Skip to content
Share:

Five Strategies for Tax-Efficient Investing

Published: September 21, 2020

Five Strategies for Tax-Efficient Investing

Learn several ways to potentially lower your tax bill through tax-efficient investing.

After factoring in federal income and capital gains taxes, the alternative minimum tax, and possible state and local taxes, your investments' returns in any given year may be reduced by 40% or more. Here are five ways to potentially lower your tax bill.1

Consider Tax-Deferred and Tax-Free Accounts

Tax-deferred accounts include employer-sponsored retirement accounts such as traditional 401(k)s and 403(b) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and annuities. In some cases, contributions may be made on a pretax basis or may be tax deductible. More important, investment earnings compound tax deferred until withdrawal, typically in retirement, when you may be in a lower tax bracket. Contributions to nonqualified annuities, Roth IRAs and Roth-style employer-sponsored savings plans are not deductible. Earnings that accumulate in Roth accounts may be withdrawn tax free if you have had the account for at least five years and meet the requirements for a qualified distribution.

Withdrawals prior to age 59½ from a qualified retirement plan, IRA, Roth IRA or annuity may be subject to ordinary income taxes and an additional 10% federal tax. In addition, early withdrawals from annuities may be subject to additional charges by the issuing insurance company.2

Note that, in general, annual withdrawals from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans must begin by April 1 of the year after you reach age 70½. The penalty for not taking the required minimum distribution (RMD) can be steep: 50% of what you should have withdrawn. Withdrawals from Roth IRAs, however, are not required during the owner's lifetime.

Consider Government and Municipal Bonds

Interest on U.S. government issues is subject to federal taxes but is exempt from state taxes. Municipal bond income is generally exempt from federal taxes, and municipal bonds issued in-state may be free of state and local taxes as well. Sold prior to maturity, government and municipal bonds are subject to market fluctuations and may be worth less than the original cost upon redemption.

Look for Tax-Efficient Investments

Tax-managed or tax-efficient investment accounts are managed in ways that can help reduce their taxable distributions. Investment managers can potentially minimize portfolio turnover, invest in stocks that do not pay dividends and selectively sell stocks at a loss to counterbalance taxable gains elsewhere in the portfolio.

Put Losses to Work

You may be able to use losses within your investment portfolio to help offset realized gains. If your losses exceed your gains, you can typically offset up to $3,000 per year of the difference against ordinary income. Any remainder can be carried forward to offset capital gains or income in future years.

Keep Good Records

Maintain records of purchases, sales, distributions, and dividend reinvestments so that you can properly calculate how much you paid for the shares you own and choose the most preferential tax treatment for shares you sell.

Keeping an eye on how taxes can affect your investments is one of the easiest ways you can enhance your returns over time.

Through our partnership with Fellows Financial Group all USSFCU members have access to investment management and financial planning services.

If you are interested in learning more about tax-efficent investing, please contact a Fellows advisor at 703.779.9750 EXT. 3 or simply schedule a time to discuss using the calender link below.

Schedule an Appointment


1This information is general in nature and is not meant as tax advice. Always consult a qualified tax advisor for information as to how taxes may affect your particular situation. 2Before investing, investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of an annuity and its underlying investment options. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer and do not apply to a variable annuity's separate account or its underlying benefits.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Wealthcare Advisory Partners a registered investment advisor. Wealthcare Advisory Partners and Fellows Financial Group, LLC are separate entities from LPL Financial. The LPL Financial Registered Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: CA, CO, DC, GA, FL, HI, IA, MD, MT, NC, OH, PA, VA, TX, WV. Personal and Commercial insurance services are offered through Fellows Insurance Group LLC. Fellows Insurance Group LLC is a separate entity from Fellows Financial Group LLC, LPL Financial and Wealthcare Advisory Partners. 

LPL Financial, Fellows Financial Group LLC, Fellows Insurance Group LLC and Wealthcare Advisory Partners do not offer tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. Investments are not NCUA insured. No credit union guarantee. Investments may lose value. Fellows Financial Group LLC, LPL Financial and Wealthcare Advisory Partners are third party partnerships and are not affiliated with United States Senate Federal Credit Union.

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by DST Systems, Inc. or its sources, neither DST Systems, Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall DST Systems, Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber's or others' use of the content.

© 2019 DST Systems, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited, except by permission. All rights reserved. Not responsible for any errors or omissions.

View all posts

Members' Voice Testimonials

I feel my money is safe, the service has always been top-notch and we've found it easy to use even though I probably haven't set foot in one of the branches in five years. Joining the credit union is one of the smartest things I've done.

USSFCU has been my first banking option for over 40 years - no fee atms - my grands are now members of the credit union and value their credit union membership also.

USSFCU staff continues to be the best and always has my best interest.

The USSFCU has been an important part of my financial situation and has provided outstanding service.

Every experience with USSFCU has been extremely good right from the start. Our main account with USSFCU is a HELOC with zero over prime rate, which is almost unheard of. The customer service has always been excellent. And when we asked for a temporary payment break to navigate and reorient professionally due to the sudden and temporary financial im...

I've always been treated very professionally and the person caring for my financial needs always listened to me and helped me in a way that was not stressful and beneficial to me.

USSFCU has never failed us in its' role of being the best bank ever. All the personnel are professional, friendly, efficient and have more than earned our trust, appreciation and admiration. We admire the way they are constantly evaluating, adapting and growing their services for the benefit of its' members. We are very grateful to have had this im...

Magnificent people, great help during the hard times.

I've been banking here for over 20 years it's the best customer service. Credit card interest rates don't gouge at USSFCU. It's a wonderful place to bank.

Very personable, solution based and takes an interest in your situation.

Provides excellent customer service and this is demonstrated by their great attention to detail. USSFCU provides excellent financial products and professional communication.

I joined in 1975 when I began my 41 year career in the U.S. Senate. It was a family and still is - one to be depended on in times of need and for advice.

The credit union provides relatively good services and the security updates to the system are noticeable.

All of my children and grandchildren have USSFCU accounts now. I really admire USSFCU and its staff completely, they have always looked out for my interests.

Outstanding online and mobile banking services. Professional, Courteous, knowledgeable responsive staff!

I am very satisfied to belong to this institution and whenever I need support it is good to know that I count on you.

This credit union is the best, I love the customer service and you can?t beat the interest rates. And I?m happy to be a member of this great credit union.

Great staff helping all the time. Just a very well run company always good service.

Always good service, especially when I telephone in. I have another credit union where, every time I call in, I have to wait a considerable amount of time before reaching a representative. When I worked on the Hill, it always was a pleasurable experience coming to the credit union office, whether to make a deposit or apply for a loan.

Customer service via the phone is very helpful and easy to accomplish requests.

Care about their clients and concerned about making sure they have the best rates and packages.

Read More testimonials.