Shareholders know that that taxes have a negative impact on their funds’ returns but a new survey suggests that most of them are in the dark when it comes to knowing how to minimize the tax bite on their returns.

The survey, released today by Eaton Vance Corp., shows that 73% of the investors polled in the survey said that taxes have an important effect on stock funds’ returns, yet only 30% were aware that the Securities and Exchange Commission had enacted a new rule requiring funds to disclose after-tax returns.

Moreover, 27% of investors are unfamiliar with the term "tax efficiency" as it relates to investments and 42% of investors said that their adviser rarely or never discusses the tax implications of their investments.

"It is noteworthy that tax awareness does not seem to have increased in the past year despite the new SEC disclosure requirement, which goes fully into effect this month," said Duncan Richardson, chief equity investment officer with Eaton Vance, in a statement.

The new survey suggests that investors’ ignorance of the tax aspects of investing are related to their sentiments toward paying taxes. Nearly 57% of respondents think paying taxes is worse than going to the dentist and 74% would rather visit prospective in-laws before paying taxes, according to the survey.

The study was conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Inc. It surveyed investors in qualified retirement plans, stock and bond funds, variable annuities, money market funds and stocks and bonds.

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