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Section 1: 8-K (FORM 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): August 22, 2019

 

 

GREAT AJAX CORP.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Maryland   001-36844   47-1271842

(State or other jurisdiction

of incorporation)

 

(Commission

File Number)

 

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

 

9400 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Suite 131

Beaverton, OR 97005

  97005
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (503) 505-5670

 

Not Applicable

(Former name or former address, if changed since last report)

 

 

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))

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class Trading Symbol(s) Name of each exchange on which registered
Common stock, par value $0.01 per share AJX New York Stock Exchange
7.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2024 AJXA New York Stock Exchange

 

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

 

Federal Income Tax Considerations

 

As a result of changes in applicable tax law, the discussion under the heading “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in Exhibit 99.1 hereto (incorporated herein by reference) supersedes and replaces the discussion under the heading “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the prospectus dated August 22, 2017, which is a part of Great Ajax Corp.’s Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-219923) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 11, 2017.

 

 

 

 

Item 9.01 Financial Statements and Exhibits.

 

(d)Exhibits

 

Exhibit No.

  Description  
     
99.1   Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

 

 

 

 

SIGNATURE

 

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.

 

  GREAT AJAX CORP.
     
Date: August 22, 2019 By:  

/s/ Mary Doyle 

    Mary Doyle
    Chief Financial Officer

 

 

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Section 2: EX-99.1 (EXHIBIT 99.1)

 

Exhibit 99.1

 

MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

 

This section summarizes the material U.S. federal income tax considerations a prospective stockholder may consider relevant. Because this section is a summary, it does not address all aspects of taxation that may be relevant to particular stockholders in light of their personal investment or tax circumstances, or to certain types of stockholders that are subject to special treatment under the U.S. federal income tax laws, such as:

 

·insurance companies;

 

·tax-exempt organizations, tax-deferred and tax-advantaged accounts;

 

·financial institutions or broker-dealers;

 

·dealers in securities or currencies;

 

·non-U.S. individuals and non-U.S. corporations (except to the extent discussed in “- Taxation of Non-U.S. Holders” or “- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” below);

 

·U.S. expatriates;

 

·persons who mark-to-market our shares of common stock;

 

·subchapter S corporations;

 

·U.S. stockholders (as defined below) whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar;

 

·regulated investment companies and REITs, and their investors;

 

·trusts and estates (except to the extent discussed herein);

 

·persons who receive our shares of common stock through the exercise of employee stock options or otherwise as compensation;

 

·persons holding our shares of common stock as part of a “straddle,” “hedge,” “conversion transaction,” “synthetic security” or other integrated investment;

 

·persons subject to the alternative minimum tax provisions of the Code;

 

·persons subject to the special accounting rules under Section 451(b) of the Code;

 

·persons holding our shares of common stock through a partnership or similar pass-through entity; and

 

·persons holding a 10% or more (by vote or value) beneficial interest in our shares of common stock.

 

This summary assumes that stockholders hold our shares of common stock as capital assets for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which generally means as property held for investment.

 

The statements in this section are not intended to be, and should not be construed as, tax advice. The statements in this section are based on the Code, current, temporary and proposed Treasury Regulations, the legislative history of the Code, current administrative interpretations and practices of the IRS, and court decisions. The reference to IRS interpretations and practices includes the IRS practices and policies endorsed in private letter rulings, which are not binding on the IRS except with respect to the taxpayer that receives the ruling. In each case, these sources are relied upon as they exist on the date of this discussion. Future legislation, Treasury Regulations, administrative interpretations and court decisions could change current law or adversely affect existing interpretations of current law on which the information in this section is based. Any such change could apply retroactively. We have not received any rulings from the IRS concerning our intention to qualify as a REIT, but we have received a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that allows us to exclude our proportionate share of gross income from the Manager if we held our interest in the Manager through our operating partnership. Although we have received such a ruling, we continue to hold our interest in the Manager through Thetis TRS instead of through our operating partnership. Accordingly, even if there is no change in the applicable law, no assurance can be provided that the statements made in the following discussion, which do not bind the IRS or the courts, will not be challenged by the IRS or will be sustained by a court if so challenged.

 

 

 

 

WE URGE YOU TO CONSULT YOUR OWN TAX ADVISER REGARDING THE SPECIFIC TAX CONSEQUENCES TO YOU OF THE PURCHASE, OWNERSHIP AND SALE OF OUR SHARES OF COMMON STOCK AND OF OUR ELECTION TO BE TAXED AS A REIT. SPECIFICALLY, YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR OWN TAX ADVISER REGARDING THE U.S. FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, FOREIGN, AND OTHER TAX CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH PURCHASE, OWNERSHIP, SALE AND ELECTION, AND REGARDING POTENTIAL CHANGES IN APPLICABLE TAX LAWS.

 

Taxation of Our Company

 

We elected to be taxed as a REIT under Sections 856 through 860 of the Code commencing with our short taxable year ended December 31, 2014. We believe that, commencing with our short taxable year ended December 31, 2014, we have been organized and have operated in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the U.S. federal income tax laws, and we intend to continue to operate in such a manner, but no assurances can be given that we will operate in a manner so as to qualify or remain qualified as a REIT. This section discusses the laws governing the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a REIT and its stockholders. These laws are highly technical and complex.

 

In connection with this filing, Mayer Brown LLP will render an opinion that, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2014, we were organized and operated in conformity with the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Code, and our current and proposed method of operation will enable us to continue to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT for our taxable year ending December 31, 2019. Investors should be aware that Mayer Brown LLP’s opinion is based upon customary assumptions, will be conditioned upon certain representations made by us as to factual matters, including representations regarding the nature of our assets and the conduct of our business, is not binding upon the IRS, or any court and speaks as of the date issued. In addition, Mayer Brown LLP’s opinion will be based on existing U.S. federal income tax law governing qualification as a REIT, which is subject to change either prospectively or retroactively. Moreover, our qualification and taxation as a REIT depends upon our ability to meet on a continuing basis, through actual results, certain qualification tests set forth in the U.S. federal income tax laws. Those qualification tests involve the percentage of income that we earn from specified sources, the percentage of our assets that falls within specified categories, the diversity of our capital stock ownership, and the percentage of our earnings that we distribute. Mayer Brown LLP will not review our compliance with those tests on a continuing basis. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that our actual results of operations for any particular taxable year will satisfy such requirements. Our ability to satisfy the REIT qualification tests will depend upon our analysis of the characterization and fair market values of our assets, some of which will not be susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we will not obtain independent appraisals. Our compliance with the REIT income and quarterly asset requirements also depends upon our ability to successfully manage the composition of our income and assets on an ongoing basis (which, based on the types of assets we will own, could fluctuate rapidly, significantly and unpredictably). In addition, we will be required to make estimates of or otherwise determine the value of real property that is collateral for our mortgage loan assets. There can be no assurance that the IRS would not challenge our valuations or valuation estimates of this collateral. For a discussion of the tax consequences of our failure to qualify as a REIT, see “Risk Factors - Risks Related to this Offering - Failure to Qualify.”

 

If we qualify as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our REIT taxable income that we currently distribute to our stockholders, but taxable income generated by any domestic TRS, such as Thetis TRS, will be subject to regular corporate income tax. However, we will be subject to U.S. federal tax in the following circumstances:

 

·We will pay U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income, including net capital gain, that we do not distribute to stockholders during, or within a specified time period after, the calendar year in which the income is earned.

 

 

 

 

·We will pay income tax at the highest corporate rate on:

 

·net income from the sale or other disposition of property acquired through foreclosure, or foreclosure property, that we hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, and

 

·other non-qualifying income from foreclosure property.

 

·We will pay a 100% tax on net income earned from sales or other dispositions of property, other than foreclosure property, that we hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business.

