26 CFR § 1.147(f)-1 - Public approval of private activity bonds.

§ 1.147(f)-1 Public approval of private activity bonds.

(a) In general. Interest on a private activity bond is excludable from gross income under section 103(a) only if the bond meets the requirements for a qualified bond as defined in section 141(e) and other applicable requirements provided in section 103. In order to be a qualified bond as defined in section 141(e), among other requirements, a private activity bond must meet the requirements of section 147(f). A private activity bond meets the requirements of section 147(f) only if the bond is publicly approved pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section or the bond qualifies for the exception for refunding bonds in section 147(f)(2)(D).

(b) Public approval requirement -

(1) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a bond meets the requirements of section 147(f) if, before the issue date, the issue of which the bond is a part receives issuer approval and host approval (each a public approval) as defined in paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) of this section in accordance with the method and process set forth in paragraphs (c) through (f) of this section.

(2) Issuer approval. Except as otherwise provided in this section, issuer approval means an approval that meets the requirements of this paragraph (b)(2). Either the governmental unit that issues the issue or the governmental unit on behalf of which the issue is issued must approve the issue. For this purpose, § 1.103-1 applies to the determination of whether an issuer issues bonds on behalf of another governmental unit. If an issuer issues bonds on behalf of more than one governmental unit (for example, in the case of an authority that acts for two counties), any one of those governmental units may provide the issuer approval.

(3) Host approval. Except as otherwise provided in this section, host approval means an approval that meets the requirements of this paragraph (b)(3). Each governmental unit the geographic jurisdiction of which contains the site of a project to be financed by the issue must approve the issue. If, however, the entire site of a project to be financed by the issue is within the geographic jurisdiction of more than one governmental unit within a State (counting the State as a governmental unit within such State), then any one of those governmental units may provide host approval for the issue for that project. For purposes of the host approval, if a project to be financed by the issue is located within the geographic jurisdiction of two or more governmental units but not entirely within any one of those governmental units, each portion of the project that is located entirely within the geographic jurisdiction of the respective governmental units may be treated as a separate project. The issuer approval provided pursuant to paragraph (b)(2) of this section may be treated as a host approval if the governmental unit providing the issuer approval is also a governmental unit eligible to provide the host approval pursuant to this section.

(4) Special rule for host approval of airports or high-speed intercity rail facilities. Pursuant to a special rule in section 147(f)(3), if the proceeds of an issue are to be used to finance a project that consists of either facilities located at an airport (within the meaning of section 142(a)(1)) or high-speed intercity rail facilities (within the meaning of section 142(a)(11)) and the issuer of that issue is the owner or operator of the airport or high-speed intercity rail facilities, the issuer is the only governmental unit that is required to provide the host approval for that project.

(5) Special rule for issuer approval of scholarship funding bond issues and volunteer fire department bond issues. In the case of a qualified scholarship funding bond as defined in section 150(d)(2), the governmental unit that made a request described in section 150(d)(2)(B) with respect to the issuer of the bond is the governmental unit on behalf of which the bond was issued for purposes of the issuer approval. If more than one governmental unit within a State made a request described in section 150(d)(2)(B), the State or any such requesting governmental unit may be treated as the governmental unit on behalf of which the bond was issued for purposes of the issuer approval. In the case of a bond of a volunteer fire department treated as a bond of a political subdivision of a State under section 150(e), the political subdivision described in section 150(e)(2)(B) with respect to that volunteer fire department is the governmental unit on behalf of which the bond is issued for purposes of the issuer approval.

(6) Special rules for host approval of mortgage revenue bonds, student loan bonds, and certain qualified 501(c)(3) bonds. In the case of a mortgage revenue bond (as defined in paragraph (g)(5) of this section), a qualified student loan bond as defined in section 144(b), and the portion of an issue of qualified 501(c)(3) bonds as defined in section 145 that finances working capital expenditures, the issue or portion of the issue must receive an issuer approval but no host approval is necessary. See also paragraph (f)(5) of this section, providing certain optional alternative special rules for certain qualified 501(c)(3) bonds for pooled loan financings described in section 147(b)(4)(B).

(c) Method of public approval. The method of public approval of an issue must satisfy either paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section. An approval may satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (c) without regard to the authority under State or local law for the acts constituting that approval.

