Outlook for Muni Tax Regulation in 2017
"The change in the White House to a Trump administration will certainly put a severe damper on any regulatory activities for most of the coming year," said Matthias Edrich, a tax partner with Kutak Rock in Denver. "Not just for public finance but for any regulatory efforts."
John Cross, associate tax legislative counsel for the Treasury Department, said that while he could not comment on regulatory priorities which will be set by the incoming policymakers for the new administration, he did note that Treasury's two most active existing projects at the staff level are the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act public rules and bond reissuance regulations.
"Efficiency in TEB has gone down and it is getting worse at identifying good cases," said Mark Scott, former head of the Internal Revenue Service's Tax-Exempt Bond Office who now has a private practice focused on representing whistleblowers. "Even when they are identified, [TEB] is struggling to get agents to complete cases. The cases are there and the work can be done. Still, I anticipate this trend continuing."
"I think what we will see is a bit of a calming down of the priority list," said Emily Brock, director of the Government Finance Officers Association's federal liaison center. "One thing that drew our attention for us, though, is the political subdivision definition. We'll continue to keep an eye on that."
"What I find interesting and what a lot of folks are wondering if the new administration will have an effect on the types of regulations published," said Stefano Taverna, an attorney with McCall, Parkhurst & Horton in Dallas, and the chair of the American Bar Association's tax-exempt financing committee. "[Donald] Trump said that for all new regulations that come out you'll have to take two out. I don't know if that will have an impact on the streamlining of regs."
"The original regulations came out in 1982 and are very antiquated," said Ed Oswald, a partner with Orrick, Herrington, and Sutcliffe in Washington. "I think the muni market would love to have the TEFRA regulations in final form."
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