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Section 1: 8-K (8-K)

8-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 8-K

 

 

CURRENT REPORT

PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE

SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): March 1, 2019

 

 

WASHINGTON REAL ESTATE

INVESTMENT TRUST

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

MARYLAND   001-06622   53-0261100
(State of incorporation)   (Commission File Number)   (IRS Employer Identification Number)

1775 EYE STREET, NW, SUITE 1000, WASHINGTON, DC 20006

(Address of principal executive office) (Zip code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (202) 774-3200

 

 

Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions:

 

Written communications pursuant to Rule 425 under the Securities Act (17 CFR 230.425)

 

Soliciting material pursuant to Rule 14a-12 under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14a-12)

 

Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 14d-2(b) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14d-2(b))

 

Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 13e-4(c) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.13e-4(c))

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933 (§ 230.405 of this chapter) or Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (§ 240.12b-2 of this chapter).

Emerging growth company  ☐

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

 

 

 


Item 8.01

Other Events.

U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

Washington Real Estate Investment Trust (the “Company”) is filing as Exhibit 99.1 (incorporated by reference herein) a discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to the Company’s qualification and taxation as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and the acquisition, holding, and disposition of the Company’s common shares, preferred shares and depositary shares as well as the Company’s warrants and rights and certain debt securities. The description contained in Exhibit 99.1 to this Form 8-K replaces and supersedes prior descriptions of the U.S. federal income tax treatment of the Company and its securityholders to the extent that they are inconsistent with the description contained in this Form 8-K.

Certain statements in the description of U.S. federal income tax considerations constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” or “potential” or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases which are predictions of or indicate future events or trends and which do not relate solely to historical matters. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of Washington REIT to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to:

 

   

the risks associated with ownership of real estate in general and our real estate assets in particular;

 

   

the economic health of the greater Washington Metro region;

 

   

fluctuations in interest rates;

 

   

reductions in or actual or threatened changes to the timing of federal government spending;

 

   

the risks related to use of third-party providers and joint venture partners;

 

   

the ability to control our operating expenses;

 

   

the economic health of our tenants;

 

   

the supply of competing properties;

 

   

shifts away from brick and mortar stores to e-commerce;


   

the availability and terms of financing and capital and the general volatility of securities markets;

 

   

compliance with applicable laws, including those concerning the environment and access by persons with disabilities;

 

   

terrorist attacks or actions and/or cyber attacks;

 

   

weather conditions and natural disasters;

 

   

ability to maintain key personnel;

 

   

failure to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT and the risks of changes in laws affecting REITs; and

 

   

other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our 2018 Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

While forward-looking statements reflect our good faith beliefs, they are not guarantees of future performance. We undertake no obligation to update our forward-looking statements or risk factors or risk factors to reflect new information, future events, or otherwise.

 

Item 9.01

Financial Statements and Exhibits.

 

(d)

Exhibits

 

Exhibit No.

  

Description

99.1

   Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations


SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.

 

WASHINGTON REAL ESTATE
INVESTMENT TRUST
(Registrant)
By:   /s/ W. Drew Hammond
  (Signature)
  W. Drew Hammond
  Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer

 

March 1, 2019
(Date)
(Back To Top)

Section 2: EX-99.1 (EX-99.1)

EX-99.1

Exhibit 99.1

MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to our qualification and taxation as a real estate investment trust, a “REIT,” and the acquisition, holding, and disposition of (i) our common shares, preferred shares and depositary shares (together with common shares and preferred shares, the “shares”) as well as our warrants and rights, and (ii) certain debt securities that we may offer (together with the shares, the “securities”). For purposes of this discussion, references to “our Company,” “we” and “us” mean only Washington Real Estate Investment Trust and not its subsidiaries or affiliates. This summary is based upon the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (the “Code”), the Treasury Regulations, rulings and other administrative interpretations and practices of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) (including administrative interpretations and practices expressed in private letter rulings, which are binding on the IRS only with respect to the particular taxpayers who requested and received those rulings), and judicial decisions, all as currently in effect, and all of which are subject to differing interpretations or to change, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax consequences described below. We have not sought and will not seek an advance ruling from the IRS regarding any matter discussed in this section. The summary is also based upon the assumption that we will operate the Company and its subsidiaries and affiliated entities in accordance with their applicable organizational documents. This summary is for general information only, and does not purport to discuss all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be important to a particular investor in light of its investment or tax circumstances, or to investors subject to special tax rules, including:

 

   

tax-exempt organizations, except to the extent discussed below in “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Tax-Exempt Shareholders” and “Taxation of Holders of Debt Securities-Tax-Exempt Holders of Debt Securities,”

 

   

broker-dealers,

 

   

non-U.S. corporations, non-U.S. partnerships, non-U.S. trusts, non-U.S. estates, or individuals who are not taxed as citizens or residents of the United States, all of which may be referred to collectively as “non-U.S. persons,” except to the extent discussed below in “—Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders” and “—Taxation of Holders of Debt Securities—Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities,”

 

   

trusts and estates,

 

   

regulated investment companies (“RICs”)

 

   

REITs, financial institutions,

 

   

insurance companies,

 

   

subchapter S corporations,

 

   

foreign (non-U.S. governments),

 


   

persons subject to the alternative minimum tax provisions of the Code,

 

   

persons holding the shares as part of a “hedge,” “straddle,” “conversion,” “synthetic security” or other integrated investment,

 

   

persons holding the shares through a partnership or similar pass-through entity,

 

   

persons with a “functional currency” other than the U.S. dollar,

 

   

persons holding 10% or more (by vote or value) of the beneficial interest in us, except to the extent discussed below,

 

   

persons who do not hold the shares as a “capital asset,” within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code,

 

   

corporations subject to the provisions of Section 7874 of the Code,

 

   

U.S. expatriates, or

 

   

persons otherwise subject to special tax treatment under the Code.

This summary does not address state, local or non-U.S. tax considerations. This summary also does not consider tax considerations that may be relevant with respect to securities we may issue, or selling security holders may sell, other than our shares and certain debt instruments described below. Each time we or selling security holders sell securities, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain specific information about the terms of that sale and may add to, modify or update the discussion below, as appropriate.

Each prospective investor is advised to consult his or her tax advisor to determine the impact of his or her personal tax situation on the anticipated tax consequences of the acquisition, ownership and sale of our shares, warrants, rights and/or debt securities. This includes the U.S. federal, state, local, foreign and other tax considerations of the ownership and sale of our shares, warrants, rights and/or debt securities, and the potential changes in applicable tax laws.

Taxation of the Company as a REIT

We elected to be taxed as a REIT, commencing with our first taxable year ended December 31, 1960. A REIT generally is not subject to U.S. federal income tax on the “REIT taxable income” (generally, taxable income of the REIT subject to specified adjustments, including a deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gain) that it distributes to shareholders, provided that the REIT meets the annual REIT distribution requirement and the other requirements for qualification as a REIT under the Code. We believe that we are organized and have operated, and we intend to continue to operate, in a manner so as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the Code. However, qualification and taxation as a REIT depend upon our ability to meet the various qualification tests imposed under the Code, including (through our actual annual (or in some cases quarterly) operating results) requirements relating to income, asset ownership, distribution

 

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levels and diversity of share ownership. Given the complex nature of the REIT qualification requirements, the ongoing importance of factual determinations and the possibility of future changes in our circumstances, we cannot provide any assurances that we will be organized or operated in a manner so as to satisfy the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Code, or that we will meet such requirements in the future. See “—Failure to Qualify as a REIT.”

The sections of the Code that relate to our qualification and taxation as a REIT are highly technical and complex. This discussion sets forth the material aspects of the Code sections that govern the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a REIT and its shareholders. This summary is qualified in its entirety by the applicable Code provisions, relevant rules and Treasury Regulations, and related administrative and judicial interpretations.

New Tax Reform Legislation Enacted December 22, 2017

On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law H.R. 1, which generally took effect for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. This legislation made many changes to the U.S. federal income tax laws that significantly impact the taxation of individuals, corporations (both non-REIT C corporations as well as corporations that have elected to be taxed as REITs), and the taxation of taxpayers with overseas assets and operations. These changes are generally effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. However, a number of changes that reduce the tax rates applicable to non-corporate taxpayers (including a new 20% deduction for qualified REIT dividends that reduces the effective rate of regular income tax on such income), and also limit the ability of such taxpayers to claim certain deductions, will expire for taxable years beginning after 2025 unless Congress acts to extend them.

These changes impact us and our shareholders in various ways, some of which are adverse relative to prior law, and this summary of material U.S. federal income tax considerations incorporates these changes where material. To date, the IRS has issued only some guidance with respect to certain provisions of the new law. There are numerous interpretive issues and ambiguities that still require guidance and that are not clearly addressed in the legislative history that accompanied H.R. 1 and additional technical corrections legislation is still needed to clarify certain of the new provisions and give proper effect to Congressional intent. There can be no assurance, however, that technical clarifications or other legislative changes that may be needed to prevent unintended or unforeseen tax consequences will be enacted by Congress anytime soon.

Taxation of REITs in General

For each taxable year in which we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our “REIT taxable income” (generally, taxable income subject to specified adjustments, including a deduction for dividends paid and excluding our net capital gain) that is distributed currently to our shareholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” at the corporate and shareholder levels that generally results from an investment in a non-REIT C corporation. A non-REIT C corporation is a corporation that generally is required to pay tax at the corporate level. Double taxation means taxation once at the corporate level when income is earned and once again at the shareholder level when the income is distributed. In general, the income that we generate is taxed only at the shareholder level upon a distribution of dividends to our shareholders.

 

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U.S. shareholders generally will be subject to taxation on dividends distributed by us (other than designated capital gain dividends and “qualified dividend income”) at rates applicable to ordinary income, instead of at lower capital gain rates. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, generally, U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations. Capital gain dividends and qualified dividend income will continue to be subject to a maximum 20% rate.

Any net operating losses, foreign tax credits and other tax attributes of a REIT generally do not pass through to our shareholders, subject to special rules for certain items such as the net capital gain that we recognize.

Even if we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in the following circumstances:

 

  1.

We will be taxed at regular corporate rates on any undistributed “REIT taxable income,” including any undistributed net capital gain. REIT taxable income is the taxable income of the REIT subject to specified adjustments, including a deduction for dividends paid.

 

  2.

If we have (1) net income from the sale or other disposition of “foreclosure property” that is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, or (2) other non-qualifying income from foreclosure property, such income will be subject to tax at the highest corporate rate.

 

  3.

Our net income from “prohibited transactions” will be subject to a 100% tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, other than foreclosure property.

 

  4.

If we fail to satisfy either the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as discussed below, but our failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and we nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because we satisfy specified cure provisions, we will be subject to a 100% tax on an amount equal to (a) the greater of (1) the amount by which we fail the 75% gross income test or (2) the amount by which we fail the 95% gross income test, as the case may be, multiplied by (b) a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

 

  5.

We will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of the required calendar year distribution over the sum of the amounts actually distributed, excess distributions from the preceding tax year and amounts retained for which U.S. federal income tax was paid. The required distribution for each calendar year is equal to the sum of:

 

   

85% of our REIT ordinary income for the year;

 

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95% of our REIT capital gain net income for the year, other than capital gains we elect to retain and pay tax on as described below; and

 

   

any undistributed taxable income from prior taxable years.

 

  6.

We will be subject to a 100% penalty tax on certain rental income we receive when a taxable REIT subsidiary provides services to our tenants, on certain expenses deducted by a taxable REIT subsidiary on payments made to us and, effective for our taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, on income for services rendered to us by a taxable REIT subsidiary, if the arrangements among us, our tenants, and our taxable REIT subsidiaries do not reflect arm’s-length terms.

 

  7.

If we acquire any assets from a non-REIT C corporation in a carry-over basis transaction, we would be liable for corporate income tax, at the highest applicable corporate rate, on the “built-in gain” inherent in those assets if we disposed of those assets within five years after they were acquired. To the extent that assets are transferred to us in a carry-over basis transaction by a partnership in which a non-REIT C corporation owns an interest, we will be subject to this tax in proportion to the non-REIT C corporation’s interest in the partnership. Built-in gain is the amount by which an asset’s fair market value exceeds its adjusted tax basis at the time we acquire the asset. The results described in this paragraph assume that the non-REIT C corporation or partnership transferor will not elect, in lieu of this treatment, to be subject to an immediate tax when the asset is acquired by us.

 

  8.

We may elect to retain and pay U.S. federal income tax on our net long-term capital gain. In that case, a U.S. shareholder would include its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain (to the extent that we make a timely designation of such gain to the shareholder) in its income, would be deemed to have paid the tax we paid on such gain, and would be allowed a credit for its proportionate share of the tax deemed to have been paid, and an adjustment would be made to increase the basis of the U.S. shareholder in our common shares.

 

  9.

If we violate an asset test (other than certain de minimis violations) or other requirements applicable to REITs, as described below, but our failure is due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and we nevertheless maintain our REIT qualification because we satisfy specified cure provisions, we will be subject to a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the amount determined by multiplying the net income generated by such non-qualifying assets by the highest rate of tax applicable to non-REIT C corporations during periods when owning such assets would have caused us to fail the relevant asset test.

 

  10.

If we fail to satisfy a requirement under the Code and the failure would result in the loss of our REIT qualification, other than a failure to satisfy a gross income test or an asset test, as described in paragraph 10 above, but nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because the requirements of certain relief provisions are satisfied, we will be subject to a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure.

 

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  11.

If we fail to comply with the requirement to send annual letters to our shareholders requesting information regarding the actual ownership of our shares and the failure was not due to reasonable cause or was due to willful neglect, we will be subject to a $25,000 penalty or, if the failure is intentional, a $50,000 penalty.

