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Unlocking Financial Freedom: Your Guide to Thriving in Kansas with Rural Opportunity Zones

In the state of Kansas, you may qualify for a little-known financial opportunity that could change your life! Kansas has designated 95 of the 105 counties as Rural Opportunity Zones. This is a huge opportunity for anyone looking to dive deep into growing their future in a community that is near and dear to their hearts. People who relocate to any of these Zones (counties) could be eligible for Student Loan Repayment Assistance and/or 100% State Income Tax Credit. These incentives are administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Department of Revenue respectively. Keep reading to learn how you can take advantage of these programs or pass it along to someone else!

Student Loan Repayment Assistance

Administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce and in collaboration with local entities, ‘ROZ’ (aka Rural Opportunity Zones) Student Loan Repayment Assistance offers up to $15,000 over five years to eligible individuals burdened by student loan debt. To qualify, applicants must establish domicile (proof you live there and intend to stay there) in a participating county, hold an associate’s, bachelor’s, or post-graduate degree, and demonstrate an active student loan balance. Student loans are such a burden when you are newly graduated and are trying to start building your future. This program could be just the thing you need to kickstart your career! Whether you are from a small town and are looking to go back or you want to give small town living a chance, why not take the leap and get a financial reward to do so?


State Income Tax Credit

The Rural Opportunity Zone 100% State Income Tax Credit, managed by the Kansas Department of Revenue, presents residents with a remarkable opportunity to alleviate tax burdens. Eligible individuals can claim a tax credit equivalent to their Kansas state tax liability for up to five consecutive years following domicile establishment in a ROZ county, subject to specific criteria. This credit is refundable, meaning any State taxes that are withheld during the year will be refunded back to you upon filing your tax return. However, you should consult a professional when applying for this credit. If not completed on your originally filed return, you will miss this opportunity. The credit cannot be claimed on amended returns. Finding someone to work with to navigate this process can be a total game changer!

“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.” – Mark Twain.

No one enjoys watching their hard-earned money be cut out of their paycheck. If you take advantage of this program, you won’t have to! The 100% State Income Tax Credit is an amazing way to keep more money in your pocket as you are beginning or continuing your career.

Navigating Eligibility and Application

Qualifying for Rural Opportunity Zone incentives entails carefully navigating criteria related to residency, income, and educational background. Applicants must meticulously gather documentation, including proof of domicile, academic transcripts, and student loan statements. Understanding the nuanced eligibility requirements and seeking guidance from designated agencies (like Kaden) are critical steps in the application process. Reach out to Kaden today!

Cultivating Partnerships and Support

The success of the Rural Opportunity Zone program hinges on collaborative efforts between local sponsors, state agencies, and ambitious individuals like yourself. Counties, cities, employers, and foundations play pivotal roles as sponsors, facilitating access to benefits and fostering community engagement. Simultaneously, the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Department of Revenue provide invaluable technical assistance and support to applicants. This partnership helps to ensure a seamless experience for you!

Impact and Future Prospects

The Rural Opportunity Zone program extends far beyond financial incentives and aims to transform rural communities. Since its inception, the ROZ program has yielded tangible results, revitalizing rural communities and instilling a renewed sense of optimism. By attracting a diverse pool of talent, ROZ is laying the groundwork for sustained economic growth and vitality in rural Kansas. Take advantage of the ROZ program today to unlock the full potential of rural life in the heartland of America.


What This Program Means To Us

As two young professionals striving to make rural Kansas stronger, we are elated this program exists to attract more people to our smaller communities. This program fosters economic growth in rural communities. Investing in young professionals is critical to the longevity and success of small towns. By incentivizing relocation to rural areas, this program promotes giving rural living a chance. We may not have big city stores, but we have small businesses that reinvest in the community. We may not have skyscrapers, but our downtowns are pretty cute. There is room for growth and potential. If you are wanting to make an impact and leave this earth better than you found it, there is room for you!


To take advantage of this program, reach out to Kaden Stein and see if you qualify today!

This article is co-authored by Kaden Stein, CPA. Kaden works as a Senior Accountant at Kennedy McKee and Company LLP in Dodge City, Kansas. Kaden’s practice areas include individual and business taxation, specifically farmers and small business owners, as well as not-for-profit audits and various other accounting/consulting services. In his free time, Kaden is a referee, President of the Dodge City Area Young Professionals (YP) Organization, and President of the Finance Council at his church. To contact Kaden about accounting services email





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