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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Title 26: Internal Revenue
§1.141-5 Private loan financing test.
(a) In general. Bonds of an issue are private activity bonds if more than the lesser of 5 percent or $5 million of the proceeds of the issue is to be used (directly or indirectly) to make or finance loans to persons other than governmental persons. Section 1.141-2(d) applies in determining whether the private loan financing test is met. In determining whether the proceeds of an issue are used to make or finance loans, indirect, as well as direct, use of the proceeds is taken into account.
(b) Measurement of test. In determining whether the private loan financing test is met, the amount actually loaned to a nongovernmental person is not discounted to reflect the present value of the loan repayments.
(c) Definition of private loan—(1) In general. Any transaction that is generally characterized as a loan for federal income tax purposes is a loan for purposes of this section. In addition, a loan may arise from the direct lending of bond proceeds or may arise from transactions in which indirect benefits that are the economic equivalent of a loan are conveyed. Thus, the determination of whether a loan is made depends on the substance of a transaction rather than its form. For example, a lease or other contractual arrangement (for example, a management contract or an output contract) may in substance constitute a loan if the arrangement transfers tax ownership of the facility to a nongovernmental person. Similarly, an output contract or a management contract with respect to a financed facility generally is not treated as a loan of proceeds unless the agreement in substance shifts significant burdens and benefits of ownership to the nongovernmental purchaser or manager of the facility.
(2) Application only to purpose investments—(i) In general. A loan may be either a purpose investment or a nonpurpose investment. A loan that is a nonpurpose investment does not cause the private loan financing test to be met. For example, proceeds invested in loans, such as obligations of the United States, during a temporary period, as part of a reasonably required reserve or replacement fund, as part of a refunding escrow, or as part of a minor portion (as each of those terms are defined in §1.148-1 or §1.148-2) are generally not treated as loans under the private loan financing test.
(ii) Certain prepayments treated as loans. Except as otherwise provided, a prepayment for property or services, including a prepayment for property or services that is made after the date that the contract to buy the property or services is entered into, is treated as a loan for purposes of the private loan financing test if a principal purpose for prepaying is to provide a benefit of tax-exempt financing to the seller. A prepayment is not treated as a loan for purposes of the private loan financing test if—
(A) Prepayments on substantially the same terms are made by a substantial percentage of persons who are similarly situated to the issuer but who are not beneficiaries of tax-exempt financing;
(B) The prepayment is made within 90 days of the reasonably expected date of delivery to the issuer of all of the property or services for which the prepayment is made; or
(C) The prepayment meets the requirements of §1.148-1(e)(2)(iii)(A) or (B) (relating to certain prepayments to acquire a supply of natural gas or electricity).
(iii) Customary prepayments. The determination of whether a prepayment satisfies paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(A) of this section is generally made based on all the facts and circumstances. In addition, a prepayment is deemed to satisfy paragraph (c)(2)(ii)(A) of this section if—
(A) The prepayment is made for—
(1) Maintenance, repair, or an extended warranty with respect to personal property (for example, automobiles or electronic equipment); or
(2) Updates or maintenance or support services with respect to computer software; and
(B) The same maintenance, repair, extended warranty, updates or maintenance or support services, as applicable, are regularly provided to nongovernmental persons on the same terms.
(iv) Additional prepayments as permitted by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may, by published guidance, set forth additional circumstances in which a prepayment is not treated as a loan for purposes of the private loan financing test.
(3) Grants—(i) In general. A grant of proceeds is not a loan. Whether a transaction may be treated as a grant or a loan depends on all of the facts and circumstances.
(ii) Tax increment financing—(A) In general. Generally, a grant using proceeds of an issue that is secured by generally applicable taxes attributable to the improvements to be made with the grant is not treated as a loan, unless the grantee makes any impermissible agreements relating to the payment that results in the taxes imposed on that taxpayer not to be treated as generally applicable taxes under §1.141-4(e).
(B) Amount of loan. If a grant is treated as a loan under this paragraph (c)(3), the entire grant is treated as a loan unless the impermissible agreement is limited to a specific portion of the tax. For this purpose, an arrangement with each unrelated grantee is treated as a separate grant.
(4) Hazardous waste remediation bonds. In the case of an issue of hazardous waste remediation bonds, payments from nongovernmental persons that are either users of the site being remediated or persons potentially responsible for disposing of hazardous waste on that site do not establish that the transaction is a loan for purposes of this section. This paragraph (c)(4) applies only if those payments do not secure the payment of principal of, or interest on, the bonds (directly or indirectly), under the terms of the bonds and those payments are not taken into account under the private payment test pursuant to §1.141-4(f)(3).
(d) Tax assessment loan exception—(1) General rule. For purposes of this section, a tax assessment loan that satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (d) is not a loan for purposes of the private loan financing test.
