Tax Benefit Potential, Plus Dividends
As income-seeking strategies gain popularity, some investors have opted for master limited partnerships, publicly traded entities that pay no corporate income tax in return for paying out at least 90% of income to investors. The vast majority of MLPs operate in traditionally stable, though perhaps concentrated, industries such as oil and gas transportation, processing and storage. The potentially high dividend yields may be taxed at a lower long-term capital gains tax rate, as opposed to higher income tax rates. Of course, MLPs are not a slam dunk – their growth is often fueled by adding debt, which can hinder these partnerships during periods when credit markets begin to stiffen, impact liquidity in the marketplace, and in cases where MLPs operate in multiple states, it may mean costlier tax implications.
Investors should be aware of unique risks and tax consequences involved with MLPs. Distributions are treated differently than stock dividends. Income distributions received from MLPs are typically reported on a Schedule K-1. Certain MLPs that have operations in multiple states may need to file tax returns within each state, based on income limits. Income limits may also make investments in MLPs inappropriate within retirement accounts. Investors may wish to consult with their tax advisor prior to making an investment decision.
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