 

  12.

The earnings of any subsidiaries that are non-REIT C corporations, including any taxable REIT subsidiaries, are subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax.

Notwithstanding our qualification as a REIT, we and our subsidiaries may be subject to a variety of taxes, including payroll taxes and state, local, and foreign income, property and other taxes on our assets, operations and/or net worth. We could also be subject to tax in situations and on transactions not presently contemplated.

Requirements for Qualification as a REIT

The Code defines a “REIT” as a corporation, trust or association:

 

  (1)

that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;

 

  (2)

that issues transferable shares or transferable certificates to evidence its beneficial ownership;

 

  (3)

that would be taxable as a domestic corporation, but for Sections 856 through 859 of the Code;

 

  (4)

that is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company within the meaning of certain provisions of the Code;

 

  (5)

that is beneficially owned by 100 or more persons;

 

  (6)

not more than 50% in value of the outstanding shares or other beneficial interest of which is owned, actually or constructively, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include certain entities and as determined by applying certain attribution rules) during the last half of each taxable year;

 

  (7)

that makes an election to be a REIT for the current taxable year, or has made such an election for a previous taxable year that has not been revoked or terminated, and that satisfies all relevant filing and other administrative requirements established by the IRS that must be met to elect and maintain REIT status;

 

  (8)

that uses a calendar year for U.S. federal income tax purposes;

 

  (9)

that meets other applicable tests, described below, regarding the nature of its income and assets and the amount of its distributions; and

 

  (10)

that has no earnings and profits from any non-REIT taxable year at the close of any taxable year.

 

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The Code provides that conditions (1), (2), (3) and (4) above must be met during the entire taxable year and condition (5) above must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than 12 months. Conditions (5) and (6) do not apply until after the first taxable year for which an election is made to be taxed as a REIT. Condition (6) must be met during the last half of each taxable year. For purposes of determining share ownership under condition (6) above, a supplemental unemployment compensation benefits plan, a private foundation or a portion of a trust permanently set aside or used exclusively for charitable purposes generally is considered an individual. However, a trust that is a qualified trust under Code Section 401(a) generally is not considered an individual, and beneficiaries of a qualified trust are treated as holding shares of a REIT in proportion to their actuarial interests in the trust for purposes of condition (6) above.

We believe that we have been organized, have operated and have issued sufficient shares of beneficial interest with sufficient diversity of ownership to allow us to satisfy the above conditions. In addition, our declaration of trust contains restrictions regarding the transfer of shares of beneficial interest that are intended to assist us in continuing to satisfy the share ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above. If we fail to satisfy these share ownership requirements, we will fail to qualify as a REIT unless we qualify for certain relief provisions described below under “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT-Relief from Violations; Reasonable Cause.”

To monitor our compliance with condition (6) above, we are generally required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our shares. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of specified percentages of our shares pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the shares (i.e., the persons required to include in gross income the dividends paid by us). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record-keeping requirements. A shareholder that fails or refuses to comply with the demand is required by Treasury Regulations to submit a statement with its tax return disclosing the actual ownership of our stock and other information. If we comply with the record-keeping requirement and we do not know or, exercising reasonable diligence, would not have known of our failure to meet condition (6) above, then we will be treated as having met condition (6) above.

To qualify as a REIT, we cannot have at the end of any taxable year any undistributed earnings and profits that are attributable to a non-REIT taxable year. We elected to be taxed as a REIT beginning with our first taxable year in 1960 and we have not succeeded to any earnings and profits of a regular corporation. Therefore, we do not believe we have had any undistributed non-REIT earnings and profits.

Relief from Violations; Reasonable Cause

The Code provides relief from violations of the REIT gross income requirements, as described below under “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests,” in cases where a violation is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, and other requirements are met, including the payment of a penalty tax that is based upon the magnitude of the violation. In addition, certain provisions of the Code extend similar relief in the case of certain violations

 

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of the REIT asset requirements (see “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests” below) and other REIT requirements, again provided that the violation is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, and other conditions are met, including the payment of a penalty tax. If we did not have reasonable cause for a failure, we would fail to qualify as a REIT. Whether we would have reasonable cause for any such failure cannot be known with certainty, because the determination of whether reasonable cause exists depends on the facts and circumstances at the time and we cannot provide any assurance that we in fact would have reasonable cause for a particular failure or that the IRS would not successfully challenge our view that a failure was due to reasonable cause. Moreover, we may be unable to actually rectify a failure and restore asset test compliance within the required timeframe due to the inability to transfer or otherwise dispose of assets, including as a result of restrictions on transfer imposed by our lenders or undertakings with our co-investors and/or the inability to acquire additional qualifying assets due to transaction risks, access to additional capital or other considerations. If we fail to satisfy any of the various REIT requirements, there can be no assurance that these relief provisions would be available to enable us to maintain our qualification as a REIT, and, if such relief provisions are available, the amount of any resultant penalty tax could be substantial.

Effect of Subsidiary Entities

Ownership of Partnership Interests. In the case of a REIT that is a partner in an entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, Treasury Regulations provide that the REIT is deemed to own its proportionate share of the partnership’s assets, and to earn its proportionate share of the partnership’s income, for purposes of the asset and gross income tests applicable to REITs, as described below. A REIT’s proportionate share of a partnership’s assets and income is based on the REIT’s pro rata share of the capital interests in the partnership. However, solely for purposes of the 10% value test, described below, the determination of a REIT’s interest in the partnership’s assets is based on the REIT’s proportionate interest in the equity and certain debt securities issued by the partnership. In addition, the assets and gross income of the partnership are deemed to retain the same character in the hands of the REIT. Thus, our proportionate share of the assets and items of income of any of our subsidiary partnerships, which include the assets, liabilities, and items of income of any partnership in which our subsidiary partnership holds an interest, are treated as our assets and items of income for purposes of applying the REIT requirements.

Any investment in partnerships involves special tax considerations, including the possibility of a challenge by the IRS of the status of any subsidiary partnership as a partnership, as opposed to an association taxable as a corporation, for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If any of these entities were treated as an association for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it would be taxable as a corporation and therefore could be subject to an entity-level tax on its income. In such a situation, the character of our assets and items of gross income would change and could preclude us from satisfying the REIT asset tests or the gross income tests as discussed in “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests,” and in turn could prevent us from qualifying as a REIT, unless we are eligible for relief from the violation pursuant to relief provisions. See “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Relief from Violations; Reasonable Cause” above, and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests,” “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—

 

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Failure to Qualify as a REIT,” below, for discussion of the effect of failure to satisfy the REIT tests for a taxable year, and of the relief provisions. In addition, any change in the status of any subsidiary partnership for tax purposes might be treated as a taxable event, in which case we could have taxable income that is subject to the REIT distribution requirements without receiving any cash.

Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Congress revised the rules applicable to U.S. federal income tax audits of partnerships (such as certain of our subsidiaries) and the collection of any tax resulting from any such audits or other tax proceedings, generally for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. Under the new rules, the partnership itself may be liable for a hypothetical increase in partner-level taxes (including interest and penalties) resulting from an adjustment of partnership tax items on audit, regardless of changes in the composition of the partners (or their relative ownership) between the year under audit and the year of the adjustment. The new rules also include an elective alternative method under which the additional taxes resulting from the adjustment are assessed from the affected partners, subject to a higher rate of interest than otherwise would apply. Many questions remain as to how the new rules will apply, especially with respect to partners that are REITs, and it is not clear at this time what effect this new legislation will have on us. However, these changes could increase the U.S. federal income tax, interest, and/or penalties otherwise borne by us in the event of a U.S. federal income tax audit of a subsidiary partnership.

Ownership of Disregarded Subsidiaries. If a REIT owns a corporate subsidiary that is a “qualified REIT subsidiary,” or QRS, that subsidiary is generally disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and all assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit of the subsidiary are treated as assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit of the REIT itself, including for purposes of the gross income and asset tests applicable to REITs, as described below. A QRS is any corporation, other than a taxable REIT subsidiary, that is directly or indirectly wholly owned by a REIT. Other entities that are wholly owned by us, including single member limited liability companies that have not elected to be taxed as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, are also generally disregarded as separate entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests. Disregarded subsidiaries, along with any partnerships in which we hold an equity interest, are sometimes referred to herein as “pass-through subsidiaries.”

In the event that a disregarded subsidiary ceases to be wholly owned by us (for example, if any equity interest in the subsidiary is acquired by a person other than us or another disregarded subsidiary of ours) the subsidiary’s separate existence would no longer be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, the subsidiary would have multiple owners and would be treated as either a partnership or a taxable corporation. Such an event could, depending on the circumstances, adversely affect our ability to satisfy the various asset and gross income requirements applicable to REITs, including the requirement that REITs generally may not own, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the securities of another corporation unless it is a taxable REIT subsidiary or a QRS. See “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Asset Tests.”

 

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Ownership of Interests in Taxable REIT Subsidiaries. A taxable REIT subsidiary of ours is a corporation other than a REIT in which we directly or indirectly hold stock, and that has made a joint election with us to be treated as a taxable REIT subsidiary under Section 856(l) of the Code. A taxable REIT subsidiary also includes any corporation other than a REIT in which a taxable REIT subsidiary of ours owns, directly or indirectly, securities (other than certain “straight debt” securities), which represent more than 35% of the total voting power or value of the outstanding securities of such corporation. Other than some activities relating to lodging and health care facilities, a taxable REIT subsidiary may generally engage in any business, including the provision of customary or non-customary services to our tenants without causing us to receive impermissible tenant service income under the REIT gross income tests. A taxable REIT subsidiary is required to pay regular U.S. federal income tax, and state and local income tax where applicable, as a regular corporation. In addition, a taxable REIT subsidiary may be prevented from deducting interest on debt, including debt funded directly or indirectly by us, if certain tests are not satisfied. If dividends are paid to us by one or more of our taxable REIT subsidiaries, then a portion of the dividends we distribute to shareholders who are taxed at individual rates will generally be eligible for taxation at lower capital gains rates, rather than at ordinary income rates. See “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders-Qualified Dividend Income.”

Generally, a taxable REIT subsidiary can perform impermissible tenant services without causing us to receive impermissible tenant services income under the REIT income tests. However, several provisions applicable to the arrangements between us and our taxable REIT subsidiaries ensure that such taxable REIT subsidiaries will be subject to an appropriate level of U.S. federal income taxation. For example, taxable REIT subsidiaries are limited in their ability to deduct interest payments in excess of a certain amount, including interest payments made directly or indirectly to us, as described below in “—New Interest Deduction Limitation Enacted by H.R. 1.” In addition, we will be obligated to pay a 100% penalty tax on some payments we receive or on certain expenses deducted by our taxable REIT subsidiaries, and, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, on income earned by our taxable REIT subsidiaries for services provided to, or on behalf of, us, if the economic arrangements between us, our tenants and such taxable REIT subsidiaries are not comparable to similar arrangements among unrelated parties. Our taxable REIT subsidiaries, and any future taxable REIT subsidiaries acquired by us, may make interest and other payments to us and to third parties in connection with activities related to our properties. There can be no assurance that our taxable REIT subsidiaries will not be limited in their ability to deduct interest payments made to us. In addition, there can be no assurance that the IRS might not seek to impose the 100% excise tax on a portion of payments received by us from, or expenses deducted by, or service income imputed to, our taxable REIT subsidiaries.

We own subsidiaries that have elected to be treated as taxable REIT subsidiaries for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Each of our taxable REIT subsidiaries is taxable as a regular corporation and has elected, together with us, to be treated as our taxable REIT subsidiary or is treated as our taxable REIT subsidiary under the 35% subsidiary rule discussed above. We may elect, together with other corporations in which we may own directly or indirectly stock, for those corporations to be treated as our taxable REIT subsidiaries.

 

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Gross Income Tests

To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income tests that are applied on an annual basis. First, in each taxable year, at least 75% of our gross income (excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, certain hedging transactions, as described below, and certain foreign currency transactions) must be derived from investments relating to real property or mortgages on real property, including:

 

   

“rents from real property”;

 

   

dividends or other distributions on, and gain from the sale of, shares in other REITs;

 

   

gain from the sale of real property or mortgages on real property, in either case, not held for sale to customers;

 

   

interest income derived from mortgage loans secured by real property; and

 

   

income attributable to temporary investments of new capital in stocks and debt instruments during the one-year period following our receipt of new capital that we raise through equity offerings or issuance of debt obligations with at least a five-year term.

Second, at least 95% of our gross income in each taxable year (excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, certain hedging transactions, as described below, and certain foreign currency transactions) must be derived from some combination of income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test described above, as well as (a) other dividends, (b) interest (including, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, interest income from debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs), and (c) gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities (including, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, gain from the sale or other disposition of debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs), in either case, not held for sale to customers.

Beginning with the Company’s taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2005, gross income from certain hedging transactions are excluded from gross income for purposes of the 95% gross income requirement. Similarly, gross income from certain hedging transactions entered into after July 30, 2008 is excluded from gross income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. For tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, income from, and gain from the termination of, certain hedging transactions, where the property or indebtedness that was the subject of the prior hedging transaction was extinguished or disposed of, also will be excluded from gross income for purposes of either the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test. See “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Gross Income Tests—Income from Hedging Transactions.”

Rents from Real Property. Rents we receive will qualify as “rents from real property” for the purpose of satisfying the gross income requirements for a REIT described above only if several conditions are met. These conditions relate to the identity of the tenant, the computation of the rent payable, and the nature of the property lease.

