One reason I like investing in publicly traded securities is there is relatively low effort for the transaction or maintaining the investment. However, in the past year, I've learned there are "high maintenance" publicly traded securities, which typically fall into the category of partnerships. Partnerships are intended to avoid the double taxation of corporations, since profits, losses and some deductions are passed through to partners via a schedule K-1. Since a partnership K-1 often generates a need for additional tax forms, filing a tax return becomes more complex and more expensive, if one pays a preparer. In my opinion, this is because the IRS wants to prevent individuals from using partnerships as tax shelters, which would deduct partnership losses against other non partnership income.
Since my tax return is already complicated, I don't want to add unnecessary complexity. Unfortunately, the level of complexity increase is the same for owning one share as it is for owning thousands of shares -- very high. Therefore, I've decided not to purchase any publicly traded partnerships for my portfolio, even though there are some attractive investments, e.g. Blackstone Group, L.P.
The way to identify a partnership is that the company will often, but not always, have the term Partner in their name, or the designation L.P. (limited partner) after the name. In addition, many oil and gas companies are limited partnerships and there are Proshares and Powershares DB ETFs that operate as partnerships. To confirm if a company or ETF is a partnership, I found the list at Tax Package Support very useful.
Hopefully, with this information I will be able to avoid a significant increase in tax complexity for a relatively small investment :-)
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This is not financial, investment or advice. Please consult a professional advisor.