 

·If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as described below under “- Gross Income Tests,” but nonetheless continue to qualify as a REIT because we meet other requirements, we will be subject to a 100% tax on:

 

·the greater of the amount by which we fail the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, multiplied, in either case, by

 

·a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

 

·If we fail to satisfy the asset tests (other than a de minimis failure of the 5% asset test, the 10% vote test or the 10% value test, as described below under “- Asset Tests”), as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we dispose of the assets or otherwise comply with such asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure and we file a schedule with the IRS describing the assets that caused such failure, we will pay a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the product of the highest U.S. federal corporate tax rate (currently, 21%) and the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy such asset tests.

 

·If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, and the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will be required to pay a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure.

 

·We may be required to pay monetary penalties to the IRS in certain circumstances, including if we fail to meet recordkeeping requirements intended to monitor our compliance with rules relating to the composition of a REIT’s stockholders, as described below in “- Requirements for Qualification.”

 

·If we fail to distribute during a calendar year at least the sum of: (i) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for the year, (ii) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for the year and (iii) any undistributed taxable income from earlier periods, we will pay a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the amount we actually distributed, plus any retained amounts on which income tax has been paid at the corporate level.

 

·We may elect to retain and pay income tax on our net long-term capital gain. In that case, a U.S. stockholder would be taxed on its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain (to the extent that we make a timely designation of such gain to the stockholder) and would receive a credit or refund for its proportionate share of the tax we paid.

 

·We will be subject to a 100% excise tax on transactions between us and a TRS that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis including “redetermined TRS service income.” Redetermined TRS service income generally represents gross income of a taxable REIT subsidiary that is understated and attributable to services provided to us or on our behalf.

 

·The earnings of our TRSs and any other TRS that we may form will be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax.

 

·If we acquire any asset from a C corporation, or a corporation that generally is subject to full corporate-level tax, in a merger or other transaction in which we acquire a basis in the asset that is determined by reference either to the C corporation’s basis in the asset or to another asset, we will pay tax at the highest regular corporate rate applicable if we recognize gain on the sale or disposition of the asset during the 5-year period after we acquire the asset. The amount of gain on which we will pay tax is the lesser of:

 

 

 

 

·the amount of gain that we recognize at the time of the sale or disposition, and

 

·the amount of gain that we would have recognized if we had sold the asset at the time we acquired it, assuming that the C corporation will not elect, in lieu of this treatment, to be subject to an immediate tax when the asset is acquired.

 

·If we derive “excess inclusion income” from an interest in certain mortgage loan securitization structures (i.e., from a TMP, or a residual interest in a real estate mortgage investment conduit, or REMIC), we could be subject to corporate level U.S. federal income tax (currently at a 21% rate) to the extent that such income is allocable to specified types of tax-exempt stockholders known as “disqualified organizations” that are not subject to unrelated business income tax. To the extent that we own a REMIC residual interest or a TMP through a TRS, we will not be subject to this tax directly, but all of the income from the investment will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the TRS level. See “- Taxable Mortgage Pools and Excess Inclusion Income” below.

 

In addition, notwithstanding our qualification as a REIT, we may also have to pay certain state and local income taxes, because not all states and localities treat REITs in the same manner that they are treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Moreover, as further described below, any domestic TRS in which we may own an interest will be subject to U.S. federal, state and local corporate income tax on its taxable income. In addition, we may be subject to a variety of taxes other than U.S. federal income tax, including state and local franchise, property and other taxes and foreign taxes. We could also be subject to tax in situations and on transactions not presently contemplated.

 

Requirements for Qualification

 

A REIT is a corporation, trust, or association that meets each of the following requirements:

 

1.It is managed by one or more trustees or directors.

 

2.Its beneficial ownership is evidenced by transferable shares or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest.

 

3.It would be taxable as a domestic corporation, but for the REIT provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws.

 

4.It is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company subject to special provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws.

 

5.At least 100 persons are beneficial owners (determined without reference to any rules of attribution) of its shares or ownership certificates.

 

6.Not more than 50% in value of its outstanding shares or ownership certificates is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals, which the U.S. federal income tax laws define to include certain entities, during the last half of any taxable year.

 

7.It elects to be taxed as a REIT, or has made such election for a previous taxable year, and satisfies all relevant filing and other administrative requirements that must be met to elect and maintain REIT qualification.

 

8.It meets certain other qualification tests, described below, regarding the nature of its income and assets and the distribution of its income.

 

9.It uses the calendar year as its taxable year.

 

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

 

 

 

 

We must meet requirements 1 through 4 and 9 during our entire taxable year and must meet requirement 5 during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than twelve months. Requirements 5 and 6 apply to us beginning with our 2015 taxable year. If we comply with all the requirements for ascertaining the ownership of our outstanding shares in a taxable year and have no reason to know that we violated requirement 6, we will be deemed to have satisfied requirement 6 for that taxable year. For purposes of determining share ownership under requirement 6, an “individual” generally includes a supplemental unemployment compensation benefits plan, a private foundation, or a portion of a trust permanently set aside or used exclusively for charitable purposes. An “individual” generally does not include a trust that is a qualified employee pension or profit sharing trust under the U.S. federal income tax laws, however, and beneficiaries of such a trust will be treated as holding our shares in proportion to their actuarial interests in the trust for purposes of requirement 6.

 

We believe that we have issued shares with sufficient diversity of ownership to satisfy requirements 5 and 6. In addition, our charter restricts the ownership and transfer of our shares so that we should continue to satisfy these requirements. These restrictions, however, may not ensure that we will, in all cases, be able to satisfy these share ownership requirements. If we fail to satisfy these share ownership requirements, our qualification as a REIT may terminate. The provisions of our charter restricting the ownership and transfer of the shares are described in “Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer.”

 

To monitor compliance with the share ownership requirements, we generally will be 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 significant 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 our dividends in their gross income). 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. If you fail or refuse to comply with the demands, you will be required by Treasury Regulations to submit a statement with your tax return disclosing your actual ownership of our shares and other information. In addition, we must satisfy all relevant filing and other administrative requirements that must be met to elect and maintain REIT status. We intend to comply with these requirements.

 

Qualified REIT Subsidiaries

 

A corporation that is a “qualified REIT subsidiary” is not treated as a corporation separate from its parent REIT. All assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction, and credit of a qualified REIT subsidiary are treated as assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction, and credit of the REIT. A qualified REIT subsidiary is a corporation, other than a TRS, all of the shares of which is owned, directly or through one or more qualified REIT subsidiaries or disregarded entities, by the REIT. Thus, in applying the requirements described herein, any qualified REIT subsidiary that we own will be ignored, and all assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction, and credit of such subsidiary will be treated as our assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction, and credit.

 

Other Disregarded Entities and Partnerships

 

An unincorporated domestic entity, such as a limited liability company, that has a single owner generally is not treated as an entity separate from its parent for U.S. federal income tax purposes. An unincorporated domestic entity with two or more owners generally is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In the case of a REIT that is a partner in a partnership that has other partners, the REIT is treated as owning its proportionate share of the assets of the partnership and as earning its allocable share of the gross income of the partnership for purposes of the applicable REIT qualification tests. For purposes of the 10% value test (see “Asset Tests”), our proportionate share is based on our proportionate interest in the equity interests and certain debt securities issued by the partnership. For all of the other asset and income tests, our proportionate share is based on our proportionate interest in the capital interests in the partnership. Our proportionate share of the assets, liabilities, and items of income of any partnership, joint venture, or limited liability company that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes in which we acquire an interest, directly or indirectly, will be treated as our assets and gross income for purposes of applying the various REIT qualification requirements.

 

 

 

 

In the event that a disregarded subsidiary of ours ceases to be wholly-owned - 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 total value or total voting power of the outstanding securities of another corporation. See “- Asset Tests” and “- Gross Income Tests.”

