Municipal bonds are debt securities issued by or on behalf of state and local governments, their agencies and authorities, and other instrumentalities. The interest income of most municipal issues is exempt from Federal income taxes. Additionally, the interest income of municipal issues of a specific state will generally not be taxable for state income tax purposes for residents of that state.
On a tax-adjusted basis, municipal bonds may offer greater returns than taxable debt sectors, such as Treasuries and corporate bonds, having similar credit ratings and maturities. In addition to providing the potential for attractive tax-adjusted yields, municipal debt generally has high credit quality. During credit-sensitive time periods, such as a recession, municipal debt default frequencies tend to be lower than corporate debt. The potential for higher tax-adjusted yields than corporate bonds and low credit default risk make municipal bonds an attractive asset class.