While the advance refunding of tax-advantaged bonds remains a thing of the past, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance on May 22, Notice 2019-39, expanding the realm of current refundings to permit the current refunding of all existing and future tax-exempt bond programs that impose bond volume cap, issuance time deadlines, or both, for which the statute under which such programs operate does not address the permissibility of current refunding bonds.
Over the years, Congress has enacted several targeted tax-exempt bond programs, often to provide disaster relief or promote economic development in underserved areas. Such bonds include “GO Zone Bonds” under former Section 1400N of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code), Midwest Disaster and Hurricane Ike Disaster Bonds under Code Sections 702(d)(1) and 704(a) of the Heartland Disaster Relief Act, Recovery Zone Facility Bonds under former Code Section 1400U-3, and Tribal Economic Development Bonds issued under Code Section 7871(f).
Unlike other tax-advantaged bonds, these targeted programs were authorized under statutory provisions that did not address whether an issuer could current refund such bonds. The Treasury and IRS have addressed on a piecemeal basis the ability to current refund certain of these programs. See, e.g., Notice 2012-3, 2012-3 I.R.B. 289 (GO Zone, Midwest, and Hurricane Ike Disaster Bonds); Notice 2014-39, 2014-5 I.R.B. 455 (Recovery Zone Facility Bonds); and Notice 2003-40, 2003-2 C.B. 20 (New York Liberty Bonds).
Click here to read the full GT Alert.