 

   

First, the amount of rent must not be based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, an amount we receive or accrue generally will not be excluded from the term “rents from real property” solely by reason of being based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales;

 

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Second, we, or an actual or constructive owner of 10% or more of our shares, must not actually or constructively own 10% or more of the interests in the tenant, or, if the tenant is a corporation, 10% or more of the voting power or value of all classes of stock of the tenant. Rents received from such tenant that is a taxable REIT subsidiary, however, will not be excluded from the definition of “rents from real property” as a result of this condition if either (i) at least 90% of the space at the property to which the rents relate is leased to third parties, and the rents paid by the taxable REIT subsidiary are comparable to rents paid by our other tenants for comparable space or (ii) the property is a qualified lodging facility or a qualified health care property and such property is operated on behalf of the taxable REIT subsidiary by a person who is an “eligible independent contractor” (as described below) and certain other requirements are met;

 

   

Third, rent attributable to personal property, leased in connection with a lease of real property, must not be greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease. If this requirement is not met, then the portion of rent attributable to personal property will not qualify as “rents from real property”; and

 

   

Fourth, for rents to qualify as rents from real property for the purpose of satisfying the gross income tests, we generally must not operate or manage the property or furnish or render services to the tenants of such property, other than through an “independent contractor” who is adequately compensated and from whom we derive no revenue or through a taxable REIT subsidiary. To the extent that impermissible services are provided by an independent contractor, the cost of the services generally must be borne by the independent contractor. We anticipate that any services we provide directly to tenants will be “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and not otherwise considered to be provided for the tenants’ convenience. We may provide a minimal amount of “non-customary” services to tenants of our properties, other than through an independent contractor or a taxable REIT subsidiary, but we intend that our income from these services will not exceed 1% of our total gross income from the property. If the impermissible tenant services income exceeds 1% of our total income from a property, then all of the income from that property will fail to qualify as rents from real property. If the total amount of impermissible tenant services income does not exceed 1% of our total income from the property, the services will not “taint” the other income from the property (that is, it will not cause the rent paid by tenants of that property to fail to qualify as rents from real property), but the impermissible tenant services income will not qualify as rents from real property. We will be deemed to have received income from the provision of impermissible services in an amount equal to at least 150% of our direct cost of providing the service.

 

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We monitor (and intend to continue to monitor) the activities provided at, and the non-qualifying income arising from, our properties and believe that we have not provided services at levels that will cause us to fail to meet the income tests. We provide services and may provide access to third party service providers at some or all of our properties. Based upon our experience in the markets where the properties are located, we believe that all access to service providers and services provided to tenants by us (other than through a qualified independent contractor or a taxable REIT subsidiary) either are usually or customarily rendered in connection with the rental of real property and not otherwise considered rendered to the occupant, or, if considered impermissible services, will not result in an amount of impermissible tenant service income that will cause us to fail to meet the income test requirements. However, we cannot provide any assurance that the IRS will agree with these positions.

Income we receive that is attributable to the rental of parking spaces at the properties will constitute rents from real property for purposes of the REIT gross income tests if the services provided with respect to the parking facilities are performed by independent contractors from whom we derive no income, either directly or indirectly, or by a taxable REIT subsidiary. We believe that the income we receive that is attributable to parking facilities will meet these tests and, accordingly, will constitute rents from real property for purposes of the REIT gross income tests.

Interest Income. “Interest” generally will be non-qualifying income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests if it depends in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, interest based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales may still qualify under the gross income tests. We do not expect to derive significant amounts of interest that will not qualify under the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

Dividend Income. Our share of any dividends received from any taxable REIT subsidiaries will qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. We do not anticipate that we will receive sufficient dividends from any taxable REIT subsidiaries to cause us to exceed the limit on non-qualifying income under the 75% gross income test. Dividends that we receive from other qualifying REITs will qualify for purposes of both REIT income tests.

Income from Hedging Transactions. From time to time we may enter into hedging transactions with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Any such hedging transactions could take a variety of forms, including the use of derivative instruments such as interest rate swap or cap agreements, option agreements, and futures or forward contracts. Income of a REIT, including income from a pass-through subsidiary, arising from “clearly identified” hedging transactions that are entered into to manage the risk of interest rate or price changes with respect to borrowings, including gain from the disposition of such hedging transactions, to the extent the hedging transactions hedge indebtedness incurred, or to be incurred, by the REIT to acquire or carry real estate assets (each such hedge, a “Borrowings Hedge”), will not be treated as gross income for purposes of either the 95% gross income test or the 75% gross income test. Income of a REIT arising from hedging transactions that are entered into to manage the risk of currency fluctuations with respect to our investments (each such hedge, a “Currency Hedge”) will not be treated as gross income for purposes of either the 95% gross income test or the 75% gross income test provided that the transaction is “clearly identified.” Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, this exclusion from the 95% and 75% gross income tests also will apply if we previously entered into a Borrowings Hedge or a Currency Hedge, a portion of the hedged indebtedness or property is disposed of, and in connection with such

 

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extinguishment or disposition we enter into a new “clearly identified” hedging transaction to offset the prior hedging position. In general, for a hedging transaction to be “clearly identified,” (1) it must be identified as a hedging transaction before the end of the day on which it is acquired, originated, or entered into; and (2) the items of risks being hedged must be identified “substantially contemporaneously” with entering into the hedging transaction (generally not more than 35 days after entering into the hedging transaction). To the extent that we hedge with other types of financial instruments or in other situations, the resultant income will be treated as income that does not qualify under the 95% or 75% gross income tests unless the hedge meets certain requirements and we elect to integrate it with a specified asset and to treat the integrated position as a synthetic debt instrument. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT but there can be no assurance we will be successful in this regard.

Income from Prohibited Transactions. Any gain that we realize on the sale of any property held as inventory or otherwise held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, either directly or through subsidiary partnerships and limited liability companies, will be treated as income from a prohibited transaction that is subject to a 100% penalty tax. Under existing law, whether property is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business is a question of fact that depends on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular transaction. However, we will not be treated as a dealer in real property for purposes of the 100% tax with respect to a real estate asset that we sell if (i) we have held the property for at least two years for the production of rental income prior to the sale, (ii) capitalized expenditures on the property in the two years preceding the sale are less than 30% of the net selling price of the property, and (iii) we either (a) have seven or fewer sales of property (excluding certain property obtained through foreclosure) for the year of sale or (b) the aggregate adjusted basis of property sold during the year is 10% or less of the aggregate adjusted basis of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year or (c) the fair market value of property sold during the year is 10% or less of the aggregate fair market value of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year, or (d) effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, the aggregate adjusted basis of property sold during the year is 20% or less of the aggregate adjusted basis of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year and the aggregate adjusted basis of property sold during the 3-year period ending with the year of sale is 10% or less of the aggregate tax basis of all of our assets as of the beginning of each of the 3 taxable years ending with the year of sale; or (e) effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, the fair market value of property sold during the year is 20% or less of the aggregate fair market value of all of our assets as of the beginning of the taxable year and the fair market value of property sold during the 3-year period ending with the year of sale is 10% or less of the aggregate fair market value of all of our assets as of the beginning of each of the 3 taxable years ending with the year of sale. If we rely on clauses (b), (c), (d), or (e) in the preceding sentence, substantially all of the marketing and development expenditures with respect to the property sold must be made through an independent contractor from whom we derive no income or, effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, our taxable REIT subsidiary. The sale of more than one property to one buyer as part of one transaction constitutes one sale for purposes of this “safe harbor.” We intend to hold our properties for investment with a view to long-term appreciation, to engage in the business of acquiring, developing and owning our properties and to make occasional sales of the properties as are consistent with our investment objectives. However, the IRS may successfully contend that some or all of the sales made by us or subsidiary partnerships or limited liability companies are prohibited transactions. In that case, we would be required to pay the 100% penalty tax on our allocable share of the gains resulting from any such sales.

 

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Income from Foreclosure Property. We generally will be subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate (currently 21%) on any net income from foreclosure property, including any gain from the disposition of the foreclosure property, other than income that constitutes qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Foreclosure property is real property and any personal property incident to such real property (1) that we acquire as the result of having bid on the property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced the property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after a default (or upon imminent default) on a lease of the property or a mortgage loan held by us and secured by the property, (2) for which we acquired the related loan or lease at a time when default was not imminent or anticipated, and (3) with respect to which we made a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property. Any gain from the sale of property for which a foreclosure property election has been made and remains in place generally will not be subject to the 100% tax on gains from prohibited transactions described above, even if the property would otherwise constitute inventory or dealer property. To the extent that we receive any income from foreclosure property that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test, we intend to make an election to treat the related property as foreclosure property if the election is available (which may not be the case with respect to any acquired “distressed loans”).

Failure to Satisfy the Gross Income Tests. If we fail to satisfy one or both of the 75% or 95% gross income tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless qualify as a REIT for that year if we are entitled to relief under the Code. These relief provisions will be generally available if (1) our failure to meet these tests was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and (2) following our identification of the failure to meet the 75% and/or 95% gross income tests for any taxable year, we file a schedule with the IRS setting forth a description of each item of our gross income that satisfies the gross income tests for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test for such taxable year in accordance with Treasury Regulations. It is not possible, however, to state whether in all circumstances we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances, we will fail to qualify as a REIT. As discussed above, under “—Taxation of the Company as a REIT—General,” even if these relief provisions apply, a tax would be imposed based on the amount of non-qualifying income. We intend to take advantage of any and all relief provisions that are available to us to cure any violation of the income tests applicable to REITs.

Any redetermined rents, redetermined deductions, excess interest, or redetermined TRS service income we generate will be subject to a 100% penalty tax. In general, redetermined rents are rents from real property that are overstated as a result of services furnished by one of our taxable REIT subsidiaries to any of our tenants, redetermined deductions and excess interest represent amounts that are deducted by a taxable REIT subsidiary for amounts paid to us that are in excess of the amounts that would have been deducted based on arm’s-length negotiations, and redetermined TRS service income is gross income (less deductions allocable thereto) of a taxable REIT subsidiary attributable to services provided to, or on behalf of, us that is less than the amounts that would have been paid by us to the taxable REIT subsidiary if based on arm’s-length negotiations. Rents we receive will not constitute redetermined rents if they qualify for the safe harbor provisions contained in the Code. Safe harbor provisions are provided where:

 

   

amounts are excluded from the definition of impermissible tenant service income as a result of satisfying the 1% de minimis exception;

 

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a taxable REIT subsidiary renders a significant amount of similar services to unrelated parties and the charges for such services are substantially comparable;

 

   

rents paid to us by tenants leasing at least 25% of the net leasable space of the REIT’s property who are not receiving services from the taxable REIT subsidiary are substantially comparable to the rents paid by the REIT’s tenants leasing comparable space who are receiving such services from the taxable REIT subsidiary and the charge for the service is separately stated; or

 

   

the taxable REIT subsidiary’s gross income from the service is not less than 150% of the taxable REIT subsidiary’s direct cost of furnishing the service.

While we anticipate that any fees paid to a taxable REIT subsidiary for tenant services will reflect arm’s-length rates, a taxable REIT subsidiary may under certain circumstances provide tenant services which do not satisfy any of the safe-harbor provisions described above. Nevertheless, these determinations are inherently factual, and the IRS has broad discretion to assert that amounts paid between related parties should be reallocated to clearly reflect their respective incomes. If the IRS successfully made such an assertion, we would be required to pay a 100% penalty tax on the redetermined rent, redetermined deductions or excess interest, as applicable.

Asset Tests

At the close of each calendar quarter, we must satisfy the following tests relating to the nature and diversification of our assets. For purposes of the asset tests, a REIT is not treated as owning the stock of a qualified REIT subsidiary or an equity interest in any entity treated as a partnership otherwise disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, a REIT is treated as owning its proportionate share of the assets held by such entity.

 

   

At least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by some combination of “real estate assets,” cash, cash items, and U.S. government securities. For purposes of this test, real estate assets include interests in real property, such as land and buildings, leasehold interests in real property, stock of other corporations that qualify as REITs (and, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015, debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs, interests in mortgages on interests in real property and personal property leased in connection with real property to the extent that rents attributable to such personal property are treated as “rents from real property”), some types of mortgage-backed securities and mortgage loans, and stock or debt instruments held for less than one year purchased with an offering of our shares or long term debt. Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.

 

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Not more than 25% of our total assets may be represented by securities other than those described in the first bullet above.

 

   

Except for securities described in the first bullet above and the last bullet below and securities in qualified REIT subsidiaries and taxable REIT subsidiaries, the value of any one issuer’s securities owned by us may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets.

 

   

Except for securities described in the first bullet above and the last bullet below and securities in qualified REIT subsidiaries and taxable REIT subsidiaries, we may not own more than 10% of any one issuer’s outstanding voting securities.

 

   

Except for securities described in the first bullet above and the last bullet below and securities in qualified REIT subsidiaries and taxable REIT subsidiaries, and certain types of indebtedness that are not treated as securities for purposes of this test, as discussed below, we may not own more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer.

 

   

For our tax years beginning before January 1, 2009, not more than 20% of the value of our total assets may be represented by the securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries. For our tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2009, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by the securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries. For our tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, not more than 20% of the value of our total assets may be represented by the securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries.

 

   

Not more than 25% of our total assets may be represented by debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs that are “nonqualified” debt instruments (e.g., not secured by real property or interests in real property).

The 10% value test does not apply to certain “straight debt” and other excluded securities, as described in the Code, including (1) loans to individuals or estates; (2) obligations to pay rent from real property; (3) rental agreements described in Section 467 of the Code; (4) any security issued by other REITs; (5) certain securities issued by a state, the District of Columbia, a foreign government, or a political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and (6) any other arrangement as determined by the IRS. In addition, (1) a REIT’s interest as a partner in a partnership is not considered a security for purposes of the 10% value test; (2) any debt instrument issued by a partnership (other than straight debt or other excluded security) will not be considered a security issued by the partnership if at least 75% of the partnership’s gross income is derived from sources that would qualify for the 75% REIT gross income test; and (3) any debt instrument issued by a partnership (other than straight debt or other excluded security) will not be considered a security issued by a partnership to the extent of the REIT’s interest as a partner in the partnership.