 

Ownership of Subsidiary REITs

 

Our operating partnership currently owns a 100% interest in Great Ajax II REIT, Inc. and may own 100% of the common stock in one or more of our subsidiaries that will elect to be taxed as REITs, which we refer to as “Subsidiary REITs.” We may use the Subsidiary REITs for various purposes, including to execute non-REMIC securitization transactions that are treated as TMPs, as described in “- Taxable Mortgage Pools and Excess Inclusion Income.”

 

Any Subsidiary REIT will be subject to the various REIT qualification requirements and other limitations described that apply to us. We believe that Great Ajax II REIT, Inc. and any other Subsidiary REIT that we may own an interest in will be organized and will operated in a manner to permit it to qualify for taxation as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes from and after the effective date of its REIT election. However, if any Subsidiary REIT were to fail to qualify as a REIT, then (i) the Subsidiary REIT would become subject to regular corporate income tax as described in “- Failure to Qualify,” and (ii) our ownership of shares of common stock in the Subsidiary REIT would not be a qualifying real estate asset for purposes of the 75% asset test and would become subject to the 5% asset test, the 10% vote test, and the 10% value test generally applicable to our ownership in corporations other than REITs, qualified REIT subsidiaries and TRSs. See “- Asset Tests.” If a Subsidiary REIT were to fail to qualify as a REIT, it is possible that we would not meet the 10% vote test, 10% value test and the 5% asset test, with respect to our indirect interest in such entity, in which event we would fail to qualify as a REIT unless we could avail ourselves of certain relief provisions, as described in “- Asset Tests.”

 

Taxable REIT Subsidiaries

 

A REIT is permitted to own up to 100% of the stock of one or more TRSs. A TRS is a fully taxable corporation that may earn income that would not be qualifying income if earned directly by the parent REIT. The subsidiary and the REIT must jointly elect to treat the subsidiary as a TRS. A corporation with respect to which a TRS directly or indirectly owns more than 35% of the voting power or value of the outstanding securities will automatically be treated as a TRS. However, an entity will not qualify as a TRS if it directly or indirectly operates or manages a lodging or health care facility or, generally, provides to another person, under a franchise, license or otherwise, rights to any brand name under which any lodging facility or health care facility is operated. We generally may not own more than 10%, as measured by voting power or value, of the securities of a corporation that is not a qualified REIT subsidiary or a REIT unless we and such corporation elect to treat such corporation as a TRS. Overall, no more than 20% of the value of a REIT’s assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more TRSs.

 

The separate existence of a TRS or other taxable corporation, unlike a disregarded subsidiary as discussed above, is not ignored for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, a domestic TRS would generally be subject to corporate income tax on its earnings, which may reduce the cash flow generated by us and our subsidiaries in the aggregate and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

A REIT is not treated as holding the assets of a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporation or as receiving any income that the subsidiary earns. Rather, the stock issued by the subsidiary is an asset in the hands of the REIT, and the REIT generally recognizes as income the dividends, if any, that it receives from the subsidiary. This treatment can affect the gross income and asset test calculations that apply to the REIT, as described below.

 

Because a parent REIT does not include the assets and income of such subsidiary corporations in determining the parent REIT’s compliance with the REIT requirements, such entities may be used by the parent REIT to undertake indirectly activities that the REIT rules might otherwise preclude it from doing directly or through pass-through subsidiaries or render commercially unfeasible (for example, activities that give rise to certain categories of income such as non-qualifying hedging income or inventory sales).

 

 

 

 

Certain restrictions imposed on TRSs are intended to ensure that such entities will be subject to appropriate levels of U.S. federal income taxation. First, a TRS may not deduct interest payments made in any year to an affiliated REIT to the extent that such payments exceed, generally, 50% of the TRS’s adjusted taxable income for that year (although the TRS may carry forward to, and deduct in, a succeeding year the disallowed interest amount if the 50% test is satisfied in that year). In addition, if amounts are paid to a REIT or deducted by a TRS due to transactions between a REIT, its tenants and/or a TRS, that exceed the amount that would be paid to or deducted by a party in an arm’s-length transaction, the REIT generally will be subject to an excise tax equal to 100% of such excess. Similarly, if amounts are paid to a TRS for services provided to or on behalf of its parent REIT and such amounts are less than the amount that would be paid to a party in an arm’s-length transaction, the REIT generally will be subject to an excise tax equal to 100% of such deficiency. We intend that all of our transactions with our TRSs are conducted on an arm’s-length basis, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in this regard.

 

We have elected to treat certain of our subsidiaries, including Thetis TRS, GAJX Real Estate LLC and GAEA Real Estate Corp., as TRSs, and we may form or invest in additional domestic or foreign TRSs in the future. We have received a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that allows us to exclude our proportionate share of gross income from the Manager if we held our interest in the Manager through our operating partnership. Although we received such a ruling, we continue to hold our interest in the Manager through Thetis TRS instead of through our operating partnership. Thetis TRS owns a 19.8% equity interest in our Manager. We may also use TRSs, including GAJX Real Estate LLC, to market and sell distressed mortgage loans and property acquired upon foreclosure of those loans, and may modify loans through a TRS. We intend to market and sell mortgage loans and the related foreclosed property through a TRS when the sale of those assets directly by us or our operating partnership may be subject to the 100% prohibited transactions tax. See “- Gross Income Tests - Prohibited Transactions.” We anticipate that our marketing and sales of loans and the related foreclosed property will generally be conducted through a TRS.

 

It is possible that such TRS will be treated as a dealer for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In that case, such TRS will generally mark all the loans it holds on the last day of each taxable year, if any, to their market value, and will recognize ordinary income or loss on such loans with respect to such taxable year as if they had been sold for that value on that day. If we significantly modify mortgage loans in a TRS and determine that such TRS qualifies as a trader, but not a dealer, for tax purposes, such TRS may elect to be subject to similar “mark-to-market” rules that apply to electing traders.

 

A TRS may also provide services with respect to our properties to the extent we determine that having a TRS provide those services will assist us in complying with the gross income tests applicable to REITs. See “- Gross Income Tests - Rents From Real Property.”

 

To the extent that our TRSs or any other TRS that we may form pays any taxes, they will have less cash available for distribution to us. If dividends are paid by domestic TRSs to us, then the dividends we designate and pay to our stockholders who are taxed at individual rates, up to the amount of dividends that we receive from such entities, generally will be eligible to be taxed at the reduced 20% maximum U.S. federal rate applicable to qualified dividend income. See “- Taxation of U.S. Holders - Taxation of Taxable U.S. Holders on Distributions on Shares.”

 

Gross Income Tests

 

We must satisfy two gross income tests annually to qualify and maintain our qualification as a REIT. First, at least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year must consist of defined types of income that we derive, directly or indirectly, from investments relating to real property or mortgage loans on real property or qualified temporary investment income. Qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test generally includes:

 

·rents from real property;

 

 

 

 

·interest on debt secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property, and interest on debt secured by mortgages on both real and personal property if the fair market value of such personal property does not exceed 15% of the total fair market value of all such property;

 

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

 

·gain from the sale of real estate assets (other than nonqualified publicly offered REIT debt instruments, as defined under Section 856(c)(5)(L)(ii) of the Code);

 

·income and gain derived from foreclosure property (as described below);

 

·income derived from a REMIC in proportion to the real estate assets held by the REMIC, unless at least 95% of the REMIC’s assets are real estate assets, in which case all of the income derived from the REMIC; and

 

·income derived from the temporary investment of new capital that is attributable to the issuance of our shares or a public offering of our debt with a maturity date of at least five years and that we receive during the one-year period beginning on the date on which we received such new capital.

 

Second, in general, at least 95% of our gross income for each taxable year must consist of income that is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test (except for income derived from the temporary investment of new capital), other types of interest and dividends, gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities or any combination of these.

