Monday, June 7, 2010

I.R.S. statements cast pall over BAB market

Concerns have risen following a series of statements from the I.R.S. suggesting that federal interest-rate subsidies could be lost or diminished on more than $100 billion worth of Build America Bonds, or BABs, that certain states and cities have already sold.

Although BABs have been extremely popular in the municipal bond market since their introduction in April 2009, concerns over I.R.S. audits and subsequent reductions of federal subsidies are expected to cause considerable concern over the continued issuance of such bonds.

Issuers of BABs will likely consider the risk to their credit that the uncertainty of federal subsidies carries. The I.R.S., which at one point claimed would audit up to half of all issued bonds, is currently in a research phase, preparing to determine the extent of future audits.