 

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For purposes of the 10% value test, debt will meet the “straight debt” safe harbor if (1) neither us, nor any of our controlled taxable REIT subsidiaries (i.e., taxable REIT subsidiaries more than 50% of the vote or value of the outstanding stock of which is directly or indirectly owned by us), own any securities not described in the preceding paragraph that have an aggregate value greater than one percent of the issuer’s outstanding securities, as calculated under the Code, (2) the debt is a written unconditional promise to pay on demand or on a specified date a sum certain in money, (3) the debt is not convertible, directly or indirectly, into stock, and (4) the interest rate and the interest payment dates of the debt are not contingent on the profits, the borrower’s discretion or similar factors. However, contingencies regarding time of payment and interest are permissible for purposes of qualifying as a straight debt security if either (1) such contingency does not have the effect of changing the effective yield of maturity, as determined under the Code, other than a change in the annual yield to maturity that does not exceed the greater of (i) 5% of the annual yield to maturity or (ii) 0.25%, or (2) neither the aggregate issue price nor the aggregate face amount of the issuer’s debt instruments held by the REIT exceeds $1,000,000 and not more than 12 months of unaccrued interest can be required to be prepaid thereunder. In addition, debt will not be disqualified from being treated as “straight debt” solely because the time or amount of payment is subject to a contingency upon a default or the exercise of a prepayment right by the issuer of the debt, provided that such contingency is consistent with customary commercial practice.

We own subsidiaries that have elected to be treated as taxable REIT subsidiaries for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Each of our taxable REIT subsidiaries is taxable as a non-REIT C corporation and has elected, together with us, to be treated as our taxable REIT subsidiary or is treated as a taxable REIT subsidiary under the 35% subsidiary rule discussed above. So long as each taxable REIT subsidiary qualifies as such, we will not be subject to the 5% asset test, 10% voting securities limitation or 10% value limitation with respect to our ownership interest in each taxable REIT subsidiary. We may acquire securities in other taxable REIT subsidiaries in the future. We believe that the aggregate value of our interests in our taxable REIT subsidiaries does not exceed, and believe that in the future it will not exceed, 20% (20% for tax years prior to 2009 and 25% for tax years between 2009 and 2017) of the aggregate value of our gross assets. To the extent that we own an interest in an issuer that does not qualify as a REIT, a qualified REIT subsidiary, or a taxable REIT subsidiary, we believe that our pro rata share of the value of the securities, including debt, of any such issuer does not exceed 5% of the total value of our assets. Moreover, with respect to each issuer in which we own an interest that does not qualify as a qualified REIT subsidiary or a taxable REIT subsidiary, we believe that our ownership of the securities of any such issuer complies with the 10% voting securities limitation and 10% value limitation.

No independent appraisals have been obtained to support these conclusions. In this regard, however, we cannot provide any assurance that the IRS might disagree with our determinations.

Failure to Satisfy the Asset Tests. The asset tests must be satisfied not only on the last day of the calendar quarter in which we, directly or through pass-through subsidiaries, acquire securities in the applicable issuer, but also on the last day of the calendar quarter in which we increase our ownership of securities of such issuer, including as a result of increasing our interest in pass-through subsidiaries. After initially meeting the asset tests at the close of any quarter, we will not lose our status as a REIT for failure to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a later quarter solely by reason of changes in the relative values of our assets (including a discrepancy caused solely by the change in the foreign currency exchange rate used to value a foreign asset). If failure to satisfy the asset tests results from an acquisition of securities or other property during a quarter, we can cure this failure by disposing of sufficient non-qualifying assets within 30 days after the

 

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close of that quarter. We intend to continue to maintain adequate records of the value of our assets to ensure compliance with the asset tests and to take any available action within 30 days after the close of any quarter as may be required to cure any noncompliance with the asset tests. Although we plan to take steps to ensure that we satisfy such tests for any quarter with respect to which testing is to occur, there can be no assurance that such steps will always be successful. If we fail to timely cure any noncompliance with the asset tests, we would cease to qualify as a REIT, unless we satisfy certain relief provisions.

The failure to satisfy the 5% asset test, or the 10% vote or value asset tests can be remedied even after the 30-day cure period under certain circumstances. Specifically, if we fail these asset tests at the end of any quarter and such failure is not cured within 30 days thereafter, we may dispose of sufficient assets (generally within six months after the last day of the quarter in which our identification of the failure to satisfy these asset tests occurred) to cure such a violation that does not exceed the lesser of 1% of our assets at the end of the relevant quarter or $10,000,000. If we fail any of the other asset tests or our failure of the 5% and 10% asset tests is in excess of the de minimis amount described above, as long as such failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, we are permitted to avoid disqualification as a REIT, after the 30-day cure period, by taking steps including the disposing of sufficient assets to meet the asset test (generally within six months after the last day of the quarter in which our identification of the failure to satisfy the REIT asset test occurred), paying a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the highest corporate income tax rate of the net income generated by the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy the asset test, and filing in accordance with applicable Treasury Regulations a schedule with the IRS that describes the assets that caused us to fail to satisfy the asset test(s). We intend to take advantage of any and all relief provisions that are available to us to cure any violation of the asset tests applicable to REITs. In certain circumstances, utilization of such provisions could result in us being required to pay an excise or penalty tax, which could be significant in amount.

Annual Distribution Requirements

To qualify as a REIT, we are required to distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends, to our shareholders each year in an amount at least equal to:

 

   

the sum of: (1) 90% of our “REIT taxable income,” computed without regard to the dividends paid deduction and our net capital gain; and (2) 90% of our after tax net income, if any, from foreclosure property; minus

 

   

the excess of the sum of specified items of non-cash income over 5% of our REIT taxable income, computed without regard to our net capital gain and the deduction for dividends paid.

For purposes of this test, non-cash income means income attributable to leveled stepped rents, original issue discount included in our taxable income without the receipt of a corresponding payment, cancellation of indebtedness or income attributable to a like-kind exchange that is later determined to be taxable.

 

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We generally must make dividend distributions in the taxable year to which they relate. Dividend distributions may be made in the following year in two circumstances. First, if we declare a dividend in October, November, or December of any year with a record date in one of these months and pay the dividend on or before January 31 of the following year. Such distributions are treated as both paid by us and received by each shareholder on December 31 of the year in which they are declared. Second, distributions may be made in the following year if they are declared before we timely file our tax return for the year and if made with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration. These distributions are taxable to our shareholders in the year in which paid, even though the distributions relate to our prior taxable year for purposes of the 90% distribution requirement.

In order for distributions to be counted as satisfying the annual distribution requirement for REITs, and to provide REITs with a REIT-level tax deduction, the distributions must not be “preferential dividends.” A dividend is not a preferential dividend if the distribution is (1) pro rata among all outstanding shares of stock within a particular class and (2) in accordance with the preferences among different classes of stock as set forth in the REIT’s organizational documents. This requirement does not apply to publicly offered REITs, including us, with respect to distributions made in tax years beginning after 2014, but will continue to apply to subsidiary REITs, if any.

To the extent that we do not distribute all of our net capital gain or distribute at least 90%, but less than 100%, of our “REIT taxable income,” as adjusted, we will be required to pay tax on that amount at regular corporate tax rates. We intend to make timely distributions sufficient to satisfy these annual distribution requirements. In certain circumstances we may elect to retain, rather than distribute, our net long-term capital gains and pay tax on such gains. In this case, we could elect for our shareholders to include their proportionate share of such undistributed long-term capital gains in income, and to receive a corresponding credit for their share of the tax that we paid. Our shareholders would then increase their adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between (1) the amounts of capital gain dividends that we designated and that they included in their taxable income, minus (2) the tax that we paid on their behalf with respect to that income.

To the extent that in the future we may have available net operating losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Such losses, however, (1) will generally not affect the character, in the hands of our shareholders, of any distributions that are actually made as ordinary dividends or capital gains; and (2) cannot be passed through or used by our shareholders. Under amendments made by H.R. 1 to Section 172 of the Code, our deduction for any net operating loss carryforwards arising from losses we sustain in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, is limited to 80% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), and any unused portion of losses arising in taxable years ending after December 31, 2017, may not be carried back, but may be carried forward indefinitely. See “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders—Distributions Generally.”

 

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If we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (a) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year, (b) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year, and (c) any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we would be subject to a non-deductible 4% excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the sum of (x) the amounts actually distributed, and (y) the amounts of income we retained and on which we paid corporate income tax.

We expect that our REIT taxable income (determined before our deduction for dividends paid) will be less than our cash flow because of depreciation and other non-cash charges included in computing REIT taxable income. Accordingly, we anticipate that we will generally have sufficient cash or liquid assets to enable us to satisfy the distribution requirements described above. However, from time to time, we may not have sufficient cash or other liquid assets to meet these distribution requirements due to timing differences between the actual receipt of income and actual payment of deductible expenses, and the inclusion of income and deduction of expenses in arriving at our taxable income. Furthermore, under amendments to Section 451 of the Code made by H.R. 1, subject to certain exceptions, we must accrue income for U.S. federal income tax purposes no later than when such income is taken into account as revenue in our financial statements, which could create additional differences between REIT taxable income and the receipt of cash attributable to such income. In addition, Section 162(m) of the Code places a per-employee limit of $1 million on the amount of compensation that a publicly held corporation may deduct in any one year with respect to its chief executive officer and certain other highly compensated executive officers. Recent changes to Section 162(m) made by H.R. 1 eliminated an exception that formerly permitted certain performance-based compensation to be deducted even if in excess of $1 million, which may have the effect of increasing our REIT taxable income. If these timing differences occur, we may need to arrange for short-term, or possibly long-term, borrowings or need to pay dividends in the form of taxable stock dividends in order to meet the distribution requirements.

We may be able to rectify a failure to meet the distribution requirement for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to our shareholders in a later year, which may be included in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. Thus, we may be able to avoid being taxed on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends. However, we will be required to pay interest to the IRS based upon the amount of any deduction claimed for deficiency dividends.

New Interest Deduction Limitation Enacted by H.R. 1.

Commencing in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, Section 163(j) of the Code, as amended by H.R. 1, limits the deductibility of net interest expense paid or accrued on debt properly allocable to a trade or business to 30% of “adjusted taxable income,” subject to certain exceptions. Any deduction in excess of the limitation is carried forward and may be used in a subsequent year, subject to the 30% limitation. Adjusted taxable income is determined without regard to certain deductions, including those for net interest expense, net operating loss carryforwards and, for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2022, depreciation, amortization and depletion. Provided the taxpayer makes a timely election (which is irrevocable), the 30% limitation does not apply to a trade or business involving real property development, redevelopment, construction, reconstruction, rental, operation, acquisition, conversion, disposition, management, leasing or brokerage, within the meaning of Section 469(c)(7)(C) of the Code. If this election is made, depreciable real property (including certain improvements) held by the relevant trade or business must be depreciated under the alternative depreciation

 

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system under the Code, which is generally less favorable than the generally applicable system of depreciation under the Code. If we do not make the election or if the election is determined not to be available with respect to all or certain of our business activities, the new interest deduction limitation could result in us having more REIT taxable income and thus increase the amount of distributions we must make to comply with the REIT requirements and avoid incurring corporate level tax. Similarly, the limitation could cause our TRSs to have greater taxable income and thus potentially greater corporate tax liability.

Record-Keeping Requirements

We are required to comply with applicable record-keeping requirements. Failure to comply could result in monetary fines.

Failure to Qualify as a REIT

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification other than gross income and asset tests that have the specific savings clauses, we can avoid termination of our REIT qualification by paying a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure, provided that our noncompliance was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.

If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year and the relief provisions do not apply, we will be subject to tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT, we will not be required to make any distributions to shareholders, and any distributions that are made to shareholders will not be deductible by us. As a result, our failure to qualify for taxation as a REIT would significantly reduce the cash available for distributions by us to our shareholders. In addition, if we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT, all distributions to shareholders, to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, will be taxable as regular corporate dividends. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, generally U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations. Alternatively, such dividends paid to U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts and estates may be taxable at the preferential income tax rates (i.e., the 20% maximum U.S. federal rate) for qualified dividends. In addition, subject to the limitations of the Code, corporate distributees may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction,

Unless entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we also will be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification was lost. In addition, if we merge with another REIT and we are the “successor” to the other REIT, the other REIT’s disqualification from taxation as a REIT would prevent us from being taxed as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which the other REIT’s qualification was lost. There can be no assurance that we would be entitled to any statutory relief. We intend to take advantage of any and all relief provisions that are available to us to cure any violation of the requirements applicable to REITs.

 

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Taxation of U.S. Shareholders

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders

This section summarizes the taxation of U.S. shareholders that are not tax-exempt organizations. For these purposes, the term “U.S. shareholder” is a beneficial owner of our shares that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

 

   

a citizen or resident of the United States;

 

   

a corporation (including an entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in or under the laws of the United States or of a political subdivision thereof (including the District of Columbia);

 

   

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

 

   

any trust if (1) a U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of such trust and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust, or (2) it has a valid election in place to be treated as a U.S. person.

If an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds our shares, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner generally will depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. A partner of a partnership holding our shares should consult its own tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences to the partner of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our shares by the partnership.