(1) Applicable elected representative. An applicable elected representative of the approving governmental unit approves the issue following a public hearing for which there was reasonable public notice.

(2) Voter referendum. A voter referendum of the approving governmental unit approves the issue.

(d) Public hearing and reasonable public notice -

(1) Public hearing. Public hearing means a forum providing a reasonable opportunity for interested individuals to express their views, orally or in writing, on the proposed issue of bonds and the location and nature of the proposed project to be financed.

(2) Location of the public hearing. The public hearing must be held in a location that, based on the facts and circumstances, is convenient for residents of the approving governmental unit. The location of the public hearing is presumed convenient for residents of the unit if the public hearing is located in the approving governmental unit's capital or seat of government. If more than one governmental unit is required to hold a public hearing, the hearings may be combined as long as the combined hearing affords the residents of all of the participating governmental units a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The location of any combined hearing is presumed convenient for residents of each participating governmental unit if it is no farther than 100 miles from the seat of government of each participating governmental unit beyond whose geographic jurisdiction the hearing is conducted.

(3) Procedures for conducting the public hearing. In general, a governmental unit may select its own procedure for a public hearing, provided that interested individuals have a reasonable opportunity to express their views. Thus, a governmental unit may impose reasonable requirements on persons who wish to participate in the hearing, such as a requirement that persons desiring to speak at the hearing make a written request to speak at least 24 hours before the hearing or that they limit their oral remarks to a prescribed time. For this purpose, it is unnecessary, for example, that the applicable elected representative of the approving governmental unit be present at the hearing, that a report on the hearing be submitted to that applicable elected representative, or that State administrative procedural requirements for public hearings be observed. Except to the extent State procedural requirements for public hearings are in conflict with a specific requirement of this section, a public hearing performed in compliance with State procedural requirements satisfies the requirements for a public hearing in this paragraph (d). A public hearing may be conducted by an individual appointed or employed to perform such function by the governmental unit or its agencies, or by the issuer. Thus, for example, for bonds to be issued by an authority that acts on behalf of a county, the hearing may be conducted by the authority, the county, or an appointee of either.

(4) Reasonable public notice. Reasonable public notice means notice that is reasonably designed to inform residents of an approving governmental unit, including the issuing governmental unit and the governmental unit in whose geographic jurisdiction a project is to be located, of the proposed issue. The notice must state the time and place for the public hearing and contain the information required by paragraph (f)(2) of this section. Notice is presumed to be reasonably designed to inform residents of an approving governmental unit if it satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (d)(4) and is given no fewer than seven (7) calendar days before the public hearing in one or more of the ways set forth in paragraphs (d)(4)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(i) Newspaper publication. Public notice may be given by publication in one or more newspapers of general circulation available to the residents of the governmental unit.

(ii) Radio or television broadcast. Public notice may be given by radio or television broadcast to the residents of the governmental unit.

(iii) Governmental unit website posting. Public notice may be given by electronic posting on the approving governmental unit's primary public website in an area of that website used to inform its residents about events affecting the residents (for example, notice of public meetings of the governmental unit). In the case of an issuer approval of an issue issued by an on-behalf-of issuer that acts on behalf of a governmental unit, such notice may be posted on the public website of the on-behalf-of issuer as an alternative to the public website of the approving governmental unit.

(iv) Alternative State law public notice procedures. Public notice may be given in a way that is permitted under a general State law for public notices for public hearings for the approving governmental unit, provided that the public notice is reasonably accessible.

(e) Applicable elected representative -

(1) In general -

(i) Definition of applicable elected representative. The applicable elected representative of a governmental unit means -

(A) The governmental unit's elected legislative body;

(B) The governmental unit's chief elected executive officer;

(C) In the case of a State, the chief elected legal officer of the State's executive branch of government; or

(D) Any official elected by the voters of the governmental unit and designated for purposes of this section by the governmental unit's chief elected executive officer or by State or local law to approve issues for the governmental unit.

(ii) Elected officials. For purposes of paragraphs (e)(1)(i)(B), (C), and (D) of this section, an official is considered elected only if that official is popularly elected at-large by the voters of the governmental unit. If an official popularly elected at-large by the voters of a governmental unit is appointed or selected pursuant to State or local law to be the chief executive officer of the unit, that official is deemed to be an elected chief executive officer for purposes of this section but for no longer than the official's tenure as an official popularly elected at-large.

