|Code Section||Effective Date||Name of Act||Name of Provision||10yr Revenue Estimate ($millions)|
|265||12/31/2008||The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5)||De minimis safe harbor exception for tax-exempt interest expense of financial institutions and modification of
small issuer exception to tax-exempt interest expense allocation rules for financial institutions
De minimis safe harbor exception for tax-exempt interest expense of financial institutions and modification of small issuer exception to tax-exempt interest expense allocation rules for financial institutions
Explanation of Provision
Two-percent safe harbor for financial institutions
The provision provides that tax-exempt obligations issued during 2009 or 2010 and held by a financial institution, in an amount not to exceed two percent of the adjusted basis of the financial institution’s assets, are not taken into account for the purpose of determining the portion of the financial institution’s interest expense subject to the pro rata interest disallowance rule of section 265(b). For purposes of this rule, a refunding bond (whether a current or advance refunding) is treated as issued on the date of the issuance of the refunded bond (or in the case of a series of refundings, the original bond).
The provision also amends section 291(e) to provide that tax-exempt obligations issued during 2009 and 2010, and not taken into account for purposes of the calculation of a financial institution’s interest expense subject to the pro rata interest disallowance rule, are treated as having been acquired on August 7, 1986. As a result, such obligations are financial institution preference items, and the amount allowable as a deduction by a financial institution with respect to interest incurred to carry such obligations is reduced by 20 percent.
Modifications to qualified small issuer exception
With respect to tax-exempt obligations issued during 2009 and 2010, the provision increases from $10 million to $30 million the annual limit for qualified small issuers.
In addition, in the case of a ‘‘qualified financing issue’’ issued in 2009 or 2010, the provision applies the $30 million annual volume limitation at the borrower level (rather than at the level of the pooled financing issuer). Thus, for the purpose of applying the requirements of the section 265(b)(3) qualified small issuer exception, the portion of the proceeds of a qualified financing issue that are loaned to a ‘‘qualified borrower’’ that participates in the issue are treated as a separate issue with respect to which the qualified borrower is deemed to be the issuer.
A ‘‘qualified financing issue’’ is any composite, pooled or other conduit financing issue the proceeds of which are used directly or indirectly to make or finance loans to one or more ultimate borrowers all of whom are qualified borrowers. A ‘‘qualified borrower’’ means (1) a State or political subdivision of a State or (2) an organization described in section 501(c)(3) and exempt from tax under section 501(a). Thus, for example, a $100 million pooled financing issue that was issued in 2009 could qualify for the section 265(b)(3) exception if the proceeds of such issue were used to make four equal loans of $25 million to four qualified borrowers. However, if (1) more than $30 million were loaned to any qualified borrower, (2) any borrower were not a qualified borrower, or (3) any borrower would, if it were the issuer of a separate issue in an amount equal to the amount loaned to such borrower, fail to meet any of the other requirements of section 265(b)(3), the entire $100 million pooled financing issue would fail to qualify for the exception.
For purposes of determining whether an issuer meets the requirements of the small issuer exception, qualified 501(c)(3) bonds issued in 2009 or 2010 are treated as if they were issued by the 501(c)(3) organization for whose benefit they were issued (and not by the actual issuer of such bonds). In addition, in the case of an organization described in section 501(c)(3) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a), requirements for ‘‘qualified financing issues’’ shall be applied as if the section 501(c)(3) organization were the issuer. Thus, in any event, an organization described in section 501(c)(3) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) shall be limited to the $30 million per issuer cap for qualified tax exempt obligations described in section 265(b)(3).