Distributions Generally. So long as we qualify as a REIT, distributions out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits that are not designated as capital gains dividends or “qualified dividend income” will be taxable to our taxable U.S. shareholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction in the case of U.S. shareholders that are corporations. However, for tax years prior to 2026, generally U.S. shareholders that are individuals, trusts or estates may deduct 20% of the aggregate amount of ordinary dividends distributed by us, subject to certain limitations. For purposes of determining whether distributions to holders of shares are out of current or accumulated earnings and profits, our earnings and profits will be allocated first to any outstanding preferred shares and then to our outstanding common shares. Dividends received from REITs are generally not eligible to be taxed at the preferential qualified dividend income rates currently available to individual U.S. shareholders who receive dividends from taxable subchapter “C” corporations.

Capital Gain Dividends. We may elect to designate distributions of our net capital gain as “capital gain dividends.” Distributions that we properly designate as “capital gain dividends” will be taxable to our taxable U.S. shareholders as long-term capital gains without regard to the period for which the U.S. shareholder that receives such distribution has held its shares. Designations made by us will only be effective to the extent that they comply with Revenue Ruling 89-81, which requires that distributions made to different classes of shares be composed

 

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proportionately of dividends of a particular type. If we designate any portion of a dividend as a capital gain dividend, a U.S. shareholder will receive an IRS Form 1099-DIV indicating the amount that will be taxable to the shareholder as capital gain. Corporate shareholders, however, may be required to treat up to 20% of some capital gain dividends as ordinary income. Recipients of capital gain dividends from us that are taxed at corporate income tax rates will be taxed at the normal corporate income tax rates on these dividends.

We may elect to retain and pay taxes on some or all of our net long-term capital gains, in which case U.S. shareholders will be treated as having received, solely for U.S. federal income tax purposes, our undistributed capital gains as well as a corresponding credit or refund, as the case may be, for taxes that we paid on such undistributed capital gains. A U.S. shareholder will increase the basis in its shares by the difference between the amount of capital gain included in its income and the amount of tax it is deemed to have paid. A U.S. shareholder that is a corporation will appropriately adjust its earnings and profits for the retained capital gain in accordance with Treasury Regulations to be prescribed by the IRS. Our earnings and profits will be adjusted appropriately.

We will classify portions of any designated capital gain dividend or undistributed capital gain as either:

 

   

a long-term capital gain distribution, which would be taxable to non-corporate U.S. shareholders at a maximum rate of 20% (excluding the 3.8% tax on “net investment income”), and taxable to U.S. shareholders that are corporations at a maximum rate of 21%; or

 

   

an “unrecaptured Section 1250 gain” distribution, which would be taxable to non-corporate U.S. shareholders at a maximum rate of 25%, to the extent of previously claimed depreciation deductions.

Distributions from us in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will not be taxable to a U.S. shareholder to the extent that they do not exceed the adjusted basis of the U.S. shareholder’s shares in respect of which the distributions were made. Rather, the distribution will reduce the adjusted basis of these shares. To the extent that such distributions exceed the adjusted basis of a U.S. shareholder’s shares of our shares, the U.S. shareholder generally must include such distributions in income as long-term capital gain, or short-term capital gain if the shares have been held for one year or less. In addition, any dividend that we declare in October, November or December of any year and that is payable to a shareholder of record on a specified date in any such month will be treated as both paid by us and received by the shareholder on December 31 of such year, provided that we actually pay the dividend before the end of January of the following calendar year.

To the extent that we have available net operating losses and capital losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. See “—Taxation of the Company as a REIT” and “—Requirements for Qualification as a REIT—Annual Distribution Requirements.” Such losses, however, are not passed through to U.S. shareholders and do not offset income of U.S. shareholders from other sources, nor would such losses affect the character of any distributions that we make, which are generally subject to tax in the hands of U.S. shareholders to the extent that we have current or accumulated earnings and profits.

 

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The maximum amount of dividends that we may designate as capital gain and as “qualified dividend income” (discussed below) with respect to any taxable year (effective for distributions in tax years beginning after December 31, 2014) may not exceed the dividends actually paid by us with respect to such year, including dividends paid by us in the succeeding tax year that relate back to the prior tax year for purposes of determining our dividends paid deduction.

Qualified Dividend Income. We may elect to designate a portion of our distributions paid to shareholders as “qualified dividend income.” A portion of a distribution that is properly designated as qualified dividend income is taxable to non-corporate U.S. shareholders as capital gain, provided that the shareholder has held the shares with respect to which the distribution is made for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date that is 60 days before the date on which such shares become ex-dividend with respect to the relevant distribution. The maximum amount of our distributions eligible to be designated as qualified dividend income for a taxable year is equal to the sum of:

 

   

the qualified dividend income received by us during such taxable year from non-REIT corporations (including our taxable REIT subsidiaries);

 

   

the excess of any “undistributed” REIT taxable income recognized during the immediately preceding year over the U.S. federal income tax paid by us with respect to such undistributed REIT taxable income; and

 

   

the excess of (i) any income recognized during the immediately preceding year attributable to the sale of a built-in-gain asset that was acquired in a carry-over basis transaction from a “C” corporation with respect to which the Company is required to pay U.S. federal income tax, over (ii) the U.S. federal income tax paid by us with respect to such built-in gain.

Generally, dividends that we receive will be treated as qualified dividend income for purposes of the first bullet above if (A) the dividends are received from (i) a U.S. corporation (other than a REIT or a RIC), (ii) any of our taxable REIT subsidiaries, or (iii) a “qualifying foreign corporation,” and (B) specified holding period requirements and other requirements are met. A foreign corporation (other than a “foreign personal holding company,” a “foreign investment company,” or “passive foreign investment company”) will be a qualifying foreign corporation if it is incorporated in a possession of the United States, the corporation is eligible for benefits of an income tax treaty with the United States that the Secretary of Treasury determines is satisfactory, or the stock of the foreign corporation on which the dividend is paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. We generally expect that an insignificant portion, if any, of our distributions from us will consist of qualified dividend income. If we designate any portion of a dividend as qualified dividend income, a U.S. shareholder will receive an IRS Form 1099-DIV indicating the amount that will be taxable to the shareholder as qualified dividend income.

 

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Passive Activity Losses and Investment Interest Limitations. Distributions we make and gain arising from the sale or exchange by a U.S. shareholder of our shares will not be treated as passive activity income. As a result, U.S. shareholders generally will not be able to apply any “passive losses” against this income or gain. Distributions we make, to the extent they do not constitute a return of capital, generally will be treated as investment income for purposes of computing the investment interest limitation. A U.S. shareholder may elect, depending on its particular situation, to treat capital gain dividends, capital gains from the disposition of shares and income designated as qualified dividend income as investment income for purposes of the investment interest limitation, in which case the applicable capital gains will be taxed at ordinary income rates. We will notify shareholders regarding the portions of our distributions for each year that constitute ordinary income, return of capital and qualified dividend income.

Distributions to Holders of Depositary Shares. Owners of depositary shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as if they were owners of the underlying preferred shares represented by such depositary shares. Accordingly, such owners will be entitled to take into account, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, income and deductions to which they would be entitled if they were direct holders of underlying preferred shares. In addition, (i) no gain or loss will be recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes upon the withdrawal of certificates evidencing the underlying preferred shares in exchange for depositary receipts, (ii) the tax basis of each share of the underlying preferred shares to an exchanging owner of depositary shares will, upon such exchange, be the same as the aggregate tax basis of the depositary shares exchanged therefor, and (iii) the holding period for the underlying preferred shares in the hands of an exchanging owner of depositary shares will include the period during which such person owned such depositary shares.

Dispositions of Our Shares. If a U.S. shareholder sells, redeems or otherwise disposes of its shares in a taxable transaction, it will recognize gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash and the fair market value of any property received on the sale or other disposition and the holder’s adjusted basis in the shares for tax purposes. In general, a U.S. shareholder’s adjusted basis will equal the U.S. shareholder’s acquisition cost, increased by the excess for net capital gains deemed distributed to the U.S. shareholder (discussed above) less tax deemed paid on it and reduced by returns on capital.

In general, capital gains recognized by individuals and other non-corporate U.S. shareholders upon the sale or disposition of shares of our shares will be subject to a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% (excluding the 3.8% tax on “net investment income”), if our shares are held for more than one year, and will be taxed at ordinary income rates of up to 37% if the stock is held for one year or less. Gains recognized by U.S. shareholders that are corporations are subject to U.S. federal income tax at a maximum rate of 21%, whether or not such gains are classified as long-term capital gains. The IRS has the authority to prescribe, but has not yet prescribed, Treasury Regulations that would apply a capital gain tax rate of 25% (which is higher than the long-term capital gain tax rates for non-corporate U.S. shareholders) to a portion of capital gain realized by a non-corporate U.S. shareholder on the sale of the Company’s shares that would correspond to the REIT’s “unrecaptured Section 1250 gain.” U.S. shareholders should consult with their own tax advisors with respect to their capital gain tax liability.

 

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Capital losses recognized by a U.S. shareholder upon the disposition of our shares that were held for more than one year at the time of disposition will be considered long-term capital losses, and are generally available only to offset capital gain income of the shareholder but not ordinary income (except in the case of individuals, who may offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income each year). In addition, any loss upon a sale or exchange of shares of our shares by a U.S. shareholder who has held the shares for six months or less, after applying holding period rules, will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of distributions that we make that are required to be treated by the U.S. shareholder as long-term capital gain.

If a shareholder recognizes a loss upon a subsequent disposition of our shares in an amount that exceeds a prescribed threshold, it is possible that the provisions of Treasury Regulations involving “reportable transactions” could apply, with a resulting requirement to separately disclose the loss-generating transaction to the IRS. These regulations, though directed towards “tax shelters,” are broadly written, and apply to transactions that would not typically be considered tax shelters. The Code imposes significant penalties for failure to comply with these requirements. U.S. shareholders should consult their tax advisors concerning any possible disclosure obligation with respect to the receipt or disposition of our shares, or transactions that we might undertake directly or indirectly.

Redemption of Preferred Shares and Depositary Shares. Whenever we redeem any preferred shares held by the depositary, the depositary will redeem as of the same redemption date the number of depositary shares representing the preferred shares so redeemed. The treatment accorded to any redemption by us for cash (as distinguished from a sale, exchange or other disposition) of our preferred shares to a holder of such preferred shares can only be determined on the basis of the particular facts as to each holder at the time of redemption. In general, a holder of our preferred shares will recognize capital gain or loss measured by the difference between the amount received by the holder of such shares upon the redemption and such holder’s adjusted tax basis in the preferred shares redeemed (provided the preferred shares are held as a capital asset) if such redemption (i) is ‘‘not essentially equivalent to a dividend’’ with respect to the holder of the preferred shares under Section 302(b)(1) of the Code, (ii) is a “substantially disproportionate” redemption with respect to the shareholder under Section 302(b)(2) of the Code, or (iii) results in a ‘‘complete termination’’ of the holder’s interest in all classes of our shares under Section 302(b)(3) of the Code. In applying these tests, there must be taken into account not only any series or class of the preferred shares being redeemed, but also such holder’s ownership of other classes of our shares and any options (including stock purchase rights) to acquire any of the foregoing. The holder of our preferred shares also must take into account any such securities (including options) which are considered to be owned by such holder by reason of the constructive ownership rules set forth in Sections 318 and 302(c) of the Code.

If the holder of preferred shares owns (actually or constructively) none of our voting shares, or owns an insubstantial amount of our voting shares, based upon current law, it is probable that the redemption of preferred shares from such a holder would be considered to be ‘‘not essentially equivalent to a dividend.’’ However, whether a distribution is ‘‘not essentially equivalent to a dividend’’ depends on all of the facts and circumstances, and a holder of our preferred shares intending to rely on any of these tests at the time of redemption should consult its tax advisor to determine their application to its particular situation.

 

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Satisfaction of the “substantially disproportionate” and “complete termination” exceptions is dependent upon compliance with the respective objective tests set forth in Section 302(b)(2) and Section 302(b)(3) of the Code. A distribution to a holder of preferred shares will be “substantially disproportionate” if the percentage of our outstanding voting shares actually and constructively owned by the shareholder immediately following the redemption of preferred shares (treating preferred shares redeemed as not outstanding) is less than 80% of the percentage of our outstanding voting shares actually and constructively owned by the shareholder immediately before the redemption, and immediately following the redemption the shareholder actually and constructively owns less than 50% of the total combined voting power of the Company. Because the Company’s preferred shares are nonvoting shares, a shareholder would have to reduce such holder’s holdings (if any) in our classes of voting shares to satisfy this test.

If the redemption does not meet any of the tests under Section 302 of the Code, then the redemption proceeds received from our preferred shares will be treated as a distribution on our shares as described under ‘‘-Taxation of U.S. Shareholders-Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders-Distributions Generally,’’ and ‘‘-Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders-Distributions Generally.’’ If the redemption of a holder’s preferred shares is taxed as a dividend, the adjusted basis of such holder’s redeemed preferred shares will be transferred to any other shares held by the holder. If the holder owns no other shares, under certain circumstances, such basis may be transferred to a related person, or it may be lost entirely.

With respect to a redemption of our preferred shares that is treated as a distribution with respect to our shares, which is not otherwise taxable as a dividend, the IRS has proposed Treasury Regulations that would require any basis reduction associated with such a redemption to be applied on a share-by-share basis which could result in taxable gain with respect to some shares, even though the holder’s aggregate basis for the shares would be sufficient to absorb the entire amount of the redemption distribution (in excess of any amount of such distribution treated as a dividend). Additionally, these proposed Treasury Regulations would not permit the transfer of basis in the redeemed shares of the preferred shares to the remaining shares held (directly or indirectly) by the redeemed holder. Instead, the unrecovered basis in our preferred shares would be treated as a deferred loss to be recognized when certain conditions are satisfied. These proposed Treasury Regulations would be effective for transactions that occur after the date the regulations are published as final Treasury Regulations. There can, however, be no assurance as to whether, when, and in what particular form such proposed Treasury Regulations will ultimately be finalized.

