Fifty-eight percent of 500 investors responded that the impact of taxes on their investment returns has increased in importance over the past year.

Built-up gains from prior years, high portfolio turnover and "insensitivity to tax considerations ... created a 'Perfect Storm' that dumped large capital-gains distributions on many unsuspecting shareholders," says Duncan W. Richardson, Eaton Vance's senior vice president and manager of the company's Tax-Managed Growth Fund.

The study also found investors have a limited understanding of investment-related tax issues, with 25% of them not knowing their federal income-tax bracket and 26% unfamiliar with the concept of tax-efficient investing. Sixty percent say mutual fund companies should disclose after-tax returns.

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