 

Certain income items do not qualify for either gross income test. Other types of income are excluded from both the numerator and the denominator in one or both of the gross income tests. For example, gross income from the sale of property that we hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, income and gain from “hedging transactions,” as defined in “- Hedging Transactions,” and gross income attributable to cancellation of indebtedness, or “COD,” income will be excluded from both the numerator and the denominator for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests. In addition, certain foreign currency gains will be excluded from gross income for purposes of one or both of the gross income tests. See “- Foreign Currency Gain.” For purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income tests, we are treated as receiving our proportionate share of our operating partnership’s gross income. We will monitor the amount of our non-qualifying income and will seek to manage our investment portfolio to comply at all time with the gross income tests. The following paragraphs discuss the specific application of the gross income tests to us.

 

Dividends

 

Our share of any dividends received from any corporation (including dividends from our TRSs and any other TRS that we may form, but excluding any REIT) in which we own an equity interest will qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Our share of any dividends received from any other REIT in which we own an equity interest, if any, will be qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests.

 

Interest

 

The term “interest,” as defined for purposes of both gross income tests, generally excludes any amount that is based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, interest generally includes the following:

 

·an amount that is based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales; and

 

 

 

 

·an amount that is based on the income or profits of a debtor, as long as the debtor derives substantially all of its income from the real property securing the debt from leasing substantially all of its interest in the property, and only to the extent that the amounts received by the debtor would be qualifying “rents from real property” if received directly by a REIT.

 

If a loan contains a provision that entitles a REIT to a percentage of the borrower’s gain upon the sale of the real property securing the loan or a percentage of the appreciation in the property’s value as of a specific date, income attributable to that loan provision will be treated as gain from the sale of the property securing the loan, which generally is qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests, provided that the property is not inventory or dealer property in the hands of the borrower or the REIT.

 

Interest on debt secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property, including, for this purpose, market discount, original issue discount, discount points, prepayment penalties, loan assumption fees, and late payment charges that are not compensation for services, generally is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. However, if the loan is secured by real property and other property and the highest principal amount of a loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan as of (i) the date the REIT agreed to originate or acquire the loan or (ii) as discussed below, in the event of a “significant modification,” the date we modified the loan, a portion of the interest income from such loan will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, but will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. The portion of the interest income that will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test will be equal to the portion of the principal amount of the loan that is not secured by real property - that is, the amount by which the loan balance exceeds the applicable value of the real estate that secures the loan. In the case of mortgage loans secured by both real and personal property, if the fair market value of such personal property does not exceed 15% of the total fair market value of all property securing the loan, then the personal property securing the loan will be treated as real property for purposes of determining whether the mortgage interest income is qualifying for purposes of the 75% gross income test.

 

We generally acquire re-performing and non-performing mortgage loans. Our mortgage loans are secured by a first lien on real property. Interest on debt secured by mortgages on real property or on interests in real property, including, for this purpose, prepayment penalties, loan assumption fees and late payment charges that are not compensation for services, generally is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test.

 

Under the applicable Treasury Regulation (referred to as the “interest apportionment regulation”), if we receive interest income with respect to a mortgage loan that is secured by both real property and other property, and the highest principal amount of the loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property on the date that we acquired the mortgage loan, the interest income will be apportioned between the real property and the other collateral, and our income from the arrangement will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test only to the extent that the interest is allocable to the real property. Even if a mortgage loan is not secured by real property, or is undersecured, the income that it generates may nonetheless qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test. In Revenue Procedure 2014-51, the IRS interpreted the “principal amount” of the loan for purposes of that test to be the face amount of the loan, despite the Code’s requirement that taxpayers treat any market discount (discussed below) as interest rather than principal. In the case of mortgage loans secured by both real and personal property, if the fair market value of such personal property does not exceed 15% of the total fair market value of all property securing the loan, then the personal property securing the loan will be treated as real property for purposes of determining whether the mortgage interest income is qualifying for purposes of the 75% gross income test.

 

We generally acquire re-performing and non-performing mortgage loans for substantially less than their face amount. However, we believe that all of the mortgage loans that we acquire are secured only by real property and no other property value is taken into account in our underwriting and pricing. Accordingly, we believe that the interest apportionment rules and Revenue Procedure 2014-51 (to the extent it addresses interest apportionment) will not apply to our mortgage loans. Nevertheless, if the IRS were to assert successfully that our mortgage loans were secured by other property, then depending upon the value of the real property securing our mortgage loans and their face amount, and the sources of our gross income generally, we might not be able to satisfy the 75% income test.

 

 

 

 

Under the Code, if the terms of a loan are modified in a manner constituting a “significant modification,” such modification triggers a deemed exchange of the original loan for the modified loan. IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-51 provides a safe harbor pursuant to which we will not be required to redetermine the fair market value of the real property securing a loan for purposes of the gross income and asset tests in connection with a loan modification that is: (i) occasioned by a borrower default; or (ii) made at a time when we reasonably believe that the modification to the loan will substantially reduce a significant risk of default on the original loan. If we modify our mortgage loans in the future, no assurance can be provided that all of our loan modifications will qualify for the safe harbor in Revenue Procedure 2014-51. To the extent we significantly modify a mortgage loan in a manner that does not qualify for that safe harbor, we will be required to redetermine the value of the real property securing the loan at the time it was significantly modified. If the fair market value of the real property securing a loan has decreased, a portion of the interest income from the loan would not be qualifying income for the 75% gross income test and a portion of the value of the loan would not be a qualifying asset for purposes of the 75% asset test.

 

Hedging Transactions

 

From time to time, we may enter into hedging transactions with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Our hedging activities may include entering into interest rate swaps, caps, and floors, options to purchase these items, and futures and forward contracts. Except to the extent provided by Treasury Regulations, income and gain from “hedging transactions” will be excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests. A “hedging transaction” includes any transaction entered into in the normal course of our trade or business primarily to manage the risk of interest rate changes, price changes, or currency fluctuations with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets, or liability hedge. A “hedging transaction” also includes any transaction entered into primarily to manage risk of currency fluctuations with respect to any item of income or gain that is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test (or any property which generates such income or gain). To the extent we enter into transactions to mitigate the risk of hedging transactions where the hedged asset has been extinguished or disposed of, such transaction may also constitute a “hedging transaction.” We are required to clearly identify any such hedging transaction before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated, or entered into and satisfy other identification requirements. To the extent that we hedge for other purposes, or to the extent that a portion of the hedged assets are not treated as “real estate assets” (as described below under “- Asset Tests”) or we enter into derivative transactions that are not liability hedges or we fail to satisfy the identification requirements with respect to a hedging transaction, the income from those transactions will likely be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT, but we cannot assure you that we will be able to do so. We may conduct some or all of our hedging activities through a TRS or other corporate entity, the income from which may be subject to U.S. federal income tax, rather than by participating in the arrangements directly or through pass- through subsidiaries.

 

Fee Income

 

We may earn income from fees in certain circumstances. Fee income generally will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests if it is received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by real property and the fees are not determined by income and profits. Other fees, including certain amounts received in connection with mortgage servicing rights (which we do not currently intend to acquire on a standalone basis), generally are not qualifying income for purposes of either gross income test. Any fees earned by a TRS, like other income earned by a TRS, will not be included in the REIT’s gross income for purposes of the gross income tests.