Net Investment Income Tax. In certain circumstances, certain U.S. shareholders that are individuals, estates or trusts are subject to a 3.8% tax on “net investment income,” which includes, among other things, dividends on and gains from the sale or other disposition of REIT shares. U.S. shareholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding this legislation.

Expansion of Medicare Tax. The Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010 requires that, in certain circumstances, certain U.S. holders that are individuals, estates, and trusts pay a 3.8% tax on “net investment income,” which includes, among other things, dividends on and gains from the sale or other disposition of REIT shares. The temporary 20% deduction allowed by Section 199A of the Code, as added by H.R. 1, with respect to ordinary REIT dividends received by non-corporate taxpayers is allowed only for purposes of Chapter 1 of the Code and thus is apparently not allowed as a deduction allocable to such dividends for purposes of determining the amount of net investment income subject to the 3.8% Medicare tax, which is imposed under Chapter 2A of the Code. Prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors regarding this legislation.

 

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Taxation of Tax Exempt Shareholders

U.S. tax-exempt entities, including qualified employee pension and profit sharing trusts and individual retirement accounts, generally are exempt from U.S. federal income taxation. Such entities, however, may be subject to taxation on their unrelated business taxable income, or UBTI. While some investments in real estate may generate UBTI, the IRS has ruled that dividend distributions from a REIT to a tax-exempt entity generally do not constitute UBTI. Based on that ruling, and provided that (1) a tax-exempt shareholder has not held our shares as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code (i.e., where the acquisition or holding of our shares is financed through a borrowing by the U.S. tax-exempt shareholder), (2) our shares are not otherwise used in an unrelated trade or business of a U.S. tax-exempt shareholder, and (3) we do not hold an asset that gives rise to “excess inclusion income,” distributions that we make and income from the sale of our shares generally should not give rise to UBTI to a U.S. tax-exempt shareholder.

Tax-exempt shareholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts, or qualified group legal services plans exempt from U.S. federal income taxation under Sections 501(c)(7), (c)(9), (c)(17) or (c)(20) of the Code, respectively, or single parent title-holding corporations exempt under Section 501(c)(2) and whose income is payable to any of the aforementioned tax-exempt organizations, are subject to different UBTI rules, which generally require such shareholders to characterize distributions from us as UBTI unless the organization is able to properly claim a deduction for amounts set aside or placed in reserve for certain purposes so as to offset the income generated by its investment in our shares. These shareholders should consult with their tax advisors concerning these set aside and reserve requirements.

In certain circumstances, a pension trust (1) that is described in Section 401(a) of the Code, (2) is tax exempt under Section 501(a) of the Code, and (3) that owns more than 10% of the value of our shares could be required to treat a percentage of the dividends as UBTI, if we are a “pension-held REIT.” We will not be a pension-held REIT unless:

 

   

either (1) one pension trust owns more than 25% of the value of our stock, or (2) one or more pension trusts, each individually holding more than 10% of the value of our shares, collectively own more than 50% of the value of our shares; and

 

   

we would not have qualified as a REIT but for the fact that Section 856(h)(3) of the Code provides that shares owned by such trusts shall be treated, for purposes of the requirement that not more than 50% of the value of the outstanding shares of a REIT is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer “individuals” (as defined in the Code to include certain entities), as owned by the beneficiaries of such trusts.

 

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The percentage of any REIT dividend from a “pension-held REIT” that is treated as UBTI is equal to the ratio of the UBTI earned by the REIT, treating the REIT as if it were a pension trust and therefore subject to tax on UBTI, to the total gross income of the REIT. An exception applies where the percentage is less than 5% for any year, in which case none of the dividends would be treated as UBTI. The provisions requiring pension trusts to treat a portion of REIT distributions as UBTI will not apply if the REIT is able to satisfy the “not closely held requirement” without relying upon the “look-through” exception with respect to pension trusts. As a result of certain limitations on the transfer and ownership of our common and preferred shares contained in our declaration of trust, we do not expect to be classified as a “pension-held REIT,” and accordingly, the tax treatment described above with respect to pension-held REITs should be inapplicable to our tax-exempt shareholders.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders

The following discussion addresses the rules governing U.S. federal income taxation of non-U.S. shareholders. For purposes of this summary, “non-U.S. shareholder” is a beneficial owner of our shares that is not a U.S. shareholder (as defined above under “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders”) or an entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. These rules are complex, and no attempt is made herein to provide more than a brief summary of such rules. Accordingly, the discussion does not address all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation and does not address state local or foreign tax consequences that may be relevant to a non-U.S. shareholder in light of its particular circumstances. Prospective non-U.S. shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors to determine the impact of U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income tax laws on their ownership of our common shares or preferred shares, including any reporting requirements.

Distributions Generally. As described in the discussion below, distributions paid by us with respect to our common shares, our preferred shares and depositary shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as either:

 

   

ordinary income dividends;

 

   

long-term capital gain; or

 

   

return of capital distributions.

This discussion assumes that our shares will continue to be considered regularly traded on an established securities market for purposes of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, or FIRPTA, provisions described below. If our shares are no longer regularly traded on an established securities market, the tax considerations described below would materially differ.

Ordinary Income Dividends. A distribution paid by us to a non-U.S. shareholder will be treated as an ordinary income dividend if the distribution is payable out of our earnings and profits and:

 

   

not attributable to our net capital gain; or

 

   

the distribution is attributable to our net capital gain from the sale of U.S. Real Property Interests (“USRPIs”), and the non-U.S. shareholder owns 10% or less of the value of our common shares at all times during the one-year period ending on the date of the distribution.

 

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In general, non-U.S. shareholders will not be considered to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business solely as a result of their ownership of our shares. In cases where the dividend income from a non-U.S. shareholder’s investment in our shares is, or is treated as, effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the non-U.S. shareholder generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at graduated rates, in the same manner as U.S. shareholders are taxed with respect to such dividends. Such income must generally be reported on a U.S. income tax return filed by or on behalf of the non-U.S. shareholder. The income may also be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder that is a corporation.

Generally, we will withhold and remit to the IRS 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate) of dividend distributions (including distributions that may later be determined to have been made in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits) that could not be treated as capital gain distributions with respect to the non-U.S. shareholder (and that are not deemed to be capital gain dividends for purposes of the FIRPTA withholding rules described below) unless:

 

   

a lower treaty rate applies and the non-U.S. shareholder files an IRS Form W-8BEN or Form W-8BEN-E, as applicable, evidencing eligibility for that reduced treaty rate with us; or

 

   

the non-U.S. shareholder files an IRS Form W-8ECI with us claiming that the distribution is income effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s trade or business; or

 

   

the non-U.S. shareholder is a foreign sovereign or controlled entity of a foreign sovereign and also provides an IRS Form W-8EXP claiming an exemption from withholding under section 892 of the Code.

Return of Capital Distributions. Unless (A) our shares constitute a USRPI, as described in “—Dispositions of Our Shares” below, or (B) either (1) the non-U.S. shareholder’s investment in our shares is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business conducted by such non-U.S. shareholder (in which case the non-U.S. shareholder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. shareholders with respect to such gain) or (2) the non-U.S. shareholder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States (in which case the non-U.S. shareholder will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s net capital gain for the year), distributions that we make which are not dividends out of our earnings and profits will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax. If we cannot determine at the time a distribution is made whether or not the distribution will exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, the distribution will be subject to withholding at the rate applicable to dividends. The non-U.S. shareholder may seek a refund from the IRS of any amounts withheld if it subsequently is determined that the distribution was, in fact, in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. If our shares constitute a USRPI, as described below, distributions that we make in excess of the sum of (1) the non-U.S. shareholder’s proportionate share of our earnings and profits, and (2) the non-U.S. shareholder’s

 

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basis in its shares, will be taxed under FIRPTA at the rate of tax, including any applicable capital gains rates, that would apply to a U.S. shareholder of the same type (e.g., an individual or a corporation, as the case may be), and the collection of the tax will be enforced by a refundable withholding tax at a rate of 15% of the amount by which the distribution exceeds the non-U.S. shareholder’s share of our earnings and profits.

Capital Gain Dividends. A distribution paid by us to a non-U.S. shareholder will be treated as long-term capital gain if the distribution is paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits and:

 

   

the distribution is attributable to our net capital gain (other than from the sale of USRPIs) and we timely designate the distribution as a capital gain dividend; or

 

   

the distribution is attributable to our net capital gain from the sale of USRPIs and the non-U.S. common shareholder owns more than 10% of the value of common shares at any point during the one-year period ending on the date on which the distribution is paid.

Long-term capital gain that a non-U.S. shareholder is deemed to receive from a capital gain dividend that is not attributable to the sale of USRPIs generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax in the hands of the non-U.S. shareholder unless:

 

   

the non-U.S. shareholder’s investment in our shares is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the non-U.S. shareholder, in which case the non-U.S. shareholder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. shareholders with respect to any gain, except that a non-U.S. shareholder that is a corporation also may be subject to the 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate) branch profits tax; or

 

   

the non-U.S. shareholder is a nonresident alien individual who is present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States in which case the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on his capital gains.

Under FIRPTA, distributions that are attributable to net capital gain from the sale by us of USRPIs and paid to a non-U.S. shareholder that owns more than 10% of the value of our shares at any time during the one-year period ending on the date on which the distribution is paid will be subject to U.S. tax as income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. The FIRPTA tax will apply to these distributions whether or not the distribution is designated as a capital gain dividend, and, in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder that is a corporation, such distributions also may be subject to the 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate) branch profits tax.

Any distribution paid by us that is treated as a capital gain dividend or that could be treated as a capital gain dividend with respect to a particular non-U.S. shareholder will be subject to special withholding rules under FIRPTA. We will withhold and remit to the IRS 21% (or, to the extent provided in Treasury Regulations, 20%) of any distribution that could be treated as a capital gain dividend with respect to the non-U.S. shareholder, whether or not the distribution is attributable to the sale by us of USRPIs. The amount withheld is creditable against the non-U.S. shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability or refundable when the non-U.S. shareholder properly and timely files a tax return with the IRS.

 

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Qualified Shareholders. Subject to the exception discussed below, any distribution to a “qualified shareholder” who holds REIT stock directly (or indirectly through one or more partnerships) will not be subject to U.S. tax under FIRPTA with respect to that REIT stock and thus will not be subject to withholding rules under FIRPTA. If a foreign investor in a “qualified shareholder” directly or indirectly, whether or not by reason of such investor’s ownership interest in the “qualified shareholder,” holds more than 10% of the stock of the REIT, then a portion of the REIT stock held by the “qualified shareholder” (based on the foreign investor’s percentage ownership of the “qualified shareholder”) will be treated as a USRPI in the hands of the “qualified shareholder” and will be subject to FIRPTA.

A “qualified shareholder” is a foreign person that (i) either is eligible for the benefits of a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States which includes an exchange of information program and whose principal class of interests is listed and regularly traded on one or more recognized stock exchanges (as defined in such comprehensive income tax treaty), or is a foreign partnership that is created or organized under foreign law as a limited partnership in a jurisdiction that has an agreement for the exchange of information with respect to taxes with the United States and has a class of limited partnership units representing greater than 50% of the value of all the partnership units that are regularly traded on the NYSE or NASDAQ markets, (ii) is a “qualified collective investment vehicle” (defined below), and (iii) maintains records on the identity of each person who, at any time during the foreign person’s taxable year, is the direct owner of 5% or more of the class of interests or units (as applicable) described in (i), above.

A “qualified collective investment vehicle” is a foreign person that (i) would be eligible for a reduced rate of withholding under the comprehensive income tax treaty described above, even if such entity holds more than 10% of the stock of such REIT, (ii) is publicly traded, is treated as a partnership under the Code, is a withholding foreign partnership, and would be treated as a USRPHC if it were a domestic corporation, or (iii) is designated as such by the Secretary of the Treasury and is either (a) fiscally transparent within the meaning of Section 894 of the Code, or (b) required to include dividends in its gross income, but is entitled to a deduction for distributions to its investors.

Qualified Foreign Pension Funds Any distribution to a “qualified foreign pension fund” or an entity all of the interests of which are held by a “qualified foreign pension fund” who holds REIT stock directly (or indirectly through one or more partnerships) will not be subject to U.S. tax under FIRPTA and thus will not be subject to the withholding rules under FIRPTA.

A qualified foreign pension fund is any trust, corporation, or other organization or arrangement (A) which is created or organized under the law of a country other than the United States, (B) which is established to provide retirement or pension benefits to participants or beneficiaries that are current or former employees (or persons designated by such employees) of one or more employers in consideration for services rendered, (C) which does not have a single participant or beneficiary with a right to more than 5% of its assets or income, (D) which is subject to government regulation and provides annual information reporting about its beneficiaries to the relevant tax authorities in the country in which it is established or operates, and (E) with respect

 

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to which, under the laws of the country in which it is established or operates, (i) contributions to such organization or arrangement that would otherwise be subject to tax under such laws are deductible or excluded from the gross income of such entity or taxed at a reduced rate, or (ii) taxation of any investment income of such organization or arrangement is deferred or such income is taxed at a reduced rate.

Undistributed Capital Gain. Although the law is not entirely clear on the matter, it appears that amounts designated by us as undistributed capital gains in respect of our shares held by non-U.S. shareholders generally should be treated in the same manner as actual distributions by us of capital gain dividends. Under this approach, the non-U.S. shareholder would be able to offset as a credit against their U.S. federal income tax liability resulting therefrom their proportionate share of the tax paid by us on the undistributed capital gains treated as long-term capital gains to the non-U.S. shareholder, and generally receive from the IRS a refund to the extent their proportionate share of the tax paid by us were to exceed the non-U.S. shareholder’s actual U.S. federal income tax liability on such long-term capital gain. If we were to designate any portion of our net capital gain as undistributed capital gain, a non-U.S. shareholder should consult its tax advisors regarding taxation of such undistributed capital gain.

