ETN Tax Update

December 03, 2007

The ETN tax war is heating up, with the ICI on one side and the rest of the investment community on the other.

David Hoffman over at Investment News has a great article today detailing the "he said, she said" nature of the debate. 

The Investment Company Institute (ICI) ... surprise, surprise ... is leading the charge against ETNs receiving favorable tax treatment. ICI CEO Paul Schott Stevens apparently wrote a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee asking them to enact new legislation that would put ETNs on par with ETFs tax-wise.

Meanwhile, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association of New York and Washington (SIFMA) is standing up for ETNs. SIFMA sent a letter to the Ways and Means committee protesting any change, saying ETNs are different than ETFs and should be taxed following the law.

Me? I just want clarity. Both the ICI and SIFMA argue that their proposals are in the best interests of investors, but the constituencies of both groups are financial institutions, not investors, and their arguments augur for their constituencies. What investors need is clarity so they can make smart decisions.

Hence my private letter request to the IRS asking for clarity on the topic. Speaking of which, I do have an update: I got a letter from the IRS last week saying they had received my request and were processing it. More importantly, they cashed my $625.00 check on November 26, which means (to my mind) that they owe me an answer.

Meanwhile, I'm losing money on both of my (one share) ETN investments. DJP is down about 70 cents since I bought it and ERO is down 57, making me the only man in American to lose money betting on the euro this year. What luck ...

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