 

Foreign Currency Gain

 

Certain foreign currency gains will be excluded from gross income for purposes of one or both of the gross income tests. “Real estate foreign exchange gain” will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income tests. Real estate foreign exchange gain generally includes foreign currency gain attributable to any item of income or gain that is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, foreign currency gain attributable to the acquisition or ownership of (or becoming or being the obligor under) obligations secured by mortgages on real property or on interest in real property and certain foreign currency gain attributable to certain “qualified business units” of a REIT. “Passive foreign exchange gain” will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. Passive foreign exchange gain generally includes real estate foreign exchange gain as described above, and also includes foreign currency gain attributable to any item of income or gain that is qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test and foreign currency gain attributable to the acquisition or ownership of (or becoming or being the obligor under) obligations. These exclusions for real estate foreign exchange gain and passive foreign exchange gain do not apply to foreign currency gain derived from dealing, or engaging in substantial and regular trading, in securities. Such gain is treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

 

 

 

Rents from Real Property

 

We have acquired interests in real property as part of our initial portfolio and may acquire additional real property or an interest therein in the future. Rents we receive from our interests in real property will qualify as “rents from real property” in satisfying the gross income requirements for a REIT described above only if the following conditions are met:

 

·First, the amount of rent must not be based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. An amount received or accrued generally will not be excluded, however, from rents from real property solely by reason of being based on fixed percentages of receipts or sales.

 

·Second, rents we receive from a “related party tenant” will not qualify as rents from real property in satisfying the gross income tests unless the tenant is a TRS, at least 90% of the property is leased to unrelated tenants, the rent paid by the TRS is substantially comparable to the rent paid by the unrelated tenants for comparable space and the rent is not attributable to an increase in rent due to a modification of a lease with a “controlled TRS” (i.e., a TRS in which we own directly or indirectly more than 50% of the voting power or value of the stock). A tenant is a related party tenant if the REIT, or an actual or constructive owner of 10% or more of the REIT, actually or constructively owns 10% or more of the tenant.

 

·Third, if rent attributable to personal property, leased in connection with a lease of real property, is greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease, then the portion of rent attributable to the personal property will not qualify as rents from real property.

 

·Fourth, we generally must not operate or manage our real property or furnish or render services to our tenants, other than through an “independent contractor” who is adequately compensated and from whom we do not derive revenue. We may, however, provide services directly to tenants if the services are “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and are not considered to be provided for the tenants’ convenience. In addition, we may provide a minimal amount of “non-customary” services to the tenants of a property, other than through an independent contractor, as long as our income from the services does not exceed 1% of our income from the related property. Furthermore, we may own up to 100% of the stock of a TRS, which may provide customary and non-customary services to tenants without tainting our rental income from the related properties.

 

If a portion of the rent that we receive from a property does not qualify as “rents from real property” because the rent attributable to personal property exceeds 15% of the total rent for a taxable year, the portion of the rent that is attributable to personal property will not be qualifying income for purposes of either the 75% or 95% gross income test. Thus, if such rent attributable to personal property, plus any other income that is non-qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test, during a taxable year exceeds 5% of our gross income during the year, we would lose our REIT qualification. Further, the rent from a particular property does not qualify as “rents from real property” if (i) the rent is considered based on the income or profits of the tenant, (ii) the tenant either is a related party tenant or fails to qualify for the exceptions to the related party tenant rule for qualifying taxable REIT subsidiaries or (iii) we furnish non-customary services to the tenants of the property, or manage or operate the property, other than through a qualifying independent contractor or a taxable REIT subsidiary.

 

Our operating partnership and/or its subsidiaries will generally lease our REO properties to tenants that are individuals. Our REO property leases will typically have a term of at least one year and require the tenant to pay fixed rent. We may also lease portions of our mixed-use properties, if any, to tenants that are entities. We intend to structure any such leases so that the rent will qualify as “rents from real property,” and do not intend to own more than 10% of any tenant of a mixed-use property. We do not anticipate leasing significant amounts of personal property pursuant to any of our leases. Moreover, we do not intend to perform any services other than customary ones for our tenants, unless such services are provided through independent contractors or a TRS. Accordingly, we believe that our leases generally produce rent that qualifies as “rents from real property” for purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

 

 

 

 

In addition to the rent, the tenants may be required to pay certain additional charges. To the extent that such additional charges represent reimbursements of amounts that we are obligated to pay to third parties such charges generally will qualify as “rents from real property.” To the extent such additional charges represent penalties for nonpayment or late payment of such amounts, such charges should qualify as “rents from real property.” However, to the extent that late charges do not qualify as “rents from real property,” they instead will be treated as interest that qualifies for the 95% gross income test.

 

Prohibited Transactions

 

A REIT will incur a 100% tax on the net income (including foreign currency gain) derived from any sale or other disposition of property, other than foreclosure property, that the REIT holds primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business. Any such income will be excluded from the application of the 75% and 95% gross income tests. Whether a REIT holds an asset “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” depends on the facts and circumstances in effect from time to time, including those related to a particular asset. We believe that none of our assets will be held primarily for sale to customers and that a sale of any of our assets will not be in the ordinary course of our business. No assurance, however, can be given that the IRS will not successfully assert a contrary position, in which case we would be subject to the prohibited transaction tax on the sale of those assets. To avoid the 100% prohibited transaction tax on the sale of dealer property by a REIT, we intend to dispose of any asset that may be treated as held “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” by contributing or selling the asset to a TRS prior to marketing the asset for sale.

 

Foreclosure Property

 

We will be subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate on any income (including foreign currency gain) from foreclosure property, other than income that otherwise would be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, less expenses directly connected with the production of that income. Gross income from foreclosure property will qualify, however, under the 75% and 95% gross income tests. Foreclosure property is any real property, including interests in real property, and any personal property incident to such real property:

 

·that is acquired by a REIT as the result of the REIT having bid on such property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced such property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after there was a default or default was imminent on a lease of such property or on indebtedness that such property secured;

 

·for which the related loan or lease was acquired by the REIT at a time when the default was not imminent or anticipated; and

 

·for which the REIT makes a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property.

 

A REIT will not be considered, however, to have foreclosed on a property where the REIT takes control of the property as a mortgagee-in-possession and cannot receive any profit or sustain any loss except as a creditor of the mortgagor. Property generally ceases to be foreclosure property at the end of the third taxable year following the taxable year in which the REIT acquired the property, or longer if an extension is granted by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. This grace period terminates and foreclosure property ceases to be foreclosure property on the first day:

 

·on which a lease is entered into for the property that, by its terms, will give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test (disregarding income from foreclosure property), or any amount is received or accrued, directly or indirectly, pursuant to a lease entered into on or after such day that will give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test (disregarding income from foreclosure property);

 

 

 

 

·on which any construction takes place on the property, other than completion of a building or any other improvement, where more than 10% of the construction was completed before default became imminent; or
   
·which is more than 90 days after the day on which the REIT acquired the property and the property is used in a trade or business that is conducted by the REIT, other than through an independent contractor from whom the REIT itself does not derive or receive any income.

 

To the extent we foreclose or enter into a deed-in-lieu arrangement on any distressed mortgage loan that we acquire, we may not be able to make a foreclosure property election with respect to such property because we may be treated as having acquired the loan at a time when default on such loan was imminent or anticipated. If we anticipate selling a property shortly after foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, we expect that we will contribute or sell the property to a TRS, which will market and sell the property. See “- Taxable REIT Subsidiaries” and “- Gross Income Tests - Prohibited Transactions.”

 

Failure to Satisfy Gross Income Tests

 

If we fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we nevertheless may qualify as a REIT for that year if we are entitled to qualify for relief under certain provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws. Those relief provisions generally will be available if:

 

·our failure to meet those tests is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect; and
   
·following such failure for any taxable year, a schedule of the sources of our income is filed with the IRS in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

 

We cannot with certainty predict whether any failure to meet these tests will qualify for the relief provisions. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances involving us, we will not qualify as a REIT. As discussed above in “- Taxation of Our Company,” even if the relief provisions apply, we would incur a 100% tax on the gross income attributable to the greater of the amount by which we fail the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, multiplied, in either case, by a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

 

Asset Tests

 

To qualify as a REIT, we also must satisfy the following asset tests at the end of each quarter of each taxable year.

