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How ETFs Can Reduce Your Tax Bill

At the end of the year, many mutual fund companies distribute capital gains to shareholders. This causes a taxable event right at the end of the year and in some cases can be an unwelcome and costly surprise when it comes to tax time. Note: if you only have an IRA or Roth, you’re off the hook – this taxable event only applies to investors with individual, joint or trust accounts.

This year, we have seen some funds projecting capital gains that are as high as 11% of the value of the fund. If you had a $100,000 position in a fund that issued a capital gain of 10%, that would be a $10,000 capital gain. If taxed at 15%, you can expect to pay an extra $1500 in taxes.

In a lot of cases – this is unavoidable. Investors could face a much bigger tax bill if they sold out of the fund as they may have large capital gains as a result of holding the fund for many years. Either way, the investor is likely have to pay an unexpected tax.

That begs the question – how can investors build portfolios to minimize the pain of capital gains distributed by the fund company. One answer involves the use of passively managed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) which tend to be much more tax efficient than mutual funds. posted a good article that helps to explain why ETFs can help avoid the unpredictability of capital gain distributions.

View the article on

Too late for this year, but contact us if you’re interested in how ETFs could help reduce your future tax bills.