Municipal Bonds: An Investment with Tax Breaks! Aug 29, 2019 by Sadia Everybody likes getting something for free, and taxes are no different. Investing in securities like municipal bonds (munis) or municipal bond funds generates tax-free interest income. Here is what you need to know. Advantages of municipal bonds You pay zero federal tax on municipal bond investment income. This makes municipal bonds more attractive than many comparable taxable investments. A municipal bond paying 6 percent to an investor in the 24 percent tax bracket is actually a better investment than a taxable bond paying interest at 7.9 percent, due to the federal income tax break. What’s more, municipal bond income isn’t counted for net investment income tax purposes. So if you are subject to this 3.8 percent surtax, municipal bonds provide an additional tax break to you. And, if the bond is issued by an authority within the state where you reside, it’s also exempt from any state income tax. For these reasons, municipal bonds are a popular investment, especially among retirees, because they are often stable and most bonds carry a relatively low risk. Potential tax consequences But that doesn’t mean there are no potential downsides to municipal bonds. Alternative minimum tax. If you invest in certain private activity bonds — such as some bonds used to finance projects like a stadium — the income may cause alternative minimum tax complications. Capital gains tax. When you sell a municipal bond at a profit, you owe capital gains tax on the sale. For instance, if you buy a bond for $5,000 and sell it for $6,000, you’re still taxed on the $1,000 gain. State tax possibility. If you invest in municipal bonds issued by another state, the interest income is taxable by the state where you reside. Social Security taxes. Municipal bond income could make some of your Social Security benefits taxable. The taxation of Social Security benefits is based on a calculation that specifically includes tax-free municipal bond income. Depending on your situation, up to 85 percent of the Social Security benefits may be taxable. Investing in municipal bonds can provide tax-free, stable income, but you need to understand how the investments fit with your situation to maximize the tax savings. This publication provides summary information regarding the subject matter at time of publishing. Please call with any questions on how this information may impact your situation. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission, except as noted here. This publication includes, or may include, links to third party internet web sites controlled and maintained by others. When accessing these links the user leaves this web page. These links are included solely for the convenience of users and their presence does not constitute any endorsement of the Websites linked or referred to nor does Ijaz & Associates LLC have any control over, or responsibility for, the content of any such Websites. All rights reserved.