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On October 2, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service released final regulations providing guidance for Section 529A “qualified ABLE programs” established by states under the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (the “ABLE Act”) to provide tax-favored savings and investment accounts for individuals with disabilities.  Building on proposed regulations issued in 2015 and 2019 and several prior IRS notices as to how the final regulations would resolve specific issues under the ABLE Act, the final regulations clearly seek to avoid, within statutory constraints, imposing major administrative burdens on ABLE programs. Nonetheless, several key provisions contain ambiguities or raise concerns.  As indicated by prior IRS guidance, the regulations provide a transition period of at least two years for ABLE programs operating in good faith to implement provisions applicable to such programs, and thus an opportunity for the IRS address such ambiguities and concerns through notices or other guidance prior to their full implementation.
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On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (the “CARES Act”), a $2+ trillion stimulus package intended to ease the economic and social disruptions facing the country in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
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Congress Acts to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

March 18, 2020 | Blog | By Anthony DeMaio, William Kannel, Leonard Weiser-Varon

Below is an update on legislative efforts by Congress and the White House to address the coronavirus pandemic, prepared by our D.C. colleagues at ML Strategies, who are closely following these fluid and fast-moving developments. Efforts to provide a supply of low cost working capital to the many businesses and entities experiencing operational and/or cash flow disruption may be of particular interest to our bondholder clients.
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Mintz’s Len Weiser-Varon recently published commentary in The Bond Buyer titled, “Uniform Commercial Code financing statement is integral in bond defaults.”
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Tolstoy warned that “if you look for perfection, you’ll never be content”; but Tolstoy wasn’t a bankruptcy lawyer.  In the world of secured lending, perfection is paramount. A secured lender that has not properly perfected its lien can lose its collateral and end up with unsecured status if its borrower files bankruptcy. 
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On December 31, 2018, the Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released long-awaited proposed regulations (the “Proposed Regulations”) that address when modifications to the terms of tax-exempt bonds are treated as an exchange of existing bonds for newly issued (or “reissued”) bonds for purposes of section 103 and sections 141 through 150 of the Internal Revenue Code and when an issuer’s acquisition of its bonds results in such bonds ceasing to be outstanding for federal tax purposes.
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On December 31, 2018, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released final regulations (the “Final Regulations”) relating to public approval requirements for tax exempt private activity bonds.  The Final Regulations update and streamline implementation of the public approval requirement for tax exempt private activity bonds provided in section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code and are largely an improvement over the existing regulations that date back to 1983.  
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IRS Expands Remedial Action for Nonqualified Use of Tax-Advantaged Bonds

April 13, 2018 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Christie Martin

The IRS on April 11, 2018 released Revenue Procedure 2018-26 (Rev. Proc. 2018-26), which expands remedial action options in connection with certain post-issuance leases to private parties of facilities financed with tax-exempt bonds.
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Insolvent “On Behalf Of” Municipal Bond Issuers: Chapter 9, Chapter 11, or Ineligible?

February 26, 2018 | Blog | By William Kannel, Charles W. Azano

Last week, President Trump unveiled his proposal to fix our nation’s aging infrastructure. While the proposal lauded $1.5 trillion in new spending, it only included $200 billion in federal funding.
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Tax Reform: The Threat of Annihilation of Tax-Exempt Financing

November 9, 2017 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Charles Samuels, Meghan Burke, John Regier

Mintz Levin's Chuck Samuels, Meghan Burke, Len Weiser-Varon, and John Regier discussed the new tax reform bill in a webinar entitled "Tax Reform: The Threat of Annihilation of Tax Exempt Financing.” 
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In order to understand the context in which the current tax reform bill, H.R. 1, is being considered, it is important to know the meaning of two bits of Washington jargon: “budget reconciliation” and the “Byrd rule.” 
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IRS Releases New Public Approval Proposed Regulations

October 13, 2017 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Christie Martin

On September 28, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) withdrew previous proposed regulations and released new proposed regulations (the “Proposed Regulations”) relating to public approval requirements for tax exempt private activity bonds. 
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MSRB Addresses Selective Disclosure

September 15, 2017 | Blog | By Charles Carey

On September 13, 2017, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (the “MSRB”) published a market advisory on selective disclosure (the “Notice”).
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The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 opinion in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, precluding states from discriminating against churches in at least some state financing programs, raises anew the question of whether states may, or are required to, provide tax-exempt conduit bond financing to churches and other sectarian institutions.
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Will It Soon Be Game over for Tax-Exempt Financing of Professional Sports Stadiums?

June 20, 2017 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Meghan Burke, Poonam Patidar

Public financing, including tax-exempt bond financing, of facilities used by professional sport teams has long been a controversial topic, with advocates and opponents disagreeing over whether the public benefits sufficiently to justify public subsidies. 
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On March 15, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission” or “SEC”) published in the Federal Register for comment proposed amendments to Rule 15c2-12 (the “Rule”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”).
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Tax Guidance to Slow Under Trump. Even More Emphasis on Letter Rulings in Bond Transactions?

February 15, 2017 | Blog | By Maxwell Solet, Christie Martin

As the Trump administration attempts to substantially reduce the amount of federal regulations, both the Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel of the Treasury Department and an Associate Chief Counsel at the Internal Revenue Service indicated this week that we are likely to see a virtual halt to formal tax law “guidance” for the foreseeable future.
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IRS Clarifies New Management Contract Safe Harbors

January 24, 2017 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Maxwell Solet, Christie Martin

In August, 2016, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2016-44, the first comprehensive revision of its management contract safe harbors since Revenue Procedure 97-13.  Rev. Proc. 2016-44 (see our description here) built upon and amplified principles laid out in private letter rulings issued over many years and in Notice 2014-67. 
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Treasury/IRS Provide Early Holiday Present: Final “Issue Price” Regulations Released

December 13, 2016 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Christie Martin, Maxwell Solet

After two sets of proposed regulations, Treasury and IRS have now released final regulations on the definition of “issue price” for purposes of arbitrage investment restrictions that apply to tax-advantaged bonds (the “Final Regulations”) and it appears that the third time’s the charm.
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