Dispositions of Our Shares. Unless our shares constitute a USRPI, a sale of our shares by a non-U.S. shareholder generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income taxation under FIRPTA. Generally, subject to the discussion below regarding dispositions by “qualified shareholders” and “qualified foreign pension funds,” with respect to any particular shareholder, our shares will constitute a USRPI only if each of the following three statements is true:

 

   

Fifty percent or more of our assets on any of certain testing dates during a prescribed testing period consist of interests in real property located within the United States, excluding for this purpose, interests in real property solely in a capacity as creditor;

 

   

We are not a “domestically-controlled qualified investment entity.” A domestically-controlled qualified investment entity includes a REIT, less than 50% of value of which is held directly or indirectly by non-U.S. shareholders at all times during a specified testing period. Although we believe that we are and will remain a domestically-controlled REIT, because our shares are publicly traded, we cannot guarantee that we are or will remain a domestically-controlled qualified investment entity; and

 

   

Either (a) our shares are not “regularly traded,” as defined by applicable Treasury Regulations, on an established securities market; or (b) our shares are “regularly traded” on an established securities market and the selling non-U.S. shareholder has held over 10% of our outstanding common shares any time during the five-year period ending on the date of the sale.

A sale of our shares by a “qualified shareholder” or a “qualified foreign pension fund” that holds our shares directly (or indirectly through one or more partnerships) will not be subject to U.S. federal income taxation under FIRPTA. However, if a foreign investor in a “qualified shareholder” directly or indirectly, whether or not by reason of such investor’s ownership interest in the “qualified shareholder,” holds more than 10% of the stock of a REIT, then a portion of the REIT stock held by the “qualified shareholder” (based on the foreign investor’s percentage ownership of the “qualified shareholder”) would be treated as a USRPI in the hands of the “qualified shareholder” and will be subject to FIRPTA.

 

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Specific wash sales rules applicable to sales of shares in a domestically-controlled qualified investment entity could result in gain recognition, taxable under FIRPTA, upon the sale of our shares even if we are a domestically-controlled qualified investment entity. These rules would apply if a non-U.S. shareholder (1) disposes of our shares within a 30-day period preceding the ex-dividend date of a distribution, any portion of which, but for the disposition, would have been taxable to such non-U.S. shareholder as gain from the sale or exchange of a USRPI, (2) acquires, or enters into a contract or option to acquire, other shares of our shares during the 61-day period that begins 30 days prior to such ex-dividend date, and (3) if our shares are “regularly traded” on an established securities market in the United States, such non-US stockholder has owned more than 10% of our outstanding shares at any time during the one-year period ending on the date of such distribution.

If gain on the sale of our shares were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the non-U.S. shareholder would be required to file a U.S. federal income tax return and would be subject to the same treatment as a U.S. shareholder with respect to such gain, subject to the applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of non-resident alien individuals, and, if our common shares were not “regularly traded” on an established securities market, the purchaser of the shares generally would be required to withhold 15% of the purchase price and remit such amount to the IRS.

Gain from the sale of our shares that would not otherwise be subject to FIRPTA will nonetheless be taxable in the United States to a non-U.S. shareholder as follows: (1) if the non-U.S. shareholder’s investment in our shares is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business conducted by such non-U.S. shareholder, the non-U.S. shareholder will be subject to the same treatment as a U.S. shareholder with respect to such gain, or (2) if the non-U.S. shareholder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gain.

Taxation of Holders of Our Warrants and Rights

Warrants. Holders of our warrants will not generally recognize gain or loss upon the exercise of a warrant. A holder’s basis in the preferred shares, depositary shares representing preferred shares or common shares, as the case may be, received upon the exercise of the warrant will be equal to the sum of the holder’s adjusted tax basis in the warrant and the exercise price paid. A holder’s holding period in the preferred shares, depositary shares representing preferred shares or common shares, as the case may be, received upon the exercise of the warrant will not include the period during which the warrant was held by the holder. Upon the expiration of a warrant, the holder will recognize a capital loss in an amount equal to the holder’s adjusted tax basis in the warrant. Upon the sale or exchange of a warrant to a person other than us, a holder will recognize gain or loss in an amount equal to the difference between the amount realized on the sale or exchange and the holder’s adjusted tax basis in the warrant. Such gain or loss will be capital gain or loss and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the warrant was held for more than one year. Upon the sale of the warrant to us, the IRS may argue that the holder should recognize ordinary income on the sale. Prospective holders of our warrants should consult their own tax advisors as to the consequences of a sale of a warrant to us.

 

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Rights. In the event of a rights offering, the tax consequences of the receipt, expiration, and exercise of the rights we issue will be addressed in detail in a prospectus supplement. Prospective holders of our rights should review the applicable prospectus supplement in connection with the ownership of any rights, and consult their own tax advisors as to the consequences of investing in the rights.

Dividend Reinvestment and Share Purchase Plan

General

We offer shareholders and prospective shareholders the opportunity to participate in our Dividend Reinvestment and Share Purchase Plan, which is referred to herein as the “DRIP.”

Although we do not currently offer any discount in connection with the DRIP, nor do we plan to offer such a discount at present, we reserve the right to offer in the future a discount on shares purchased, not to exceed 5%, with reinvested dividends or cash distributions and shares purchased through the optional cash investment feature. This discussion assumes that we do not offer a discount in connection with the DRIP. If we were to offer a discount in connection with the DRIP the tax considerations described below would materially differ. In the event that we offer a discount in connection with the DRIP, shareholders are urged to consult with their tax advisors regarding the tax treatment to them of receiving a discount.

Amounts Treated as a Distribution

Generally, a DRIP participant will be treated as having received a distribution with respect to our shares for U.S. federal income tax purposes in an amount determined as described below.

 

   

A shareholder who participates in the dividend reinvestment feature of the DRIP and whose dividends are reinvested in our shares purchased from us will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as having received a distribution from us with respect to our shares equal to the fair market value of our shares credited to the shareholder’s DRIP account on the date the dividends are reinvested. The amount of the distribution deemed received will be reported on the Form 1099-DIV received by the shareholder.

 

   

A shareholder who participates in the dividend reinvestment feature of the DRIP and whose dividends are reinvested in our shares purchased in the open market, will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as having received (and will receive a Form 1099-DIV reporting) a distribution from us with respect to its shares equal to the fair market value of our shares credited to the shareholder’s DRIP account (plus any brokerage fees and any other expenses deducted from the amount of the distribution reinvested) on the date the dividends are reinvested.

 

   

A shareholder who participates in the optional cash purchase through the DRIP (or a newly enrolled participant not currently our shareholder making their initial investment in our common shares through the DRIP’s optional cash purchase feature) will not be treated as receiving a distribution from us.

 

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We will pay the annual maintenance cost for each shareholder’s DRIP account. Consistent with the conclusion reached by the IRS in a private letter ruling issued to another REIT, we intend to take the position that the administrative costs do not constitute a distribution which is either taxable to a shareholder or which would reduce the shareholder’s basis in their common shares. However, because the private letter ruling was not issued to us, we have no legal right to rely on its conclusions. Thus, it is possible that the IRS might view the shareholder’s share of the administrative costs as constituting a taxable distribution to them and/or a distribution which reduces the basis in their shares. For this and other reasons, we may in the future take a different position with respect to these costs.

In the situations described above, a shareholder will be treated as receiving a distribution from us even though no cash distribution is actually received. These distributions will be taxable in the same manner as all other distributions paid by us, as described above under “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Shareholders,” “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders—Taxation of Tax-Exempt Shareholders,” or “—Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders,” as applicable.

Basis and Holding Period in Shares Acquired Pursuant to the DRIP. The tax basis for our shares acquired by reinvesting cash distributions through the DRIP generally will equal the fair market value of our shares on the date of distribution (plus the amount of any brokerage fees paid by the shareholder). The holding period for our shares acquired by reinvesting cash distributions will begin on the day following the date of distribution.

The tax basis in our shares acquired through an optional cash investment generally will equal the cost paid by the participant in acquiring our shares, including any brokerage fees paid by the shareholder. The holding period for our shares purchased through the optional cash investment feature of the DRIP generally will begin on the day our shares are purchased for the participant’s account.

Withdrawal of Shares from the DRIP. When a participant withdraws stock from the DRIP and receives whole shares, the participant will not realize any taxable income. However, if the participant receives cash for a fractional share, the participant will be required to recognize gain or loss with respect to that fractional share.

Effect of Withholding Requirements. Withholding requirements generally applicable to distributions from us will apply to all amounts treated as distributions pursuant to the DRIP. See “—Information Reporting and Backup Withholding Tax Applicable to Shareholders—U.S. Shareholders-Generally” and “—Information Reporting and Backup Withholding Tax Applicable to Shareholders—Non-U.S. Shareholders—Generally” for discussion of the withholding requirements that apply to other distributions that we pay. All withholding amounts will be withheld from distributions before the distributions are reinvested under the DRIP. Therefore, if a U.S. shareholder is subject to withholding, distributions which would otherwise be available for reinvestment under the DRIP will be reduced by the withholding amount.

 

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Information Reporting and Backup Withholding Tax Applicable to Shareholders

U.S. Shareholders—Generally

In general, information-reporting requirements will apply to payments of distributions on our shares and payments of the proceeds of the sale of our shares to some U.S. shareholders, unless an exception applies. Further, the payer will be required to withhold backup withholding tax on such payments at the rate of 28% if:

 

  (1)

the payee fails to furnish a taxpayer identification number (“TIN”) to the payer or to establish an exemption from backup withholding;

 

  (2)

the IRS notifies the payer that the TIN furnished by the payee is incorrect;

 

  (3)

there has been a notified payee under-reporting with respect to interest, dividends or original issue discount described in Section 3406(c) of the Code; or

 

  (4)

there has been a failure of the payee to certify under the penalty of perjury that the payee is not subject to backup withholding under the Code.

Some shareholders may be exempt from backup withholding. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules from a payment to a shareholder will be allowed as a credit against the shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability and may entitle the shareholder to a refund, provided that the required information is furnished to the IRS.

U.S. Shareholders—Withholding on Payments in Respect of Certain Foreign Accounts.

As described below, certain future payments made to “foreign financial institutions” and “non-financial foreign entities” may be subject to withholding at a rate of 30%. U.S. shareholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the effect, if any, of this withholding provision on their ownership and disposition of our common stock. See “—Non-U.S. Shareholders—Withholding on Payments to Certain Foreign Entities” below.

Non-U.S. Shareholders—Generally

Generally, information reporting will apply to payments or distributions on our shares, and backup withholding described above for a U.S. shareholder will apply, unless the payee certifies that it is not a U.S. person or otherwise establishes an exemption. The payment of the proceeds from the disposition of our shares to or through the U.S. office of a U.S. or foreign broker will be subject to information reporting and, possibly, backup withholding as described above for U.S. shareholders, or the withholding tax for non-U.S. shareholders, as applicable, unless the non-U.S. shareholder certifies as to its non-U.S. status or otherwise establishes an exemption, provided that the broker does not have actual knowledge that the shareholder is a U.S. person or that the conditions of any other exemption are not, in fact, satisfied. The proceeds of the disposition by a non-U.S. shareholder of our shares to or through a foreign office of a broker generally will not be subject to information reporting or backup withholding. However, if the broker is a U.S. person, a controlled foreign corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, or a foreign person 50% or more of whose gross income from all sources for specified periods is

 

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from activities that are effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, a foreign partnership 50% or more of whose interests are held by partners who are U.S. persons, or a foreign partnership that is engaged in the conduct of a trade or business in the United States, then information reporting generally will apply as though the payment was made through a U.S. office of a U.S. or foreign broker unless the broker has documentary evidence as to the non-U.S. shareholder’s foreign status and has no actual knowledge to the contrary.

Applicable Treasury Regulations provide presumptions regarding the status of shareholders when payments to the shareholders cannot be reliably associated with appropriate documentation provided to the payor. If a non-U.S. shareholder fails to comply with the information reporting requirement, payments to such person may be subject to the full withholding tax even if such person might have been eligible for a reduced rate of withholding or no withholding under an applicable income tax treaty. Because the application of these Treasury Regulations varies depending on the non-U.S. shareholder’s particular circumstances, non-U.S. shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisor regarding the information reporting requirements applicable to them.

Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts that we withhold under the backup withholding rules will be refunded or credited against the non-U.S. shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability if certain required information is furnished to the IRS. Non-U.S. shareholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding application of backup withholding in their particular circumstances and the availability of and procedure for obtaining an exemption from backup withholding under current Treasury Regulations.

Non-U.S. Shareholders—Withholding on Payments to Certain Foreign Entities

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) imposes a 30% withholding tax on certain types of payments made to “foreign financial institutions” and certain other non-U.S. entities unless certain due diligence, reporting, withholding, and certification obligations requirements are satisfied.

As a general matter, FATCA imposes a 30% withholding tax on dividends on, and (subject to the proposed Treasury Regulations discussed below) gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of, our shares if paid to a foreign entity unless either (i) the foreign entity is a “foreign financial institution” that undertakes certain due diligence, reporting, withholding, and certification obligations, or in the case of a foreign financial institution that is a resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into an intergovernmental agreement to implement FATCA, the entity complies with the diligence and reporting requirements of such agreement, (ii) the foreign entity is not a “foreign financial institution” and identifies certain of its U.S. investors, or (iii) the foreign entity otherwise is exempted under FATCA. While withholding under FATCA would have applied to payments of gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of our shares received after December 31, 2018, recently proposed Treasury Regulations eliminate FATCA withholding on payments of gross proceeds entirely. Taxpayers may generally rely on these proposed Treasury Regulations until final Treasury Regulations are issued.