 

First, at least 75% of the value of our total assets must consist of:

 

·cash or cash items, including certain receivables and investments in money market funds;
   
·government securities;
   
·interests in real property, including leaseholds and options to acquire real property and leaseholds;
   
·interests in mortgage loans secured by real property or by interests in real property;
   
·stock in other REITs;
   
·debt instruments of “publicly offered REITs”;
   
·personal property securing a mortgage secured by both real property and personal property if the fair market value of such personal property does not exceed 15% of the total fair market value of all such property;
   
·personal property leased in connection with a lease of real property for which the rent attributable to personal property is not greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease
   
·investments in stock or debt instruments during the one-year period following our receipt of new capital that we raise through equity offerings or public offerings of debt with at least a five-year term; and
   
·regular or residual interests in a REMIC. However, if less than 95% of the assets of a REMIC consist of assets that are qualifying real estate-related assets under the U.S. federal income tax laws, determined as if we held such assets, we will be treated as holding directly our proportionate share of the assets of such REMIC.

 

 

 

 

Second, of our investments not included in the 75% asset class, the value of our interest in any one issuer’s securities (other than any TRS we may own) may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets, or the”5% asset test.

 

Third, of our investments not included in the 75% asset class, we may not own more than 10% of the total voting power or 10% of the total value of any one issuer’s outstanding securities, or the 10% vote test and the 10% value test, respectively.

 

Fourth, no more than 25% of the value of our total assets may consist of the securities of one or more TRSs.

 

Fifth, no more than 20% of the value of our total assets may consist of the securities of TRSs and other non-TRS taxable subsidiaries and other assets that are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test, or the 25% securities test.

 

Sixth, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by debt instruments of “publicly offered REITs” to the extent those debt instruments would not be real estate assets but for the inclusion of debt instruments of “publicly offered REITs” in the meaning of real estate assets.

 

For purposes of these asset tests, we are treated as holding our proportionate share of our operating partnership’s assets. For purposes of the 5% asset test, the 10% vote test and the 10% value test, the term “securities” does not include stock in another REIT, equity or debt securities of a qualified REIT subsidiary or TRS, mortgage loans or MBS that constitute real estate assets, or equity interests in a partnership. For purposes of the 10% value test, the term “securities” does not include:

 

·“straight debt” securities, which is defined as a written unconditional promise to pay on demand or on a specified date a sum certain in money if (i) the debt is not convertible, directly or indirectly, into stock, and (ii) the interest rate and interest payment dates are not contingent on profits, the borrower’s discretion, or similar factors. “Straight debt” securities do not include any securities issued by a partnership or a corporation in which we or any “controlled TRS” hold non-”straight” debt securities that have an aggregate value of more than 1% of the issuer’s outstanding securities. However, “straight debt” securities include debt subject to the following contingencies:

 

·a contingency relating to the time of payment of interest or principal, as long as either (i) there is no change to the effective yield of the debt obligation, other than a change to the annual yield that does not exceed the greater of 0.25% or 5% of the annual yield, or (ii) neither the aggregate issue price nor the aggregate face amount of the issuer’s debt obligations held by us exceeds $1 million and no more than twelve months of unaccrued interest on the debt obligations can be required to be prepaid; and

 

·a contingency relating to the time or amount of payment upon a default or prepayment of a debt
obligation, as long as the contingency is consistent with customary commercial practice;

 

·any loan to an individual or an estate;

 

·any “section 467 rental agreement,” other than an agreement with a related party tenant;

 

·any obligation to pay “rents from real property;

 

·certain securities issued by governmental entities that are not dependent in whole or in part on the profits of (or payments made by) a non-governmental entity;

 

·any security (including debt securities) issued by another REIT;

 

·any debt instrument of an entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes in which we are a partner to the extent of our proportionate interest in the equity and certain debt securities issued by that partnership; or

 

 

 

 

·any debt instrument of an entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes not described in the preceding bullet points if at least 75% of the partnership’s gross income, excluding income from prohibited transactions, is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test described above in “- Gross Income Tests.”

 

For purposes of the 10% value test, our proportionate share of the assets of a partnership is our proportionate interest in any securities issued by the partnership, without regard to the securities described in the last two bullet points above.

 

As discussed above under “- Gross Income Tests,” we intend to acquire re-performing and non-performing mortgage loans for substantially less than their face amount. Under the applicable Treasury Regulation (referred to as the “loan apportionment regulation”), if a mortgage loan is secured by real property and other property and the highest principal amount of the loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan as of (i) the date we agreed to acquire or originate the mortgage loan or (ii) in the event of a significant modification, the date we modified the loan, then a portion of the interest income from such a loan will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test but will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. Although the law is not entirely clear, a portion of the mortgage loan will also likely be a non-qualifying asset for purposes of the 75% asset test. Revenue Procedure 2014-51 provides a safe harbor under which the IRS has stated that it will not challenge a REIT’s treatment of a mortgage loan as being, in part, a qualifying real estate asset in an amount equal to the lesser of (i) the fair market value of the mortgage loan on the date of the relevant quarterly REIT asset testing date or (ii) the greater of (x) the fair market value of the real property securing the loan on the date of the relevant quarterly REIT asset testing date or (y) the fair market value of the real property securing the loan determined as of the date the REIT committed to acquire the loan. Under the safe harbor, when the current value of a mortgage loan exceeds both the current fair market value of the real property that secures the loan and the fair market value of the real property that secures the loan, determined as of the date we committed to acquire or originate the loan, a portion of the mortgage loan will be treated as a nonqualifying asset. We do not anticipate that the value of our distressed mortgage loans will exceed the current value of the real property securing the loans. In the case of mortgage loans secured by both real and personal property, if the fair market value of such personal property does not exceed 15% of the total fair market value of all property securing the loan, then the personal property securing the loan will be treated as real property for purposes of determining whether the mortgage interest income is qualifying for purposes of the 75% gross income test.

 

We may in the future enter into repurchase agreements under which we nominally sell certain of our assets to a counterparty and simultaneously entered into an agreement to repurchase the sold assets in exchange for a purchase price that reflects a financing charge. Based on positions the IRS has taken in analogous situations, we believe that these transactions would be treated as secured debt and that we would be treated for REIT asset and income test purposes as the owner of the assets that would be the subject of such agreements notwithstanding that such agreements may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we did not own our assets subject to sale and repurchase agreements during the term of such agreements, in which case we could fail to qualify as a REIT.

 

Derivative instruments generally are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test. Thus, interest rate swaps, futures contracts, and other similar instruments that are used in “hedging transactions” as defined in “- Hedging Transactions,” are non-qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test.

 

As discussed above, we may invest opportunistically in other types of mortgage-related assets. To the extent we invest in such assets, we intend to do so in a manner that will enable us to satisfy each of the asset tests described above. However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to satisfy the asset tests described above.

 

We will monitor the status of our assets for purposes of the various asset tests and seek to manage our portfolio to comply at all times with such tests. No assurance, however, can be given that we will continue to be successful in this effort. In this regard, to determine our compliance with these requirements, we will have to value our investment in our assets to ensure compliance with the asset tests. Although we seek to be prudent in making these estimates, no assurances can be given that the IRS might not disagree with these determinations and assert that a different value is applicable, in which case we might not satisfy the 75% asset test and the other asset tests and, thus, would fail to qualify as a REIT.

 

 

 

 

If we fail to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a calendar quarter, we will not lose our REIT qualification so long as:

 

·we satisfied the asset tests at the end of the preceding calendar quarter; and

 

·the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset test requirements arose from changes in the market values of our assets and was not wholly or partly caused by the acquisition of one or more non-qualifying assets.

