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Tax-Sensible Administration of Your Muni Portfolio


In “The True Worth of Your Muni Portfolio,” I thought-about other ways of quantifying the investor-specific worth of a taxable portfolio. The market worth is just not appropriate, as a result of liquidating the portfolio would have tax penalties, and due to this fact the liquidation worth could be completely different from the market worth. As a substitute of the market worth, I beneficial the “tax-smart” worth, which is the better of the safety’s after-tax sale worth and maintain worth.

Let’s calculate the tax-smart worth of a 10-year 5% bond bought two years in the past on the worth of 113.3, whose present tax foundation is 111. At this time, with eight years remaining to maturity, the market worth is 106. Sale at 106 would produce a 5-point long-term capital loss and due to this fact a 1-point tax saving at a 20% tax charge, leading to after-tax proceeds from sale of 107. This exceeds the 106 maintain worth, and due to this fact at the moment the tax-smart worth is 107.

Do you have to promote this bond at 106 and understand the 5-point loss, or do you have to proceed holding it?

There are two funding methods: promote and reinvest, or do nothing. In case of a sale, the after-tax proceeds are reinvested in a like 5% 8-year bond, thus the par quantity of your holding would enhance by an element 107/106.

Let’s calculate the tax-smart efficiency of the 2 methods one yr later, below two situations. What if charges decline and the worth will increase from 106 to 110? What if the worth drops to 102?

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The tax-smart portfolio values equivalent to the 2 methods are proven within the accompanying tables. Word that the tax foundation depends upon the technique: Below the do-nothing technique, primarily based on the unique 113.3 buy worth, it’s 109.782. Below the promote and repurchase at 106 technique, it’s 105.352, and the notional quantity of the funding has elevated by an element 107/106. The tax-smart returns, as measured by IRR, rely on the terminal tax-smart portfolio values and the coupon curiosity obtained through the yr.


Situation 1: Value Rises to 110 in Yr 3

Yr 2 Tax-Sensible Worth ($M) Technique In Yr 2 Yr 3 Market Worth ($M) Yr 3 Foundation ($M) Yr 3 Tax-Sensible Worth ($M) Adjusted Semiannual Coupon ($M) Yr 3 Return (%)
107.0 Promote/Reinvest 111.038 106.346 111.038 2.524 8.414
107.0 Do Nothing 110.000 109.782 110.000 2.500 7.426

If the worth will increase to 110, the return primarily based on sale in Yr 2 is 8.414%, and with out sale it’s 7.426%. The roughly 1% distinction is as a result of alternative price of not recognizing the capital loss on the finish of Yr 2 — as soon as the worth will increase, such alternative could also be misplaced perpetually.


Situation 2: Value Falls to 102 in Yr 3

Yr 2 Tax-Sensible Worth ($M) Technique in Yr 2 Yr 3 Market Worth ($M) Yr 3 Foundation ($M) Yr 3 Tax-Sensible Worth ($M) Adjusted Semiannual Coupon ($M) Yr 3 Return (%)
107.0 Promote/Reinvest 102.962 106.346 103.639 2.524 1.589
107.0 Do Nothing 102.000 109.782 103.556 2.500 1.466

If the worth declines to 102, the efficiency of the tax-loss promoting technique remains to be barely higher: 1.589% vs. 1.466%. The distinction is partly attributable to the better curiosity revenue from reinvestment below the tax-loss promoting technique, and it additionally depends upon the amortization of the idea equivalent to completely different buy costs.

Realizing a loss and reinvesting has a further profit: It restarts the short-term clock. Lengthy-term losses are deductible at 20%. Quick-term losses, or these incurred in lower than one yr, will be deducted on the a lot increased charge of 40%, offered that there are offsetting short-term features. Assuming such is the case, if the market worth declines to 102, the three.384 loss (106.346-102.962) would lead to 1.354 tax financial savings. The tax-smart terminal worth would enhance to 104.316, and the return to 2.223%, from 1.589%.

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In abstract, tax-smart portfolio valuation alerts alternatives to enhance after-tax efficiency by recognizing losses. It pinpoints promoting alternatives by evaluating after-tax proceeds from sale to carry worth. Sale and reinvestment is especially efficient if the worth subsequently improves, as a result of alternative price related to staying idle. If the worth subsequently declines, restarting the short-term clock gives a chance to acknowledge short-term losses at a excessive efficient tax charge, additional bettering efficiency relative to doing nothing.

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All posts are the opinion of the writer. As such, they shouldn’t be construed as funding recommendation, nor do the opinions expressed essentially replicate the views of CFA Institute or the writer’s employer.

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Andrew Kalotay

Andrew Kalotay is a number one authority on the valuation and administration of municipal bonds. His current focus has been on maximizing the after-tax efficiency of individually managed accounts by dynamic funding and gross sales methods. His agency’s fixed-income analytics are utilized by main asset managers and risk-management platforms. Earlier than establishing Andrew Kalotay Associates in 1990, Kalotay was with Salomon Brothers. Previous to Wall Avenue, he was at Bell Laboratories and AT&T. On the educational aspect, he was the founding director of the graduate monetary engineering program at Polytechnic College (now a part of New York College). He’s a co-author of the CFA Degree II studying, Mounted-Revenue Evaluation. Kalotay holds a BS and MS diploma from Queen’s College and a PhD from the College of Toronto, all in arithmetic. He was inducted into the Mounted-Revenue Analyst Society’s “Corridor of Fame” in 1997.

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