 

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If withholding is required under FATCA on a payment related to our shares, investors that otherwise would not be subject to withholding (or that otherwise would be entitled to a reduced rate of withholding) generally will be required to seek a refund or credit from the IRS to obtain the benefit of such exemption or reduction (provided that such benefit is available). Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of FATCA in their particular circumstances.

Taxation of Holders of Debt Securities

The following discussion summarizes certain U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to the purchase, ownership and disposition of certain debt securities that we may offer. This summary assumes the debt securities will be issued with no more than a de minimis amount of original issue discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This summary only applies to investors that will hold their debt securities as “capital assets” (within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code) and purchase their debt securities in the initial offering at their issue price. If such debt securities are purchased at a price other than the offering price, the amortizable bond premium or market discount rules may apply which are not described herein. Prospective holders should consult their own tax advisors regarding these possibilities. This section also does not apply to any debt securities treated as “equity,” rather than debt, for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

The tax consequences of owning any notes issued with more than de minimis original issue discount, floating rate debt securities, convertible or exchangeable notes, indexed notes or other debt securities not covered by this discussion that we offer will be discussed in the applicable prospectus supplement.

U.S. Holders of Debt Securities

This section summarizes the taxation of U.S. Holders of debt securities that are not tax-exempt organizations. For these purposes, the term “U.S. Holder” is a beneficial owner of our debt securities that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

 

   

a citizen or resident of the United States;

 

   

a corporation (including an entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in or under the laws of the United States or of a political subdivision thereof (including the District of Columbia);

 

   

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

 

   

any trust if (1) a U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of such trust and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust, or (2) it has a valid election in place to be treated as a U.S. person.

If an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds our debt securities, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner generally will depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. A partner of a partnership holding our debt securities should consult its own tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences to the partner of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our debt securities by the partnership.

 

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Payments of Interest. Interest on a note will generally be taxable to a U.S. Holder as ordinary interest income at the time it is received or accrued, in accordance with the U.S. Holder’s regular method of tax accounting for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Sale, Exchange, Retirement, Redemption or Other Taxable Disposition of the Debt Securities. Upon a sale, exchange, retirement, redemption or other taxable disposition of debt securities, a U.S. Holder generally will recognize taxable gain or loss in an amount equal to the difference, if any, between the “amount realized” on the disposition and the U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in such debt securities. The amount realized will include the amount of any cash and the fair market value of any property received for the debt securities (other than any amount attributable to accrued but unpaid interest, which will be taxable as ordinary income (as described above under “—Taxation of Holders of Debt Securities—U.S. Holders of Debt Securities—Payments of Interest”) to the extent not previously included in income). A U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in a note generally will be equal to the cost of the note to such U.S. Holder decreased by any payments received on the note other than stated interest. Any such gain or loss generally will be capital gain or loss, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the U.S. Holder’s holding period for the note is more than one year at the time of disposition. For non-corporate U.S. Holders, long-term capital gain generally will be subject to reduced rates of taxation. The deductibility of capital losses against ordinary income is subject to certain limitations.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding. Payments of interest on, or the proceeds of the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition (including a retirement or redemption) of, a note are generally subject to information reporting unless the U.S. Holder is an exempt recipient (such as a corporation). Such payments may also be subject to U.S. federal backup withholding unless (1) the U.S. Holder is an exempt recipient (such as a corporation), or (2) prior to payment, the U.S. Holder provides a taxpayer identification number and certifies as required on a duly completed and executed IRS Form W-9 (or permitted substitute or successor form), and otherwise complies with the requirements of the backup withholding rules. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules will be allowed as a refund or credit against that U.S. Holder’s U.S. federal income tax liability provided the required information is timely furnished to the IRS.

Net Investment Income. In certain circumstances, certain U.S. Holders that are individuals, estates, or trusts are subject to a 3.8% tax on “net investment income, which includes, among other things, interest income and net gains from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition (including a retirement or redemption) of the debt securities, unless such interest payments or net gains are derived in the ordinary course of the conduct of a trade or business (other than a trade or business that consists of certain passive activities or securities or commodities trading activities). Investors in debt securities should consult their own tax advisors regarding the applicability of this tax to their income and gain in respect of their investment in the debt securities.

 

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Tax-Exempt Holders of Debt Securities

In general, a tax-exempt organization is exempt from U.S. federal income tax on its income, except to the extent of its UBTI (as defined above under “—Taxation of U.S. Shareholders-Taxation of U.S. Tax-Exempt Shareholders”). Interest income accrued on the debt securities and gain recognized in connection with dispositions of the debt securities generally will not constitute UBTI unless the tax-exempt organization holds the debt securities as debt-financed property (e.g., the tax-exempt organization has incurred “acquisition indebtedness” with respect to such note). Before making an investment in the debt securities, a tax-exempt investor should consult its tax advisors with regard to UBTI and the suitability of the investment in the debt securities.

Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities

The following discussion addresses the rules governing U.S. federal income taxation of Non-U.S. Holders of debt securities. For purposes of this summary, “Non-U.S. Holder” is a beneficial owner of our debt securities that is not (i) a U.S. Holder (as defined above under “—U.S. Holders of Debt Securities”) or (ii) an entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Payments of Interest. Subject to the discussions below concerning backup withholding and FATCA (as defined below), all payments of interest on the debt securities made to a Non-U.S. Holder will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding taxes under the “portfolio interest” exception of the Code, provided that the Non-U.S. Holder:

 

   

does not own, actually or constructively, 10% or more of our stock,

 

   

is not a controlled foreign corporation with respect to which we are a “related person” (within the meaning of Section 864(d)(4) of the Code),

 

   

is not a bank whose receipt of interest on a note is described in Section 881(c)(3)(A) of the Code, and

 

   

provides its name and address on an IRS Form W-8BEN or IRS Form W-8BEN-E (or other applicable form) and certifies, under penalties of perjury, that it is not a U.S. Holder.

The applicable Treasury Regulations provide alternative methods for satisfying the certification requirement described in this section. In addition, under these Treasury Regulations, special rules apply to pass-through entities and this certification requirement may also apply to beneficial owners of pass-through entities. If a Non-U.S. Holder cannot satisfy the requirements described above, payments of interest will generally be subject to the 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless the Non-U.S. Holder provides the applicable withholding agent with a properly executed (1) IRS Form W-8BEN or IRS Form W-8BEN-E (or other applicable form) claiming an exemption from or reduction in withholding under an applicable income tax treaty or (2) IRS Form W-8ECI (or other applicable form) stating that interest paid on the debt securities is not subject to U.S. federal withholding tax because it is effectively connected with the conduct by such Non-U.S. Holder of a trade or business in the United States (as discussed below under “—Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities—Income Effectively Connected with a U.S. Trade or Business”).

 

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Sale, Exchange, Retirement, Redemption or Other Taxable Disposition of the Debt Securities. Subject to the discussions below concerning backup withholding and FATCA and except with respect to accrued but unpaid interest, which generally will be taxable as interest and may be subject to the rules described above under “—Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities—Payments of Interest,” a Non-U.S. Holder generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax on the receipt of payments of principal on a note, or on any gain recognized upon the sale, exchange, retirement, redemption or other taxable disposition of a note, unless:

 

   

such gain is effectively connected with the conduct by such Non-U.S. Holder of a trade or business within the United States, in which case such gain will be taxed as described below under “—Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities—Income Effectively Connected with a U.S. Trade or Business,” or

 

   

such Non-U.S. Holder is an individual who is present in the United States for 183 days or more in the taxable year of disposition, and certain other conditions are met, in which case such Non-U.S. Holder will be subject to tax at 30% (or, if applicable, a lower treaty rate) on the gain derived from such disposition, which may be offset by U.S. source capital losses.

Income Effectively Connected with a U.S. Trade or Business. If a Non-U.S. Holder is engaged in a trade or business in the United States, and if interest on the debt securities or gain realized on the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition (including a retirement or redemption) of the debt securities is effectively connected with the conduct of such trade or business, the Non-U.S. Holder generally will be subject to regular U.S. federal income tax on such income or gain in the same manner as if the Non-U.S. Holder were a U.S. Holder. If the Non-U.S. Holder is eligible for the benefits of an income tax treaty between the United States and the Non-U.S. Holder’s country of residence, any “effectively connected” income or gain generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax only if it is also attributable to a permanent establishment or fixed base maintained by the Non-U.S. Holder in the United States. In addition, if such a Non-U.S. Holder is a foreign corporation, such holder may also be subject to a branch profits tax equal to 30% (or such lower rate provided by an applicable income tax treaty) of its effectively connected earnings and profits, subject to certain adjustments. Payments of interest that are effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business will not be subject to the 30% U.S. federal withholding tax provided that the Non-U.S. Holder claims exemption from withholding. To claim exemption from withholding, the Non-U.S. Holder must certify its qualification, which generally can be done by filing a properly executed IRS Form W-8ECI (or other applicable form).

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding. Generally, we must report annually to the IRS and to Non-U.S. Holders the amount of interest paid to Non-U.S. Holders and the amount of tax, if any, withheld with respect to those payments. Copies of these information returns reporting such interest and withholding may also be made available under the provisions of a specific treaty or agreement to the tax authorities of the country in which the Non-U.S. Holder resides. In general, a Non-U.S. Holder will not be subject to backup withholding or additional information

 

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reporting requirements with respect to payments of interest that we make, provided that the statement described above in last bullet point under “—Non-U.S. Holders of Debt Securities—Interest” has been received and we do not have actual knowledge or reason to know that the holder is a U.S. person, as defined under the Code, that is not an exempt recipient. In addition, proceeds from a sale or other disposition of a note by a Non-U.S. Holder generally will be subject to information reporting and, depending on the circumstances, backup withholding with respect to payments of the proceeds of the sale or disposition (including a retirement or redemption) of a note within the United States or conducted through certain U.S. or U.S.-related financial intermediaries, unless the statement described above has been received and we do not have actual knowledge or reason to know that the holder is a U.S. person. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules will be allowed as a refund or a credit against a non-U.S. holder’s U.S. federal income tax liability if the required information is furnished in a timely manner to the IRS.

Additional Withholding Requirements. As discussed above under “—Information Reporting and Backup Withholding Tax Applicable to Shareholders—Non-U.S. Shareholders—Withholding on Payments to Certain Foreign Entities,” FATCA imposes a 30% withholding tax on certain types of payments made to “foreign financial institutions” and certain other non-U.S. entities unless certain due diligence, reporting, withholding, and certification obligations requirements are satisfied.

As a general matter, payments to Non-U.S. Holders that are foreign entities (whether as beneficial owner or intermediary) of interest on, and (subject to the proposed Treasury Regulations discussed below) the gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of, a debt obligation of a U.S. issuer will be subject to a withholding tax (separate and apart from, but without duplication of, the withholding tax described above) at a rate of 30%, unless various U.S. information reporting and due diligence requirements (generally relating to ownership by U.S. persons of interests in or accounts with those entities) have been satisfied. While withholding under FATCA would have applied to payments of gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of, a debt obligation of a U.S. issuer received after December 31, 2018, recently proposed Treasury Regulations eliminate FATCA withholding on payments of gross proceeds entirely. Taxpayers may generally rely on these proposed Treasury Regulations until final Treasury Regulations are issued.

If withholding is required under FATCA on a payment related to the debt securities, Non-U.S. Holders that otherwise would not be subject to withholding (or that otherwise would be entitled to a reduced rate of withholding) generally will be required to seek a refund or credit from the IRS to obtain the benefit of such exemption or reduction (provided that such benefit is available). Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of FATCA in their particular circumstances.

Other Tax Considerations

State, Local and Foreign Taxes

We may be required to pay tax in various state or local jurisdictions, including those in which we transact business, and our shareholders may be required to pay tax in various state or local jurisdictions, including those in which they reside. Our state and local tax treatment may not conform to the U.S. federal income tax consequences discussed above. In addition, a shareholder’s state and local tax treatment may not conform to the U.S. federal income tax consequences discussed above. Consequently, prospective investors should consult with their tax advisors regarding the effect of state and local tax laws on an investment in our shares and depositary shares.

 

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A portion of our income is earned through our taxable REIT subsidiaries. The taxable REIT subsidiaries are subject to U.S. federal, state and local income tax at the full applicable corporate rates. In addition, a taxable REIT subsidiary will be limited in its ability to deduct interest payments in excess of a certain amount made directly or indirectly to us. To the extent that our taxable REIT subsidiaries and we are required to pay U.S. federal, state or local taxes, we will have less cash available for distribution to shareholders.

Tax Shelter Reporting

If a holder recognizes a loss as a result of a transaction with respect to our shares of at least (i) for a holder that is an individual, S corporation, trust or a partnership with at least one non-corporate partner, $2 million or more in a single taxable year or $4 million or more in a combination of taxable years, or (ii) for a holder that is either a corporation or a partnership with only corporate partners, $10 million or more in a single taxable year or $20 million or more in a combination of taxable years, such holder may be required to file a disclosure statement with the IRS on Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases exempt from this reporting requirement, but shareholders of a REIT currently are not excepted. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

Legislative or Other Actions Affecting REITs

The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department. We cannot give you any assurances as to whether, or in what form, any proposals affecting REITs or their shareholders will be enacted. Changes to the U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could adversely affect an investment in our shares. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of potential changes to the U.S. federal tax laws and on an investment in our shares.

 

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