Are Individual Investors Tax Savvy? Evidence from Retail and Discount Brokerage Accounts
Posted: 15 Apr 2004
Using brokerage account data, we analyze the tax awareness of individual investors. We find strong evidence that taxes matter: investors prefer to locate bonds and mutual funds in retirement accounts and, in December, harvest stock losses in their taxable accounts. However, investors also trade actively in their taxable accounts, realize gains more frequently than losses, and locate a material portion of their bonds in taxable accounts. Though taxes leave clear footprints in the data we analyze, many investors could improve their after-tax performance by fully capitalizing on the tax avoidance strategies available to equities, while optimally locating their assets.
Keywords: Aasset location, asset allocation, portfolio choice, taxation
JEL Classification: G11, H2, H31
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