Articles (60)


  • Tax Preparation Documents from Your Custodians

    by Index Funds Advisors — Thursday, February 9, 2017

    As we start approaching April 18th, we wanted to keep our clients informed of when their 1099 Composites will be available online at Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and Charles Schwab. The chart below details when ...Read More

  • How To Read Your Form 1099 Composite

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Friday, March 18, 2016

    As we approach tax day (April 18th, 2016), we wanted to take the time to go over the 1099 Forms that have been provided to our clients by Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade. If you haven’t received this ...Read More

  • You vs. Uncle Sam: Taxes & Mutual Fund Performance

    by Tom Allen and Mark Hebner — Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    “It's not brains or brawn that matter in taxable investing; it's efficiency. Taxable investing is a loser's game. Those who lose the least - to taxes and fees - stand to win the most when the game's all ...Read More

  • Tax-Wise Investing - You & Your Investments

    by Mark Hebner — Monday, May 18, 2015

    While “tax season” may imply that there is an optimal time to think about your income taxes, the best way to minimize your annual “pay-triotic duty” is to engage in year-round tax-wise ...Read More

  • Is a Donor Advised Fund Right for You?

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    A donor advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a public charity created to manage charitable contributions on behalf of organizations, families, or individuals. The giver opens an ...Read More

  • Q&A with IFA: ETFs vs. Tax-Managed Funds

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Question: I have heard that exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are more tax-efficient (have lower tax costs) than index mutual funds. For a taxable account, should I prefer to hold ETFs? Answer: There is a widely ...Read More

  • IFA's Use of Tax-Managed Funds

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    For investors with taxable accounts, IFA has long advised the use of tax-managed funds for the purpose of maximizing after-tax returns. Please note that this is not the same goal as minimizing taxes. The five ...Read More

  • When a Negative Is Actually a Positive

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, April 21, 2014

    Last week, BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest money manager released its quarterly earnings report for the first quarter of 2014. Normally, we don’t pay much attention to these things, but ...Read More

  • The Problem of High 401(k) Costs

    by Mark Hebner — Monday, April 14, 2014

    In December of 2012, Demos, a liberal think tank, published The Retirement Savings Drain—The Hidden and Excessive Costs of 401(k)s. It caused quite a stir and provided much of the source material for the ...Read More

  • The Tax Treatment of Investment Management Fees

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, February 20, 2014

    Around this time of the year, we are frequently asked about the tax deductibility of investment management fees. The answer, like most things related to the tax code, is not a simple one. In general, when paid ...Read More

  • The Net Investment Income Tax of the Affordable Care Act

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, December 19, 2013

    At the beginning of 2013, the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax of Obamacare went into effect. It applies to individuals, estates and trusts that have investment income above certain threshold amounts shown in ...Read More

  • The Tax Man Cometh

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Monday, November 11, 2013

    As fiduciaries for wealth, we at Index Fund Advisors are obligated to do everything we can to maximize our client’s after-tax returns. Please note that this is not always the same thing as minimizing ...Read More

  • Some Recent Data on Inflation

    by Mark Hebner and IFA Contributors — Thursday, July 11, 2013

    Anyone who is the least bit familiar with Index Fund Advisors knows that we take a “no forecasting” approach to economic data and its impact on returns. However, when the market itself provides a ...Read More

  • Another Arithmetic Lesson from William Sharpe

    by IFA Contributors — Friday, April 12, 2013

    Nobel Laureate William Sharpe is one of the academic linchpins of IFA’s investment philosophy. A year after winning the Nobel Prize in 1990, he penned a brief and elegant article1 showing that as whole, ...Read More

  • Tax Rates and Stock Returns

    by IFA Contributors — Friday, November 30, 2012

    With all the chatter in the financial media about the impending fiscal cliff, investors cannot be blamed for their confusion. Some investors have expressed a concern that an increase in tax rates may result in ...Read More

  • IFA's Quote of the Week - 48 (Mark Hulbert)

    by Mark Hebner / Mary Brunson — Friday, February 27, 2009

    "It is very hard, if not impossible," he wrote in his study, "to justify active management for most individual, taxable investors, if their goal is to grow wealth." ...Read More

  • IFA's Quote of the Week - 34 (Michael C. Keenan)

    by Mark Hebner / Mary Brunson — Friday, September 12, 2008

    "Fiduciaries should strongly consider index funds as an alternative to actively managed funds. Index funds incur about 80% less in transaction costs than actively managed funds…long-term returns for actively ...Read More

  • IFA's Quote of the Week - 19 (Michael C. Keenan)

    by Mark Hebner / Mary Brunson — Monday, May 12, 2008

    "Fiduciaries should strongly consider index funds as an alternative to actively managed funds. Index funds incur about 80% less in transaction costs than actively managed funds…long-term returns for actively ...Read More

