Industrial Revenue Bonds

Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) provide a source of tax-exempt or taxable bond finance for projects involving significant private activity that promote new and existing businesses, encourage employment, and expand the tax base of a community. IRBs are issued by Industrial Development Corporations sponsored by a government unit, but their proceeds are passed on to private businesses, which are generally responsible for debt service payment.

Who Can Apply?

Industrial Development Corporations (IDCs) or equivalent bodies whose creation by cities, counties or conservation and reclamation districts is authorized by the Development Corporation Act of 1979. IDC’s must issue IRBs on behalf of a city, county or conservation and reclamation district for the benefit of private companies for eligible projects within their jurisdiction. Another governmental unit outside of the IDC’s jurisdiction may request the IDC to issue bonds on its behalf.

Type of Incentive

Tax-exempt or taxable bonds issued on behalf of private companies for eligible projects, as defined in the Development Corporation Act of 1979. Generally, the bond debt service is paid by the private company under the terms of a lease, sale, or loan agreement. As such, the bonds do not constitute debts of or obligations of the sponsoring governmental unit, the IDC, or the State of Texas, except for Sales Tax Bonds.

There are 5 types of IRBs available:

  1. Tax-Exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds for Manufacturing Projects: Issued to finance land and depreciable property for manufacturing facilities. An annual lottery is held for volume cap allocation.
    • Maximum Issue Amount: $10,000,000
    • Maximum Project Capital Expenditure: $20,000,000
    • Subject to State Volume Cap? Yes
  2. Exempt-Facility Bonds: Issued to finance certain facilities such as airports, dock and wharf facilities, mass commuting facilities, high-speed inter-city rail facilities, or certain qualified hazardous waste facilities. Facility must be governmentally owned, but may be leased or subject to management contracts with business.
    • Maximum Issue Amount: No limit
    • Maximum Project Capital Expenditure: No Limit
    • Subject to State Volume Cap? Depends on facility type
  3. Taxable Industrial Revenue Bonds:
    • Maximum Issue Amount: No limit
    • Maximum Project Capital Expenditure: No limit
    • Subject to State Volume Cap? No
  4. Sales Tax Bonds: Bonds are available only to those cities which have adopted an economic development sales and use tax.
  5. Empowerment Zone Bonds: Bonds are allowable only for projects located in federally designated empowerment zones or enterprise communities.

Eligibility Details

Please refer to the Development Corporation Act for definitions of eligible projects and eligible costs associated with those projects.

The issuance of bonds is governed by the state and federal law, and qualified bond counsel should be consulted on all potential IRB issuances.

Application

With a rolling application period, we recommend contacting the Texas Bond Review Board to determine whether the state has remaining funds available under its tax-exempt volume caps.

The process for issuing an IRB is generally as follows:

  1. Project applications are made directly to a local IDC or equivalent entity, who’s Board of Directors considers the project.
  2. If the project is deemed eligible according the Development Corporation Act, Chapter 501, Texas Local Government Code, a Declaration of Official Intent (tax-exempt only) is passed by the IDC or equivalent entity’s Board of Directors.
  3. If issuing tax-exempt bonds whose total statewide issuance is subject to a calendar year dollar cap, the IDC or equivalent entity submits an application to the Bond Review Board for review.
  4. Bond documents are negotiated among counsels for the business, the IDC or equivalent entity, and the bond purchaser.
  5. A public hears is held regarding the project.
  6. A bond resolution is passed by the IDC or equivalent body. The bond resolution authorizes the project and the principal amount of the bonds, and makes findings regarding the project as required by the state and federal law.
  7. After the IDC or equivalent body passes the bond resolution, the sponsoring governmental unit reviews the resolution and passes a unit resolution that among other things approves the IDC’s resolution
  8. Bond counsel prepares and submits an IRB application to the Office of the Attorney General and, if applicable, to the Governor’s Office.
  9. Upon approval by the Office the Attorney General and, if applicable, the Governor’s Office, the bonds are closed, issued and delivered.

Program Documents

Chapter 501, Development Corporation Act

Bond Financing Options

IRB Administrative Rules