Taxes Matter: Don’t Pay More Than You Need To
The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing.
— Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French Minister of Finances
Taxes help make possible many good things in society, but few of us want to pay the government more than our fair share…, especially by accident. Many investment mistakes can cost you unnecessary taxes, but there are several areas where smart tax strategies can make a big difference.
Tax-loss harvesting involves selling securities, usually at year-end, to realize portfolio losses, which you can use to offset any capital gains in your portfolio and therefore lower personal tax liability.
What you are invested in can also have a tax impact. The portfolio turnover and volume of trading of many active mutual funds can result in more capital gains taxes than index or asset class funds.
Finally, asset location is a tax minimization strategy that is based on the different tax treatments of various types of investments. Using this strategy, an investor determines which securities should be held in tax-deferred accounts and which securities should be held in taxable accounts in order to maximize after-tax returns. Everyone’s situation is different, and tax minimization is something you should consult with your financial advisor on.