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What ASX shares should you invest in if franking credits disappear?

If polls and policies progress to expectations then Labor appears on course to win the next Federal election and has pledged to remove franking credit refunds, back to how the dividend imputation rules used to be. Different types of ASX shares could be the answer to this change.

Although the tax effectiveness of franking credits will be reduced, it will still reduce the tax owed. It’s not as if franking credits will be completely removed.

However, if you rely on those franking credits then it may be worth considering what your options are.

The same shares may still be the best

Even without franking credit refund, many ASX companies still pay very attractive dividend yields. The National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) yield may be reduced from 11.7% to 8.2% but that’s still better than term deposits, bonds or residential property yields.

It’s quite likely that some investments, such as listed investment companies (LICs), may change their structures to a trust to adapt.

Invest in existing trusts

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) and listed investment trusts (LIT) both offer yield options that don’t attach franking credits.

Two of my favoured REITs include Arena REIT No 1 (ASX: ARF) and National Storage REIT (ASX: NSR) which both offer yields above 5%.

There are several quality investment funds out there that aim to pay a specified yield to investors each year such as Magellan Global Trust (ASX: MGG).

Invest in overseas shares

Franking credits only apply to Australian shares. If you invest in overseas shares then you don’t have to worry about losing franking credits.

However, directly investing in overseas shares may be too challenging, so you could just invest in internationally-focused ETFs like Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF (ASX: VGS) and iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV).

Invest in growth and sell

The final tactic could be to take a leaf out of Berkshire Hathaway’s book. Simply invest in growth shares and sell a small portion of the shares to generate the cash you need. If you don’t need the cash then you can let the shares keep going up in value until you do need it.

Foolish takeaway

I’d do a combination of the above ideas to adjust to new franking credit laws if they come into effect. There are plenty of quality income ideas on the ASX without focusing on franking credits alone.

Indeed, two of these top ASX shares perfectly fit some of the investment strategies I suggested to overcome the franking credit problem.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of ARENA REIT STAPLED and MAGLOBTRST UNITS. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended National Storage REIT and Vanguard MSCI Index International Shares ETF. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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