Tax-Aware Investing: Further Reading

 

Journal Article

When Fortune Doesn’t Favor the Bold: Perils of Volatility for Wealth Growth and Preservation

Entrepreneurs and executives holding much of their wealth in a highly appreciated single stock face either the high risk of idiosyncratic volatility and potentially catastrophic losses, or selling stock and facing an immediate, punitive tax burden. This paper evaluates this choice and explains how it relates to classic betting strategies and economic theory, finding tax-efficient techniques might strike the balance between the urgency to diversify concentrated risk and aversion to taxes.

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Journal Article

The Tax Benefits of Direct Indexing: Not a One-Size-Fits-All Formula

An investor holding a direct indexing portfolio can obtain tax benefits by harvesting losses on individual stock positions. We show that investors with allocations to hedge funds and derivatives are the most likely category of investors to have systematic short-term capital gains in their portfolios and, therefore, benefit the most from losses harvested by direct-indexing strategies. We show how tax benefits are affected by equalizing the tax rate applicable to long-term and short-term capital gains.

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Journal Article

Limitation on Trader Fund Losses under the CARES Act of 2020

We explain how hedge fund investors might be affected by a limitation on excess business losses codified in recent tax legislation. In order to allocate business losses a hedge fund now must be a trader fund. After explaining the relationship between hedge fund losses and business losses, we illustrate with simple examples how the new provisions may affect hedge fund investors.

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Journal Article

Integration of Income and Estate Tax Planning

Preservation and transfer of wealth to future generations is one of the central financial goals for most high-net-worth families. We show that a family that invests with income and estate tax efficiency in mind can achieve substantially higher wealth levels than a family oblivious to taxes.

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White Paper

Understanding a Tax-Aware Defensive Equity Long-Short Strategy

We describe a hypothetical Tax-Aware Defensive Equity Long-Short strategy, including its construction and pre-tax and after-tax performance. The strategy closely replicates the pre-tax performance of a similar hypothetical tax-agnostic strategy and has the potential to achieve a meaningful tax benefit for a taxable investor.

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Journal Article

Tax-Efficient Portfolio Transition: A Tax-Aware Relaxed-Constraint Approach to Switching Equity Managers

For a taxable investor with a highly appreciated equity portfolio, replacing the portfolio manager is likely to trigger substantial tax liabilities. We find that a tax-aware relaxed-constraint post-transition strategy significantly outperforms a traditional tax-agnostic long-only strategy in its ability to preserve and grow the investors after-tax wealth over the long term.

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Journal Article

Partnership Allocations and Their Effects on Tax-Aware Fund Investors

We discuss certain accounting principles relevant for investors in tax-aware funds structured as limited partnerships. We present a simple stylized model that illustrates that under such accounting principles new investors do not materially suffer from unrealized gains accumulated in a tax-aware fund.

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Journal Article

Should Taxable Investors Shun Dividends?

We evaluate the tax benefit of dividend avoidance for quantitative multi-style strategies and find that dividend avoidance generally reduces implementation efficiency, thus lowering expected pre-tax returns.

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Working Paper

How Tax Efficient Are Equity Styles?

We explore the after-tax performance, tax exposure and tax efficiency of commonly used equity-style portfolios. We focus on equity styles based on size, value, growth and momentum, well known within the cross-sectional return landscape.

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This document has been provided to you solely for information purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer or any advice or recommendation to purchase any securities or other financial instruments and may not be construed as such. The factual information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author and AQR Capital Management, LLC (“AQR”) to be reliable but it is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to its accuracy and is not to be regarded as a representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness, nor should the attached information serve as the basis of any investment decision. This document is intended exclusively for the use of the person to whom it has been delivered by AQR, and it is not to be reproduced or redistributed to any other person. The information set forth herein has been provided to you as secondary information and should not be the primary source for any investment or allocation decision. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. 

This material is not research and should not be treated as research. This paper does not represent valuation judgments with respect to any financial instrument, issuer, security or sector that may be described or referenced herein and does not represent a formal or official view of AQR. The views expressed reflect the current views as of the date hereof and neither the author nor AQR undertakes to advise you of any changes in the views expressed herein. 

The information contained herein is only as current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. Charts and graphs provided herein are for illustrative purposes only. The information in this presentation has been developed internally and/or obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, neither AQR nor the author guarantees the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of such information. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice nor is it to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. There can be no assurance that an investment strategy will be successful. Historic market trends are not reliable indicators of actual future market behavior or future performance of any particular investment which may differ materially, and should not be relied upon as such. 

The information in this paper may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets, forecasts or expectations regarding the strategies described herein, and is only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or targets will be achieved, and may be significantly different from that shown here. The information in this document, including statements concerning financial market trends, is based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. 

 

Risks of Tax Aware Strategies

This list is not exhaustive; there are numerous advantages and risks associated with our Tax Aware Strategies that are not fully discussed here.

Underperformance of pretax returns: tax-aware strategies are investment strategies with the associated risk of pretax returns meaningfully underperforming expectations.

Adverse variation in tax benefits: deductible losses and expenses allocated by the strategy may be less than expected.

Lower marginal tax rates: the value of losses and expenses depends on an individual investor’s marginal tax rate, which may be lower than expected for reasons including low Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) due to unexpected losses and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

Inefficient use of allocated losses and expenses: the tax benefit of the strategy may be lower than expected if an investor cannot use the full value of losses and expenses allocated by the strategy to offset gains and income of the same character from other sources. This may occur for a variety of reasons including variation in gains and income realized by other investments, at-risk rules, limitation on excess business losses, or insufficient outside cost basis in the partnership.

Adverse changes in tax law or IRS challenge: the potential tax benefit of the strategy may be lessened or eliminated prospectively by changes in tax law or retrospectively by an IRS challenge under current law if conceded or upheld by a court. In the case of an IRS challenge, penalties may apply.