Real Estate Investment Trust
intu has been a UK Real Estate Investment Trust (’REIT’) since 1 January 2007
A REIT is a UK company or group that invests in property and enjoys a measure of protection from corporation tax in return for an obligation to distribute a significant amount of the REIT’s cash flows to shareholders.
As a REIT, intu doesn’t pay UK direct taxes on the income and capital gains from its qualifying UK property rental business (the ‘Tax Exempt Business‘).
One requirement of the REIT regime is that a REIT must distribute to shareholders by way of a dividend at least 90% of taxable profits from its Tax Exempt Business in the form of a Property Income Distribution (’PID‘) each accounting period. Intu may chose to designate any additional dividend above the 90% minimum PID as either a PID or an ordinary dividend (’non-PID‘).
Shareholders should note that the tax treatment of PID and non-PID dividends differs. Profits distributed as PIDs have not been taxed in the Company and therefore are potentially fully taxable (for UK tax purposes) in shareholders hands as property letting income. PIDs are subject to the deduction of a UK withholding tax, described below. Any non-PID dividends will be treated in the same way as dividends paid by non-REIT UK companies.
Subject to limited exceptions, Intu is required to withhold tax at source from its PIDs at the UK basic rate of income tax (which has been 20% since 6 April 2008).
UK resident shareholders: UK resident shareholders need only take action if they qualify for exemption from the REIT UK withholding tax (as described below). Shareholders will receive with each dividend payment a tax deduction certificate stating the amount of tax deducted.
UK shareholders who fall into one of the classes of shareholder able to claim an exemption from withholding tax may be able to receive a gross PID payment if they have submitted a valid relevant Exemption Declaration form (downloadable from this page)(either as a beneficial owner of the shares, or as an intermediary if the shares are not registered in the name of the beneficial owner) to Intu’s registrars, Link Asset Services, for the attention of Julie Hellen, Client Services, Link Asset Services, 6th Floor, 65 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7NQ by the deadline stated in the dividend timetable. Examples of such classes are:
- UK Companies
- Local Authorities
- UK Pension Schemes
- Managers of PEPs, ISAs and Child Trust Funds
A valid declaration form, once submitted, will continue to apply to future payments of PIDs until rescinded, and so it is a shareholder’s responsibility to notify Intu if their circumstances change and they are no longer able to claim an exemption from withholding tax.
South African resident shareholders: South African resident shareholders (’SA shareholders’) should note that exemption declarations in respect of the UK withholding tax are not valid if made in respect of shares held on the South African register.
Recent changes to South African taxation
Recent changes in SA tax regulations created some uncertainty as to the SA tax treatment of PIDs and non-PIDs, whether paid in cash or, under the Scrip Dividend Scheme , as shares. The main relevant changes have been:
- The definition of ‘foreign dividend’ for income tax and Dividends Tax purposes;
- Capital gains tax base cost of shares issued under the scrip dividend scheme; and
- Introduction of the new SA Dividends Tax for dividends paid after 1 April 2012.
Guidelines reflecting Intu’s current understanding of the applicable tax treatments are given below. However, SA shareholders are advised to contact their own tax adviser or the South African Revenue Service (”SARS”) to confirm the current tax treatment of PIDs and non-PIDs . The SARS website contains full contact and other useful information.
Non-PIDS paid in cash to SA shareholders constitute a foreign dividend and, since 1 April 2012, have been subject to SA Dividends Tax (at 15%) for non-exempt shareholders, but are exempt from South African income tax.
PIDs paid in cash to SA shareholders constitute a foreign dividend and are exempt from South African income tax. PIDs paid in cash since 1 April 2012 would normally have been subject to the new Dividends Tax, but the liability is offset as described below.
As stated above, a 20% UK withholding tax is deducted from PIDs. SA shareholders may be entitled (under the provisions of the UK/South African double tax treaty) on application, either as an individual or as a company, to a part refund of the UK withholding tax from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (’HMRC’) to the extent that it exceeds the treaty rate, currently 15%. Refunds of the UK withholding tax are not claimable from either intu or SARS, only from HMRC (see ‘HMRC Refund Applications for UK withholding tax’ below).
Obtaining the 5% refund from HMRC results in an effective UK withholding tax rate of 15% for SA shareholders. For PIDs paid in cash to SA Shareholders since 1 April 2012, the liability to SA Dividend Tax is offset by the 15 per cent withholding tax suffered in the UK, resulting in no Dividend Tax being deducted.
Non-PIDS and PIDs paid in shares under the Scrip Dividend Scheme For guidelines on the anticipated tax treatment of shares received under the Scrip Dividend Scheme, please refer to the Scrip Dividend Booklet, originally published on 7 March 2012 and updated to 5 April 2013, which is available to view or download from the Dividends page.
For PIDs, the share entitlement will be calculated from the net dividend (ie after the deduction of the UK withholding tax).
HMRC refund applications for UK withholding tax Both the HMRC refund application forms and examples of how the forms can be completed (for dividends paid after 1 January 2011) are available for download from the right hand column of this page (guidance for pre 2011 dividends is available on request). Please note that applications for refunds cannot be made before the date of receipt of the dividend payment. Applications may however be made retrospectively in respect of a number of dividends. Only the first application to HMRC requires prior certification by SARS as to the shareholder’s SA tax status; all subsequent applications may be sent directly to HMRC.
Other shareholders resident outside the UK may also be able to claim a refund of the UK withholding tax (either as an individual or as a company) from HMRC subject to the terms of any double tax treaty, if any, between the UK and the country in which the shareholder is resident.
The above is based on Intu’s understanding of current UK and South African tax law and HMRC’s and the South African fiscal authorities’ practice which are subject to change, possibly with retrospective effect. This summary does not constitute advice and Intu does not accept liability for any loss suffered by shareholders as a result of reliance on such contents. Shareholders should seek their own professional advice.
Major corporate shareholders
intu may not, under REIT legislation, make a distribution to any corporate shareholder which is beneficially entitled (directly or indirectly) to 10 per cent. or more of the shares or dividends of the REIT, or if it controls (directly or indirectly) 10 per cent. or more of the voting rights of the REIT, unless the REIT has taken reasonable steps to avoid such a distribution being paid.
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