New legislation to be introduced to address the mismatch in respect of the taxation of foreign dividends received by REITs: A disincentive for REITs to invest offshore?

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By Jerome Brink and Aubrey Mazibuko

In essence, real estate investment trusts (REITs) are treated as conduits through which the income they derive, flows to their shareholders. The main advantage of a REIT is therefore that a deduction of the distribution made by the REIT to its shareholders may be claimed against its income provided that it is a qualifying distribution. By nature, REITs distribute most of their income to their shareholders and will usually pay little or no income tax on the distributions, instead shareholders will be liable to pay income tax on the distributions received from REITs. REITs are, however, taxed on the taxable income they retain at the standard corporate tax rate.

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