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Special Report

Morningstar's Tax Relief Week 2016

This year has reminded investors how fickle the market can be. Stocks fall as oil prices skid. Stocks rise after Janet Yellen speaks. Stocks tumble again after weak earnings reports.

Investors in it for the long haul know they can't control the market. They can't control what the Fed does on interest rates, or where oil prices go. They can't control what their fund managers buy and sell--or when they do it.

Instead of fretting about what they can't influence, successful long-term investors control what they can. They watch how much they're spending on their investments, and what trading costs them. They set goals, match their investment allocations to those goals, and remain faithful to their plans. And they consider the toll that taxes can take on their wealth and try to maximize their aftertax kitty.

During Morningstar's Tax Relief Week, we'll share ideas for how to be more tax-savvy with your investments. We'll offer tips for making the most of tax-sheltered accounts, optimizing taxable holdings, finding tax-efficient investments, and crafting tax-aware portfolios. Stay tuned: We'll be updating this page all week with a new set of daily reports.

Our Picks

Benz: My Favorite Funds for IRAs
Whether you're nearing retirement or still accumulating, these Morningstar analyst-approved holdings are great candidates for tax-sheltered accounts.

Top Tax-Managed Funds
These three Morningstar Medalists proactively limit the tax collector's cut and generate solid risk-adjusted returns.

6 Funds for Strong Aftertax Returns in the U.S.
Hint: Tax efficiency is not the right goal.

6 Elite Muni Funds
Morningstar's Beth Foos shares some of our top picks for tax-sensitive investors seeking short-term, longer-term, or high-yield muni funds.

Monday: Your 2016 Tax Checklist

2016 Taxes: What's on Deck for Your Investments
Higher HSA contribution limits, myRA introduction are among bigger tax changes this year.

Your 2016 Tax Fact Sheet and Calendar
A one-stop guide to key facts and important tax dates to remember for 2016.

What You Can Learn From Your 2015 Tax Return
The line items tell you a lot about your investment choices--and what you could do better.

Why No Refund Is Better for Taxpayers
By correcting excessive withholding, taxpayers may be able to avoid credit card debt and refund splurging, and allocate more to retirement accounts throughout the year, says HelloWallet's Aron Szapiro.

Tuesday: Effectively Use Tax-Sheltered Accounts

Benz: My Favorite Funds for IRAs
Whether you're nearing retirement or still accumulating, these Morningstar analyst-approved holdings are great candidates for tax-sheltered accounts.

20 IRA Mistakes to Avoid
From contributions to conversions to distributions, don't fall into these traps.

'Backdoor' Roth IRA May Be Closing for Investors
Those who are interested in this maneuver should be aware of the stumbling blocks and understand that its days are probably numbered.

IRA Tips for 2016
Know what you're eligible for, take advantage of workarounds and recharacterization, and--above all--don't wait until the last minute, says retirement expert Ed Slott.

401(k) Investors: Avoid These 20 Mistakes
While company retirement plans often have guardrails, investors can goof with contributions, investment selections, loans, and withdrawals.

Wednesday: Optimize Taxable Accounts

Top Tax-Managed Funds
These three Morningstar Medalists proactively limit the tax collector's cut and generate solid risk-adjusted returns.

6 Funds for Strong Aftertax Returns in the U.S.
Hint: Tax efficiency is not the right goal. 

Avoid These 10 Traps With Your Taxable Account
Taxable accounts can be useful investing receptacles, but understand the ins and outs for best results.

6 Key Reasons Why Investing in a Taxable Account Is Underrated
Currently low tax rates are one of the key reasons that taxable accounts should be part of most investors' tool kits.

6 Elite Muni Funds
Morningstar's Beth Foos shares some of our top picks for tax-sensitive investors seeking short-term, longer-term, or high-yield muni funds.

Thursday: Build Tax-Efficient Portfolios

4 Best Practices for Building a Tax-Efficient Portfolio
Let your time horizon lead the way, employ tax-efficient equity strategies, make sure not to trigger your own taxable events, and maintain tax diversification throughout retirement, says Morningstar's Christine Benz.

Are You Holding Your Assets in the Right Types of Accounts?
Taking care with asset placement can result in big tax savings.

3 Tax-Efficient 'Bucket' Portfolios for Retirees
Our model portfolios are designed to facilitate in-retirement cash flows--and to limit Uncle Sam's take.

3 Tax-Efficient Retirement-Saver Portfolios
We've designed these portfolios to maximize returns while limiting Uncle Sam's take.

Friday: Save on Taxes in Retirement

Get a Tax-Smart Plan for In-Retirement Withdrawals
Consider these strategies to stretch out your tax savings during your retirement years.

Don't Be Dogmatic About Retirement-Portfolio Withdrawals
In high- (or low-) tax years, retirees may have reason to flout the rules of thumb on withdrawal sequencing.

The Ins and Outs of Social Security Benefits and Taxes
Contributor Mark Miller explains how and why benefits are taxed--and what retirees can do to minimize the tax bite.

How Retirees Can Pay Less in Real Estate Taxes
Contributor John Wasik outlines tax-saving strategies for those staying put and those willing to pull up stakes.

Tax-Saving Strategies for Charitably Inclined Retirees
The now-permanent qualified-charitable-distribution rules allow investors to donate to charity and reduce their tax bills, but that's by no means the only tax-friendly way to donate, says financial-planning expert Michael Kitces.