(iii) Legislative bodies. In the case of a bicameral legislature that is popularly elected, both chambers together constitute an applicable elected representative. Absent designation under paragraph (e)(1)(i)(D) of this section, however, neither such chamber independently constitutes an applicable elected representative. If multiple elected legislative bodies of a governmental unit have independent legislative authority, the body with the more specific authority relating to the issue is the only legislative body that is treated as an elected legislative body under paragraph (e)(1)(i)(A) of this section.

(2) Governmental unit with no applicable elected representative -

(i) In general. The applicable elected representatives of a governmental unit with no applicable elected representative (but for this paragraph (e)(2) and section 147(f)(2)(E)(ii)) are the applicable elected representatives of the next higher governmental unit (with an applicable elected representative) from which the governmental unit derives its authority. Except as otherwise provided in this section, any governmental unit from which the governmental unit with no applicable elected representative derives its authority may be treated as the next higher governmental unit without regard to the relative status of such higher governmental unit under State law. A governmental unit derives its authority from another governmental unit that -

(A) Enacts a specific law (for example, a provision in a State constitution, charter, or statute) by or under which the governmental unit is created;

(B) Otherwise empowers or approves the creation of the governmental unit; or

(C) Appoints members to the governing body of the governmental unit.

(ii) Host approval. For purposes of a host approval, a governmental unit may be treated as the next higher governmental unit only if the project is located within its geographic jurisdiction and eligible residents of the unit are entitled to vote for its applicable elected representatives.

(3) On behalf of issuers. In the case of an issuer that issues bonds on behalf of a governmental unit, the applicable elected representative is any applicable elected representative of the governmental unit on behalf of which the bonds are issued.

(f) Public approval process -

(1) In general. The public approval process for an issue, including scope, content, and timing of the public approval, must meet the requirements of this paragraph (f). A governmental unit must timely approve either each project to be financed with proceeds of the issue or a plan of financing for each project to be financed with proceeds of the issue.

(2) General rule on information required for a reasonable public notice and public approval. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a project to be financed with proceeds of an issue is within the scope of a public approval under section 147(f) if the reasonable public notice of the public hearing, if applicable, and the public approval (together the notice and approval) include the information set forth in paragraphs (f)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(i) The project. The notice and approval must include a general functional description of the type and use of the project to be financed with the issue. For this purpose, a project description is sufficient if it identifies the project by reference to a particular category of exempt facility bond to be issued (for example, an exempt facility bond for an airport pursuant to section 142(a)(1)) or by reference to another general category of private activity bond together with information on the type and use of the project to be financed with the issue (for example, a qualified small issue bond as defined in section 144(a) for a manufacturing facility or a qualified 501(c)(3) bond as defined in section 145 for a hospital facility and working capital expenditures).

(ii) The maximum stated principal amount of the issue. The notice and approval must include the maximum stated principal amount of the issue of private activity bonds to be issued to finance the project or projects. If an issue finances multiple projects (for example, facilities at different locations on non-proximate sites that are not treated as part of the same project), the notice and approval must specify separately the maximum stated principal amount of bonds to be issued to finance each separate project to be financed as part of the issue. The maximum stated principal amount of bonds to be issued to finance a project may be determined on any reasonable basis and may take into account contingencies, without regard to whether the occurrence of any such contingency is reasonably expected at the time of the notice.

(iii) The name of the initial legal owner or principal user of the project. The notice and approval must include the name of either the expected initial legal owner or principal user (within the meaning of section 144(a)) of the project or, alternatively, the name of a significant true beneficial party of interest for such legal owner or user (for example, the name of a section 501(c)(3) organization that is the sole member of a limited liability company that is the legal owner or the name of a general partner of a partnership that owns the project).

(iv) The location of the project. The notice and approval must include a general description of the prospective location of the project by street address, reference to boundary streets or other geographic boundaries, or other description of the specific geographic location that is reasonably designed to inform readers of the location. For a project involving multiple capital projects or facilities located on the same site, or on adjacent or reasonably proximate sites with similar uses, a consolidated description of the location of those capital projects or facilities provides a sufficient description of the location of the project. For example, a project for a section 501(c)(3) educational entity involving multiple buildings on the entity's main urban college campus may describe the location of the project by reference to the outside street boundaries of that campus with a reference to any noncontiguous features of that campus.

