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Milton Wakschlag Quoted in The Bond Buyer on Call for the IRS to Revoke Favorable Ruling Regarding Total Return Swaps in Municipal Bond Transactions

Firm News | September 22, 2015

Government and Public Finance partner Milton Wakschlag was quoted in an article on former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Mark Scott's letter to the IRS urging the agency to revoke a private letter ruling (PLR) that was favorable for total return swaps (TRS) used in conjunction with municipal bond issuances. In the letter, Scott argued that TRSs are "[arbitrage scheme[s]" that have "resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal tax benefits being stolen." Milton told The Bond Buyer that while Scott wants the ruling rescinded, "the IRS feels strongly about the quality of the guidance it issues in the first place and the process it goes through. In my anecdotal experience, they are not keen on interventions."

Milton added that former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dan Rostenkowski once tried to get one of his PLRs overturned, but did not succeed. "I suspect nothing will happen with this," Milton said, noting that the PLR "seems to have taken longer to be released than the norm," which supports the assumption that the IRS will stand by its position. ("IRS Chief Counsel Blasted for Favorable Ruling on Total Return Swaps," September 21, 2015)

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