Reader’s Question About Washington DC Empowerment Zone

Someone asked me recently (1) if the District of Columbia enterprise zone is considered to be a federal empowerment zone and (2) if all residents of the District of Columbia would be eligible employees for purposes of the empowerment zone employment credit.
There are ways in which the Washington DC zone is not exactly like other empowerment zones.  For purposes of the empowerment zone employment credit, however, it’s a relatively simple concept.
The instructions to IRS Form 8844 “Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Employment Credit,” are relatively (cough couch) clear.

Under [Internal Revenue Code] section 1400, parts of Washington, DC, are treated as an empowerment zone. For details, use the RC/EZ/EC Address Locator at or see Notice 98-57, on page 9 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 1998-47 at

I read the relevant section of IRS Bulletin 1998-47 as suggested.  It confirms that parts of the District of Columbia are to be treated as an Empowerment Zone.  However, the bulletin is not helpful to the average person who wants to find out the boundaries of the zone . . . or discover if their businesses is eligible.  Just use the HUD address locator.
The IRS instructions to Form 8844 go on to define a “Qualified empowerment zone employee” as a full or part-time employee who:
(1) Performs substantially all of the services for that employer within an empowerment zone in the employer’s trade or business and
(2) Has his or her principal residence within that empowerment zone while performing those services
The rules for the Washington DC zone, however, differ as to point number 2.

Employees who work in the Washington, DC, empowerment zone may live anywhere in the District of Columbia.

I hope that’s helpful.  If any reader has additional information to clarify the nature of the Washington zone, I will be happy to considering posting it here.  Send me a note, or post a comment, with your sources.

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