 

If we did not satisfy the condition described in the second item, above, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose.

 

If we violate the 5% asset test, the 10% vote test or the 10% value test described above at the end of any calendar quarter, we will not lose our REIT qualification if (i) the failure is de minimis (up to the lesser of 1% of the total value of our assets or $10 million) and (ii) we dispose of assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identified such failure. In the event of a more than de minimis failure of any of the asset tests, as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will not lose our REIT qualification if we (i) dispose of assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identified such failure, (ii) file a schedule with the IRS describing the assets that caused such failure in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and (iii) pay a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or the product of the highest U.S. federal corporate tax rate (currently, 21%) and the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy the asset tests. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances involving us, we will fail to qualify as a REIT.

 

We believe that the assets that we may hold will satisfy the foregoing asset test requirements. We will monitor the status of our assets and our future acquisition of assets to ensure that we comply with those requirements, but we cannot assure you that we will be successful in this effort. No independent appraisals will be obtained to support our estimates of and conclusions as to the value of our assets and securities, or in many cases, the real estate collateral for the mortgage loans that support our assets. Moreover, the values of some assets may not be susceptible to a precise determination. As a result, no assurance can be given that the IRS will not contend that our ownership of securities and other assets violates one or more of the asset tests applicable to REITs.

 

Distribution Requirements

 

Each taxable year, we must distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends and deemed distributions of retained capital gain, to our stockholders in an aggregate amount at least equal to:

 

·the sum of

 

·90% of our “REIT taxable income,” computed without regard to the dividends paid deduction and our net capital gain, and

 

·

90% of our after-tax net income, if any, from foreclosure property,

 

minus

 

·the sum of certain items of non-cash income.

 

We must make such distributions in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if either (i) we declare the distribution before we timely file our U.S. federal income tax return for the year and pay the distribution on or before the first regular dividend payment date after such declaration or (ii) we declare the distribution in October, November or December of the taxable year, payable to stockholders of record on a specified day in any such month, and we actually pay the dividend before the end of January of the following year. The distributions under clause (i) are taxable to the stockholders in the year in which paid, and the distributions in clause (ii) are treated as paid on December 31 of the prior taxable year. In both instances, these distributions relate to our prior taxable year for purposes of the 90% distribution requirement.

 

 

 

 

We will pay U.S. federal income tax on taxable income, including net capital gain, that we do not distribute to stockholders. Furthermore, if we fail to distribute during a calendar year, or by the end of January following the calendar year in the case of distributions with declaration and record dates falling in the last three months of the calendar year, at least the sum of:

 

·85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year,

 

·95% of our REIT capital gain income for such year, and

 

·any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we will incur a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the amounts we actually distribute.

 

We may elect to retain and pay income tax on the net long term capital gain we recognize in a taxable year. See “- Taxation of U.S. Holders - Taxation of Taxable U.S. Holders on Distributions on Shares.” If we so elect, we will be treated as having distributed any such retained amount for purposes of the REIT distribution requirements and the 4% nondeductible excise tax described above.

 

We intend to make timely distributions in the future sufficient to satisfy the annual distribution requirements and to avoid corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax.

 

It is possible that, from time to time, we may experience timing differences between the actual receipt of cash, including distributions from our subsidiaries, and actual payment of deductible expenses and the inclusion of that income and deduction of such expenses in arriving at our REIT taxable income. Possible examples of those timing differences include the following:

 

·If we sell property at a loss to a related party, including a TRS, such loss may be suspended until the TRS disposes of the property to an unrelated buyer.

 

·Because we may deduct capital losses only to the extent of our capital gains, we may have taxable income that exceeds our economic income.

 

·We will recognize taxable income in advance of the related cash flow with respect to our investments that are deemed to have original issue discount. We generally must accrue original issue discount based on a constant yield method that takes into account projected prepayments but that defers taking into account credit losses until they are actually incurred.

 

·If we acquire distressed mortgage loans and significantly modify those loans, we would recognize gain, without the receipt of any cash, on the resulting deemed exchange equal to the difference between the adjusted issue price of the modified loan (which will generally be the face amount of the modified loan) and our adjusted tax basis in the original loan. Because we intend to acquire distressed mortgage loans at a significant discount, our adjusted tax basis in a distressed mortgage loan typically will be significantly lower than the adjusted issue price of the modified loan, which would result in our recognizing “phantom” income if we significantly modify the loan. We intend to significantly modify our distressed mortgage loans only on an opportunistic or selective basis.

 

·We expect to foreclose on a portion of our non-performing mortgage loans, and we may engage in foreclosures or other transactions that result in the conversion of such loans to real property. Such transactions could also give rise to taxable income without a corresponding receipt of cash.

 

·We may acquire investments that are treated as having “market discount” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, because the investments are debt instruments that we acquire for an amount less than their principal amount. We do not intend to elect to recognize market discount currently. Under the market discount rules, we may be required to treat portions of gains on sale of market discount bonds as ordinary income and may be required to include some amounts of principal payments received on market discount bonds as ordinary income. The recognition of market discount upon receipt of principal payments results in an acceleration of the recognition of taxable income to periods prior to the receipt of the related economic income. Further, to the extent that such an investment does not fully amortize according to its terms, we may never receive the economic income attributable to previously recognized market discount.

 

 

 

 

Although several types of non-cash income are excluded in determining the annual distribution requirement, we will incur corporate income tax and/or the 4% nondeductible excise tax with respect to those non-cash income items if we do not distribute those items on a current basis. As a result of the foregoing, we may have less cash than is necessary to distribute all of our taxable income and thereby avoid corporate income tax and the excise tax imposed on certain undistributed income. In such a situation, we may need to borrow funds, sell assets or make taxable distributions of our shares or debt securities.

 

We may satisfy the 90% distribution test with taxable distributions of our shares or debt securities. The IRS has issued private letter rulings to other REITs treating certain distributions that are paid partly in cash and partly in shares as dividends that would satisfy the REIT annual distribution requirement and qualify for the dividends paid deduction for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Those rulings may be relied upon only by taxpayers whom they were issued, but we could request a similar ruling from the IRS. In addition, the IRS issued a revenue procedure creating a temporary safe harbor authorizing publicly traded REITs to make elective cash/shares dividends, but that safe harbor has expired. Accordingly, it is unclear whether and to what extent we will be able to make taxable dividends payable in cash and shares. We have no current intention to make a taxable dividend payable in cash and our shares.

 

Under certain circumstances, we may be able to correct a failure to meet the distribution requirement for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to our stockholders in a later year. We may include such deficiency dividends in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. Although we may be able to avoid income tax on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends, we will be required to pay interest and may be required to pay a penalty to the IRS based upon the amount of any deduction we take for deficiency dividends.

 

Recordkeeping Requirements

 

We must maintain certain records in order to qualify as a REIT. In addition, to avoid a monetary penalty, we must request, on an annual basis, information from our stockholders designed to disclose the actual ownership of our outstanding shares. We intend to comply with these requirements.

 

Failure to Qualify

 

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, we could avoid disqualification if our failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and we pay a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure. In addition, there are relief provisions for a failure of the gross income tests and asset tests, as described in “- Gross Income Tests” and “- Asset Tests.”

 

If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, and no relief provision applies, we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax and any applicable alternative minimum tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. In calculating our taxable income in a year in which we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would not be able to deduct amounts paid out to stockholders. In fact, we would not be required to distribute any amounts to stockholders in that year. In such event, to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, all distributions to stockholders would be taxable as ordinary income. Subject to certain limitations of the

 

U.S. federal income tax laws, corporate stockholders might be eligible for the dividends received deduction and stockholders taxed at individual rates might be eligible for the reduced U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% on such dividends. Unless we qualified for relief under specific statutory provisions, we also would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we ceased to qualify as a REIT. We cannot predict whether in all circumstances we would qualify for such statutory relief.