(3) Special rule for mortgage revenue bonds. Mortgage loans financed by mortgage revenue bonds are within the scope of a public approval if the notice and approval state that the bonds are to be issued to finance residential mortgages, provide the maximum stated principal amount of mortgage revenue bonds expected to be issued, and provide a general description of the geographic jurisdiction in which the residences to be financed with the proceeds of the mortgage revenue bonds are expected to be located (for example, residences located throughout a State for an issuer with a statewide jurisdiction or residences within a particular local geographic jurisdiction, such as within a city or county, for a local issuer). For this purpose, in the case of mortgage revenue bonds, no information is required on specific names of mortgage loan borrowers or specific locations of individual residences to be financed.

(4) Special rule for qualified student loan bonds. Qualified student loans financed by qualified student loan bonds as defined in section 144(b) are within the scope of a public approval if the notice and approval state that the bonds will be issued to finance student loans and state the maximum stated principal amount of qualified student loan bonds expected to be issued for qualified student loans. For this purpose, in the case of qualified student loan bonds, no information is required with respect to names of specific student loan borrowers.

(5) Special rule for certain qualified 501(c)(3) bonds. Qualified 501(c)(3) bonds issued pursuant to section 145 for pooled loan financings that are described in section 147(b)(4)(B) (without regard to any election under section 147(b)(4)(A)) are within the scope of a public approval if the public approval either meets the general requirements of paragraph (b) of this section or, alternatively, at the issuer's option, meets the special requirements of paragraphs (f)(5)(i) and (ii) of this section.

(i) Pre-issuance issuer approval. Within the time period required by paragraph (f)(7) of this section, an issuer approval is obtained after reasonable public notice of a public hearing is provided and a public hearing is held. For this purpose, a project is treated as described in the notice and approval if the notice and approval provide that the bonds will be qualified 501(c)(3) bonds to be used to finance loans described in section 147(b)(4)(B), state the maximum stated principal amount of bonds expected to be issued to finance loans to section 501(c)(3) organizations or governmental units as described in section 147(b)(4)(B), provide a general description of the type of project to be financed with such loans (for example, loans for hospital facilities or college facilities), and state that an additional public approval that includes specific project information will be obtained before any such loans are originated.

(ii) Post-issuance public approval for specific loans. Before a loan described in section 147(b)(4)(B) is originated, a supplemental public approval, including issuer approval and host approval, for the bonds to be used to finance that loan is obtained that meets all the requirements of section 147(f) and the requirements for a public approval in paragraph (b) of this section. This post-issuance supplemental public approval requirement applies by treating the bonds to be used to finance such loan as if they were reissued for purposes of section 147(f) (without regard to paragraph (f)(5) of this section). For this purpose, proceeds to be used to finance such loan do not include the portion of the issue used to finance a common reserve fund or common costs of issuance.

(6) Deviations in public approval information -

(i) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a substantial deviation between the stated use or amount of proceeds of an issue included in the information required to be provided in the notice and approval (public approval information) and the actual use or amount of proceeds of the issue causes that issue to fail to meet the public approval requirement. Conversely, insubstantial deviations between the stated use or amount of proceeds of an issue included in the public approval information and the actual use or amount of proceeds of the issue do not cause such a failure. In general, the determination of whether a deviation is substantial is based on all the facts and circumstances. In all events, however, a change in the fundamental nature or type of a project is a substantial deviation.

(ii) Certain insubstantial deviations in public approval information. The following deviations from the public approval information in the notice and approval are treated as insubstantial deviations:

(A) Size of bond issue and use of proceeds. A deviation between the maximum stated principal amount of a proposed issuance of bonds to finance a project that is specified in public approval information and the actual stated principal amount of bonds issued and used to finance that project is an insubstantial deviation if that actual stated principal amount is no more than ten percent (10%) greater than that maximum stated principal amount or is any amount less than that maximum stated principal amount. In addition, the use of proceeds to pay working capital expenditures directly associated with any project specified in the public approval information is an insubstantial deviation.

