Rural Opportunity Zone

For complete information about the ROZ Program, please reach out to the Kansas Department of Commerce's Office of Rural Prosperity.

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The Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) Program was introduced in 2012 in Kansas. The main goal of the program was to attract residents and businesses to rural areas. The program consists of two components: (1) a state income tax waiver and (2) student loanrepayment assistance, both of which are available for up to five years.

INCOME TAX WAIVER
The five-year state income tax waiver aims to relieve some of the costs associated with an interstate move, such as obtaining a new driver’s license, registering and insuring an automobile, paying required deposits for rent and utilities and finding new health care providers, among other things. The tax waiver component of the ROZ program provides a waiver for 100 percent of the participant’s state income tax liability for up to five years.To qualify for the state income tax waiver, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
• Establish domicile in a ROZ county on or after the date the county was included in the program
• Lived outside the State of Kansas for at least five years prior to establishing domicile in the ROZ county
• Earned less than $10,000 in Kansas-source income in each of the five years immediately prior to establishing domicile in the ROZ county
• Reside in the county from January 1st to December 31st of the year the waiver is requested

STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE
The student loan repayment assistance component of the program aims to help rural businesses and communities recruit people with higher educations and a broader range of skills to fill positions within the area. By partnering with business and county sponsors, Kansas offers eligible individuals up to $3,000 per year, for five years to apply toward their student loans. If an individual’s loan balance is less than $15,000, she/he receives 20 percent of the loan balance paid each year for 5 years. For example, a person with $10,000 in student loan debt would receive$2,000 per year, for five years.To qualify for student loan repayment assistance, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
• Establish domicile in a ROZ county after July 1, 2011, and on/after the date on which the county opted into the student loan program
• Hold an associate, bachelor’s, or postgraduate degree prior to moving to a ROZ county
• Have an outstanding student loan balance in applicant’s name
• Be able to provide proof of residency at current and previous addresses, proof of degree, proof of student loan balance with distribution dates, and a Kansas Tax Clearance Certificate
• Have a county or employer sponsor. An applicant must have a sponsor to receive funding from the state