitted.

Can charitable contributions be utilized?

The county must opt-in and participate in the program, but providing those funds is at the county’s discretion.

Could an individual donate to a foundation so that the foundation may partner with the county to repay the student loan payments of a qualified individual and then in turn receive a tax deduction?

Yes. The foundation would have to be an IRS-designated charity for an individual to receive a tax deduction.
 

Download the Program Guidelines document as a PDF 
here.


HomePrintEmailRSS
Facebook
Sun_field.jpg
Home Contact Us Sitemap Accessibility Copyright Notice Photo Credits Employment Powered by CivicPlus Kansas.gov
Kansas Department of Commerce, 1000 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66612-1354
(785) 296-3481      TTY - 711      Fax (785) 296-5055