(2) Tax assessment loan defined. A tax assessment loan is a loan that arises when a governmental person permits or requires property owners to finance any governmental tax or assessment of general application for an essential governmental function that satisfies each of the requirements of paragraphs (d) (3) through (5) of this section.
(3) Mandatory tax or other assessment. The tax or assessment must be an enforced contribution that is imposed and collected for the purpose of raising revenue to be used for a specific purpose (that is, to defray the capital cost of an improvement). Taxes and assessments do not include fees for services. The tax or assessment must be imposed pursuant to a state law of general application that can be applied equally to natural persons not acting in a trade or business and persons acting in a trade or business. For this purpose, taxes and assessments that are imposed subject to protest procedures are treated as enforced contributions.
(4) Specific essential governmental function—(i) In general. A mandatory tax or assessment that gives rise to a tax assessment loan must be imposed for one or more specific, essential governmental functions.
(ii) Essential governmental functions. For purposes of paragraph (d) of this section, improvements to utilities and systems that are owned by a governmental person and that are available for use by the general public (such as sidewalks, streets and street-lights; electric, telephone, and cable television systems; sewage treatment and disposal systems; and municipal water facilities) serve essential governmental functions. For other types of facilities, the extent to which the service provided by the facility is customarily performed (and financed with governmental bonds) by governments with general taxing powers is a primary factor in determining whether the facility serves an essential governmental function. For example, parks that are owned by a governmental person and that are available for use by the general public serve an essential governmental function. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (d)(4)(ii), commercial or industrial facilities and improvements to property owned by a nongovernmental person do not serve an essential governmental
function. Permitting installment payments of property taxes or other taxes is not an essential governmental function.
(5) Equal basis requirement—(i) In general. Owners of both business and nonbusiness property benefiting from the financed improvements must be eligible, or required, to make deferred payments of the tax or assessment giving rise to a tax assessment loan on an equal basis (the equal basis requirement). A tax or assessment does not satisfy the equal basis requirement if the terms for payment of the tax or assessment are not the same for all taxed or assessed persons. For example, the equal basis requirement is not met if certain property owners are permitted to pay the tax or assessment over a period of years while others must pay the entire tax or assessment immediately or if only certain property owners are required to prepay the tax or assessment when the property is sold.
(ii) General rule for guarantees. A guarantee of debt service on bonds, or of taxes or assessments, by a person that is treated as a borrower of bond proceeds violates the equal basis requirement if it is reasonable to expect on the date the guarantee is entered into that payments will be made under the guarantee.
(6) Coordination with private business tests. See §§1.141-3 and 1.141-4 for rules for determining whether tax assessment loans cause the bonds financing those loans to be private activity bonds under the private business use and the private security or payment tests.
(e) Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of this section:
Example 1. Turnkey contract not treated as a loan. State agency Z and federal agency H will each contribute to rehabilitate a project owned by Z. H can only provide its funds through a contribution to Z to be used to acquire the rehabilitated project on a turnkey basis from an approved developer. Under H's turnkey program, the developer must own the project while it is rehabilitated. Z issues its notes to provide funds for construction. A portion of the notes will be retired using the H contribution, and the balance of the notes will be retired through the issuance by Z of long-term bonds. Z lends the proceeds of its notes to Developer B as construction financing and transfers title to B for a nominal amount. The conveyance is made on condition that B rehabilitate the property and reconvey it upon completion, with Z retaining the right to force reconveyance if these conditions are not satisfied. B must name Z as an additional insured on all insurance. Upon completion, B must transfer title to the project back to Z at a set price, which price reflects B's costs and profit, not fair market value. Further, this price is adjusted downward to reflect any cost-underruns. For purposes of section 141(c), this transaction does not involve a private loan.
Example 2. Essential government function requirement not met. City D creates a special taxing district consisting of property owned by nongovernmental persons that requires environmental clean-up. D imposes a special tax on each parcel within the district in an amount that is related to the expected environmental clean-up costs of that parcel. The payment of the tax over a 20-year period is treated as a loan by the property owners for purposes of the private loan financing test. The special district issues bonds, acting on behalf of D, that are payable from the special tax levied within the district, and uses the proceeds to pay for the costs of environmental clean-up on the property within the district. The bonds meet the private loan financing test because more than 5 percent of the proceeds of the issue are loaned to nongovernmental persons. The issue does not meet the tax assessment loan exception because the improvements to property owned by a nongovernmental person are not an essential governmental function under section 141(c)(2). The issue also meets the private business tests of section 141(b).
[T.D. 8712, 62 FR 2296, Jan. 16, 1997, as amended by T.D. 9085, 68 FR 45775, Aug. 4, 2003]