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About Municipal Bonds

What Are Municipal Bonds?

Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued by states, cities, counties and other governmental entities, which use the money to build schools, highways, hospitals, sewer systems, and many other projects for the public good.

When you purchase a municipal bond, you are lending money to a state or local government entity, which in turn promises to pay you a specified amount of interest (usually paid semiannually) and return the principal to you on a specific maturity date.

Not all municipal bonds offer income exempt from both federal and state taxes. There is an entirely separate market of municipal issues that are taxable at the federal level, but still offer a state—and often local—tax exemption on interest paid to residents of the state of issuance.

Most of this municipal bond information refers to munis which are free of federal taxes. See Taxable Municipal Bonds for more about taxable municipal issues.

 

All information and opinions contained in this publication were produced by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association from our membership and other sources believed by the Association to be accurate and reliable. By providing this general information, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association makes neither a recommendation as to the appropriateness of investing in fixed-income securities nor is it providing any specific investment advice for any particular investor. Due to rapidly changing market conditions and the complexity of investment decisions, supplemental information and sources may be required to make informed investment decisions.