12/21/2017

Municipal Bonds and Tax Legislation

by

On December 20, 2017, the U.S. House and Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the President signed the legislation on December 22, 2017.

Significant aspects of the legislation, related to municipal bonds, include:

  • Preservation of the tax exemption applicable to interest on public purpose state and local government bonds
  • Preservation of the tax exemption applicable to interest on qualified private activity bonds
  • Advance refunding bonds issued after December 31, 2017 will no longer be tax exempt

Generally, efforts to retain the tax exemptions applicable to municipal bonds were successful.  In anticipation of the change in status of advance refunding bonds, many issuers across the country have been bringing new advance refunding bonds to market ahead of the year-end deadline, increasing near-term supply.  Going forward, the available supply of municipal bonds may be reduced by a decline in this type of issuance.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the alternative minimum tax, “on individuals, a parallel tax that disallows personal exemptions and state deductions for high-earning households, is narrowed. As a result, the Tax Policy Center estimates, only 200,000 households will likely pay it instead of 5.2 million.”