ETFs Have Historically Been More Tax-efficient

There’s a favorite saying in personal financing: “It isn’t what you earn, it’s what you keep.” For most taxpayers, the finish of 2016 was a reminder of this knowledge. Those with investments in taxable accounts are now receiving Forms 1099, and some taxpayers may be surprised when they’re hit with a higher tax bill.

You can discuss several planning strategies with clients. All of these have the same overall goal: minimizing fees. Asset location optimization: Probably one of the most effective ways to reduce your client’s goverment tax bill is to apply a tax-efficient investment strategy. This strategy is specially successful when clients have both taxable and tax-advantaged accounts (e.g., a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA). The first step is to identify the taxes efficiency of each holding, which depends upon a variety of factors such as fund turnover, dividend yield, and development assumptions. Tax-managed mutual money, ETFs, and tax-favored assets: If your clients are focused on their unique investment strategy, it’s recommended to explore more tax-efficient method of obtaining similar investment publicity.

For example, some mutual money have tax-managed variations of the same account created with the mandate of restricting the shareholder’s taxes burden by lessening the amount of sales and other taxable events. In other situations, when a client owns a mutual fund that tries to imitate the performance of the stock or bond index (often referred to as index funds), consider whether there can be an ETF alternate.

ETFs have historically been more tax-efficient, because of their creation and redemption system, which allows them to clean out capital increases without requiring distributions. Finally, if litigant is in a high tax bracket and has significant taxable interest income, it may make sense to buy tax-favored assets such as tax-exempt municipal bonds.

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Walking through a tax-equivalent yield calculation can help determine if there is an open windowpane to reap the benefits of this process. Minimize (or even avoid) short-term gains: When critiquing a client’s Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, do you see a sizable amount of short-term gains realized where the timing of the gain was within your client’s control?

Explain to the client that short-term increases are taxed at regular income tax rates, which can be up to 39.6%, plus potentially yet another 3.8% net investment tax on high-income taxpayers and state and local taxes. Were any property sold a couple weeks (or a few months) prior to the end of the calendar year? If so, now may be an chance to discuss how to avoid this practice in the new year.

Rebalancing in tax-advantaged accounts: The primary benefit of rebalancing a portfolio is to control because of its risk and return characteristics. Due to the run-up in the stock market in 2016, many client portfolios were shifted back again to focus on allocations to rebalance their investment combine, which may have led to benefits or income being noticed in taxable accounts. You are able to help your clients relieve the taxes impact of rebalancing by looking at the overall picture, not just specific accounts.