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Fund Spy

These Funds Offer You a Break on Taxes

For a change, fund investors have the edge on stock investors.

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We fund investors get the short end of the stick on taxes. Buy a stock and you don't owe taxes until you sell it for a profit. Buy a fund and you could pay taxes long before you sell it. However, one benefit of last year's losses is that funds now have big losses on their books that largely negate that disadvantage.

Many funds have negative capital gains exposure of more than 50%. That means that they would have to appreciate about 50% before they start distributing capital gains. (Technically, it varies based on flows and how tax-savvy the managers are.) Thus, for a change, someone starting out a fund portfolio today has a major advantage over someone beginning a stock portfolio.

Today, most stock funds in the Morningstar 500 have negative potential capital gains exposure of between 10% and 50%, but there are some good ones with even more. The highest of all is  Fidelity Select Electronics (FSELX), with a negative PCGE of 509%.

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Russel Kinnel has a position in the following securities mentioned above: HACAX. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.