  • IFA's Quote of the Week - 16 (George Miller)

    by Mark Hebner / Mary Brunson — Monday, April 21, 2008

    "Many 401(k)-style plans charge hidden fees that can cut deeply into worker's retirement savings, and many plan participants do not have access to low-cost investment options--index funds--that can help them ...Read More

  • IFA's Quote of the Week - 6 (Mark T. Hebner)

    by Mark Hebner / Mary Brunson — Monday, February 11, 2008

    As tax reporting documents trickle in and investors ponder their current tax situation, it's a good opportunity to give you some insight into a powerful tax-savings tool called tax loss harvesting. In fact, ...Read More

  • ETF Tax Efficiency and Swapping Strategies

    by J.D. Steinhilber — Wednesday, November 20, 2002

    Exchange-traded funds are inherently more tax efficient than actively managed mutual funds, which have been rightly criticized for their tax-inefficiency. Tax-efficiency is a critical issue for advisors and ...Read More

  • John Spence

    ETF Experts Look at Tax Efficiency

    by John Spence — Tuesday, May 7, 2002

    One of the most compelling reasons for investing in exchange-traded funds is their potential heightened tax efficiency relative to traditional index mutual funds. Although most ETFs have a relatively short ...Read More

  • No Entry or Exit Fees: Another advantage of ETFs

    by Richard Evans — Thursday, April 11, 2002

    Some critics of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) say you can get the same cost and tax advantages by using conventional index funds, especially at Vanguard. Long the king of index funds, Vanguard has about 24 of ...Read More

  • New Generation Of Tax Managed Funds

    by Frank Armstrong — Monday, April 8, 2002

    A third generation of tax managed index funds adds dividend management to capital gains management, enhancing the already formidable tax advantages that passive funds offer to investors. These new funds take ...Read More

  • Will McClatchy

    Active Fund Trading Costs Remain High

    by Will McClatchy — Tuesday, January 22, 2002

    Many individual investors believe that professionally managed funds have a trading cost advantage over them, but this is not the case. A recent study suggests that smaller volume traders have gained the most ...Read More

  • Tax Loss Selling Using Exchange Traded Funds

    by Russ MacKay — Tuesday, December 11, 2001

    Tax loss selling has been an effective tax management tool used by savvy investors and portfolio managers for years. The concept is quite simple. You sell investment(s) that are in a loss position, and apply ...Read More

  • Jim Wiandt

    ETF Regulatory and Tax Complications

    by Jim Wiandt — Friday, November 9, 2001

    Many of the early developers of ETFs say that it took a miraculous convergence of determination and circumstance to ultimately garner the approval of the SEC and get the new products off the ground. The basic ...Read More

  • Savings on Capital Gains Ease Losses

    by Adrienne Pauly — Monday, April 9, 2001

    Many index fund investors can take some comfort this tax season that they are not paying capital gains on funds reflecting lost value. Both Barclays Global Investors and the Vanguard Group report they have not ...Read More

  • Mutual Fund Tax Bite Can Be Bigger Than Bark

    by Christian Chensvold — Monday, April 2, 2001

    April 16 is nearly upon us. In honor of tax season, we're running an article series to help investors understand how mutual funds are taxed. In this first installment, we examine the basics with a general ...Read More

  • Proposed Law to Defer Capital Gains on Funds

    by Jim Novakoff — Thursday, September 14, 2000

    Representative Jim Saxton, a New Jersey Republican and Chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, has introduced significant legislation addressing the taxation of mutual funds. The proposed law, ...Read More

  • And the Rich Get Richer

    by Charles Clawson — Friday, July 28, 2000

    Vanguard, the leader in low-fee investment funds, announced Wednesday it will offer a price break on expenses for its long-term investors and those with big money accounts. The new "Admiral" share class could ...Read More

  • Comparing Different Tax Sheltered Investment Accounts

    by Staff — Wednesday, April 19, 2000

    Investors have a variety of options when looking to invest their money in tax-sheltered retirement accounts. For investors with more limited income, the traditional IRA allows for an immediate tax deductions. ...Read More

  • Jim Wiandt

    Tax Sheltering Index Funds

    by Jim Wiandt — Wednesday, April 19, 2000

    While it may seem counterintuitive, your retirement fund may well be the best place to hold the riskier end of your ...Read More

  • Vanguard Lowers but Still Defends Entry Fees

    by Staff — Monday, March 1, 1999

    VALLEY FORGE, PENN. - Index fund giant Vanguard Group lowered entry fees for a mid-cap and two small-cap funds. The Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund removed its .25% entry fee entirely, while the Small-Cap Growth ...Read More