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Taxes and Mutual Fund Inflows Around Distribution Dates

Author

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  • Woodrow T. Johnson
  • James M. Poterba

Abstract

Capital gain distributions by mutual funds generate tax liability for taxable shareholders, thereby reducing their after-tax returns. Taxable investors who are considering purchasing fund shares around distribution dates have an incentive to delay their purchase until after the distribution, since this will reduce the present value of their tax liability. Non-taxable shareholders, such as those who invest through IRAs and other tax-deferred accounts, face no such incentive for delaying purchase. This paper compares daily shareholder transactions by taxable and non-taxable investors in the mutual funds of a single no-load fund complex around distribution dates. Gross inflows to taxable accounts are significantly lower in the weeks preceding distribution dates than in the weeks following them, but gross inflows to tax-deferred accounts do not change around these dates. This finding suggests that some taxable shareholders time their purchase of mutual fund shares to avoid the tax acceleration associated with distributions. Taxable shareholders who purchase shares just before distribution dates also have shorter holding periods, on average, than those who buy after a distribution. The cost of the distribution-related tax acceleration for pre-distribution buyers is therefore somewhat less than that for those who buy after the distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Woodrow T. Johnson & James M. Poterba, 2008. "Taxes and Mutual Fund Inflows Around Distribution Dates," NBER Working Papers 13884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13884
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Cappelletti & Giovanni Guazzarotti & Pietro Tommasino, 2013. "Tax deferral and mutual fund inflows: evidence from a quasi-natural experiment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 938, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Md. Shahadath Hossain & A.B.M. Munibur Rahman & Md. Salah Uddin Rajib, 2013. "Dynamics of Mutual Funds in Relation to Stock Market: A Vector Autoregressive Causality Analysis," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 3(1), pages 191-201.
    3. Kamstra, Mark J. & Kramer, Lisa A. & Levi, Maurice D. & Wermers, Russ, 2017. "Seasonal Asset Allocation: Evidence from Mutual Fund Flows," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(01), pages 71-109, February.
    4. Clemens Sialm & Laura Starks, 2012. "Mutual Fund Tax Clienteles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(4), pages 1397-1422, August.
    5. repec:eee:pacfin:v:46:y:2017:i:pb:p:269-291 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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