(B) Initial legal owner or principal user. A deviation between the initial legal owner or principal user of the project named in the notice and approval and the actual initial legal owner or principal user of the project is an insubstantial deviation if such parties are related parties on the issue date of the issue.

(iii) Supplemental public approval to cure certain substantial deviations in public approval information. A substantial deviation between the stated use or amount of proceeds of an issue included in the public approval information and the actual use or amount of the proceeds of the issue does not cause that issue to fail to meet the public approval requirement if all of the following requirements are met:

(A) Original public approval and reasonable expectations. The issue met the requirements for a public approval in paragraph (b) of this section. In addition, on the issue date of the issue, the issuer reasonably expected there would be no substantial deviations between the stated use or amount of proceeds of an issue included in the public approval information and the actual use or amount of the proceeds of the issue.

(B) Unexpected events or unforeseen changes in circumstances. As a result of unexpected events or unforeseen changes in circumstances that occur after the issue date of the issue, the issuer determines to use proceeds of the issue in a manner or amount not provided in a public approval.

(C) Supplemental public approval. Before using proceeds of the bonds in a manner or amount not provided in a public approval, the issuer obtains a supplemental public approval for those bonds that meets the public approval requirement in paragraph (b) of this section. This supplemental public approval requirement applies by treating those bonds as if they were reissued for purposes of section 147(f).

(7) Certain timing requirements. Public approval of an issue is timely only if the issuer obtains the public approval within one year before the issue date of the issue. Public approval of a plan of financing is timely only if the issuer obtains public approval for the plan of financing within one year before the issue date of the first issue issued under the plan of financing and the issuer issues all issues under the plan of financing within three years after the issue date of such first issue.

(g) Definitions. The definitions in this paragraph (g) apply for purposes of this section. In addition, the general definitions in § 1.150-1 apply for purposes of this section.

(1) Geographic jurisdiction means the area encompassed by the boundaries prescribed by State or local law for a governmental unit or, if there are no such boundaries, the area in which a unit may exercise such sovereign powers that make that unit a governmental unit for purposes of § 1.103-1 and this section.

(2) Governmental unit has the meaning of “State or local governmental unit” as defined in § 1.103-1. Thus, a governmental unit is a State, territory, a possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any political subdivision thereof.

(3) Host approval is defined in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(4) Issuer approval is defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(5) Mortgage revenue bonds mean qualified mortgage bonds as defined in section 143(a), qualified veterans' mortgage bonds as defined in section 143(b), or refunding bonds issued to finance mortgages of owner-occupied residences pursuant to applicable law in effect prior to enactment of section 143(a) or section 143(b).

(6) Proceeds means “proceeds” as defined in § 1.141-1(b), except that it does not include disposition proceeds.

(7) Project generally means one or more capital projects or facilities, including land, buildings, equipment, and other property, to be financed with an issue, that are located on the same site, or adjacent or proximate sites used for similar purposes, and that are subject to the public approval requirement of section 147(f). Capital projects or facilities that are not located on the same site or adjacent or proximate sites may be treated as one project if those capital projects or facilities are used in an integrated operation. For an issue of mortgage revenue bonds or an issue of qualified student loan bonds as defined in section 144(b), the term project means the mortgage loans or qualified student loans to be financed with the proceeds of the issue. For an issue of qualified 501(c)(3) bonds as defined in section 145, the term project means a project as defined in the first sentence of this definition, and also is deemed to include working capital expenditures to be financed with proceeds of the issue.

(8) Public approval information is defined in paragraph (f)(6)(i) of this section.

(9) Public hearing is defined in paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

(10) Reasonable public notice is defined in paragraph (d)(4) of this section.

(11) Voter referendum means a vote by the voters of the affected governmental unit conducted in the same manner and time as voter referenda on matters relating to governmental spending or bond issuances by the governmental unit under applicable State and local law.

(h) Applicability date. This section applies to bonds issued pursuant to a public approval occurring on or after April 1, 2019. For bonds issued pursuant to a public approval occurring before April 1, 2019, see § 5f.103-2 as contained in 26 CFR part 5f, revised as of April 1, 2018. In addition, an issuer may apply the provisions of paragraph (f)(6) of this section in whole, but not in part, to bonds issued pursuant to a public approval occurring before April 1, 2019.

[T.D. 9845, 83 FR 67690, Dec. 31, 2018]

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