The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are seeking public comments on what municipal bond and other regulatory projects should be included on its 2009-2010 guidance priority list.
In a four-page notice released yesterday, the agencies asked the public to weigh in on which tax matters are most in need of guidance, including bond-related issues emerging as a result of the recently enacted $787 billion stimulus package.
The notice stated that in light of the fact that several laws have been enacted that carry significant tax law changes - including the stimulus, the federal bailout law passed last fall, and the omnibus housing relief bill passed last summer - Treasury and the IRS will consider issues emerging from those new laws when putting together their agenda.
Market participants said yesterday they are hoping that one high priority will be proposed guidance on how issuers and investors can "strip" and separately sell the tax credits from new tax-credit bonds authorized by the stimulus. However, even if it is a priority, Treasury officials have estimated that guidance will not be ready until next fall due to its complexity.
Other areas involving tax-exempt bonds that could end up on the list include new proposed regulations on solid-waste disposal facilities, and proposed regulations that codify two notices on reissuance that were issued last year in the wake of the collapse of the auction-rate securities market. The notices allowed issuers who took certain steps to buy back auction-rate securities and other variable-rate debt without resulting in reissuance of debt.
The agencies said that when considering the recommendations, they will take into account whether the guidance would resolve issues significant to many taxpayers, be appropriate for additional public involvement, promote sound tax administration, be able to be drafted in a way that is easily understood and applied, be able to be applied uniformly, or reduce controversy and lessen the burdens of the IRS or taxpayers.
Taxpayers should include a brief description of any recommendations, as well as why they are needed, the notice stated. They also are welcome to suggest how issues should be resolved, and, if making multiple recommendations, should categorize them as high, medium, or low priority, it stated.
Although taxpayers are welcome to recommend guidance projects throughout the year, they should submit them by May 31, 2009, if they want them included on the upcoming priority guidance list, the agencies said.