Mutual fund tax guides vary, but the Forbes mutual fund tax guide contains information about fund structure, distribution treatment and reinvestment strategies, reports Forbes. Mutual funds are investment options that allow contributors to pool their money with other investors to purchase a collection of securities, notes Fidelity.
Mutual funds have a pass-through structure, meaning that earnings flow through to the investors. Earnings are in the form of capital gains, interest or dividends, states Forbes. The amounts that pass through are known as distributions, and the original investors pay taxes on the distributions. If the mutual fund experiences long-term gains, the investors pay long-term capital gains tax on the distributions.
Unlike earnings, loss distributions do not pass through to the fund owners or investors, explains Forbes. A fund loss accumulates until it can offset fund gains, offering no immediate tax advantage. In addition, if a fund experiences a tax-exempt gain, this gain is tax-exempt to the fund owner or contributor.
Reinvesting earnings into a mutual fund impacts cost basis. In addition, reinvesting leads to multiple purchases. This structure creates complications when selling fund shares. The Forbes Mutual Fund Tax Guide states the benefits of sending distributions to a money market account to prevent this complexity.