 

Taxable Mortgage Pools and Excess Inclusion Income

 

An entity, or a portion of an entity, may be classified as a TMP under the Code if (i) substantially all of its assets consist of debt obligations or interests in debt obligations, (ii) more than 50% of those debt obligations are real estate mortgages or interests in real estate mortgages as of specified testing dates, (iii) the entity has issued debt obligations (liabilities) that have two or more maturities, and (iv) the payments required to be made by the entity on its debt obligations (liabilities) “bear a relationship” to the payments to be received by the entity on the debt obligations that it holds as assets. Under Treasury Regulations, if less than 80% of the assets of an entity (or a portion of an entity) consist of debt obligations, these debt obligations are considered not to comprise “substantially all” of its assets, and therefore the entity would not be treated as a TMP. Our future financing and securitization arrangements may give rise to TMPs, with the consequences as described below.

 

 

 

 

Where an entity, or a portion of an entity, is classified as a TMP, it is generally treated as a taxable corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In the case of a REIT, or a portion of a REIT, or a disregarded subsidiary of a REIT, that is a TMP, however, special rules apply. We may enter into transactions that could result in us or a portion of our assets being treated as a TMP for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Specifically, we may securitize our assets and such securitizations may result in us owning interests in a TMP. If we do not own 100% of the equity in our operating partnership, we would be precluded from holding equity interests in such a securitization through our operating partnership. Accordingly, we would likely enter into such transactions through a Subsidiary REIT owned by our operating partnership and will be precluded from selling to outside investors equity interests in such securitizations or from selling any debt securities issued in connection with such securitizations that might be considered to be equity interests for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

If a REIT owns, directly or indirectly through one or more qualified REIT subsidiaries or other entities that are disregarded as a separate entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes 100% of the equity interests in the TMP, the TMP will be a qualified REIT subsidiary and, therefore, ignored as an entity separate from the REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes and would not generally affect the tax qualification of the REIT. Rather, the consequences of the TMP classification would generally, except as described below, be limited to the REIT’s stockholders.

 

The U.S. Treasury has not yet issued regulations to govern the treatment of stockholders of a REIT, a portion of which is a TMP, as described below. A portion of the REIT’s income from the TMP arrangement, which might be non-cash accrued income, however, will be treated as “excess inclusion income.”

 

The REIT’s excess inclusion income, including any excess inclusion income from a residual interest in a REMIC, would be allocated among its stockholders. A stockholder’s share of excess inclusion income (i) would not be allowed to be offset by any net operating losses otherwise available to the stockholder, (ii) would be subject to tax as unrelated business taxable income in the hands of most types of stockholders that are otherwise generally exempt from U.S. federal income tax, and (iii) would result in the application of U.S. federal income tax withholding at the maximum rate (30%), without reduction under any otherwise applicable income tax treaty, to the extent allocable to most types of foreign stockholders. See “- Taxation of U.S. Holders” and “- Taxation of Non-U.S. Holders.” Under IRS guidance, to the extent that excess inclusion income is allocated from a TMP to a tax-exempt stockholder of a REIT that is not subject to unrelated business income tax (such as government entities), the REIT will be subject to tax on this income at the highest applicable corporate tax rate (currently 21%). In that case, the REIT could reduce distributions to such stockholder by the amount of such tax paid by the REIT attributable to such stockholder’s ownership. Our charter contemplates that any tax imposed on us in these circumstances may to the extent feasible reduce distributions to the stockholder whose status caused that tax to be imposed, or we may bear such tax as a general corporate expense.

 

The manner in which excess inclusion income is calculated is not clear under current law. As required by IRS guidance, we intend to make such determinations based on what we believe to be a reasonable method. However, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not challenge our method of making any such determinations. If the IRS were to disagree with any such determinations made or with the method used by us, the amount of any excess inclusion income required to be taken into account by one or more stockholders (as described above) could be significantly increased. Tax-exempt investors, foreign investors and taxpayers with net operating losses should carefully consider the tax consequences described above, and are urged to consult their tax advisors. 

 

 

 

 

Taxation of Our Operating Partnership

 

Our operating partnership currently is treated as a partnership for tax purposes.

 

Under the Code, a partnership generally is not subject to U.S. federal income tax, but is required to file a partnership tax information return each year. In general, the character of each partner’s share of each item of income, gain, loss, deduction, credit, and tax preference is determined at the partnership level. Each partner is then allocated a distributive share of such items in accordance with the partnership agreement and is required to take such items into account in determining such partner’s income. Each partner includes such amount in income for any taxable year of the partnership ending within or with the taxable year of the partner, without regard to whether the partner has received or will receive any cash distributions from the partnership. Cash distributions, if any, from a partnership to a partner generally are not taxable unless and to the extent they exceed the partner’s basis in its partnership interest immediately before the distribution. Any amounts in excess of such tax basis will generally be treated as a sale or exchange of such partner’s interest in the partnership.

 

As noted above, for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests, we are treated as receiving or holding our proportionate share of our operating partnership’s income and assets, respectively. We control, and intend to continue to control, our operating partnership and intend to operate it consistently with the requirements for our qualification as a REIT.

 

We may issue equity compensation to employees in the form of interests in our operating partnership that provide for capital gain treatment to the employees but do not generate a corresponding deduction for our operating partnership.

 

The discussion above assumes that our operating partnership is treated as a “partnership” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Generally, a domestic unincorporated entity with two or more partners is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes unless it affirmatively elects to be treated as a corporation. However, certain “publicly traded partnerships” are treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We intend to comply with one or more exceptions to treatment of our operating partnership as a corporation under the publicly traded partnership rules. Failure to qualify for such an exception would prevent us from qualifying as a REIT.

 

Taxation of U.S. Holders

 

The term “U.S. holder” means a beneficial owner of our shares of common stock that, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, is:

 

·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 under the laws of the United States, any of its States or the District of Columbia;

 

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

 

·any trust if (i) 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 (ii) it has a valid election in place to be treated as a U.S. person.

 

If a partnership, entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds our shares of common stock, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner in the partnership will generally depend on the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership and certain determinations made at the partner level. If you are a partner in a partnership holding our shares of common stock, you should consult your tax advisor regarding the consequences of the purchase, ownership and disposition of our shares of common stock by the partnership.

 

 

 

 

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Holders on Distributions on Shares

 

As long as we qualify as a REIT, a taxable U.S. holder must generally take into account as ordinary income distributions made out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits that we do not designate as capital gain dividends or retained long-term capital gain. In addition, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, U.S. holders that are individuals, trusts and estates generally will be entitled to up to a 20% pass-through deduction with respect to that ordinary dividend income for purposes of determining their U.S. federal income tax (but not for purposes of the 3.8% Medicare tax), provided that certain holding period requirements have been met. Corporate U.S. holders are not entitled to the pass-through deduction or the dividends-received deduction with respect to our distributions. A noncorporate U.S. holder’s ability to claim the deduction equal to 20% of qualifying dividends received may be limited by the U.S. holder’s particular circumstances. In addition, for any noncorporate U.S. holder that claims a deduction in respect of qualifying dividends, the maximum threshold for the accuracy-related penalty with respect to substantial understatements of income tax could be reduced from 10% to 5%.

 

The maximum tax rate for qualified dividend income received by taxpayers taxed at individual rates is 20%. Qualified dividend income generally includes dividends paid to U.S. holders taxed at individual rates by domestic C corporations and certain qualified foreign corporations. Because we are not generally subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of our REIT taxable income distributed to our stockholders (see “- Taxation of Our Company” above), our dividends generally will not be eligible for the 20% rate on qualified dividend income.

 

As a result, subject to the discussion above concerning the 20% pass-through deduction, our ordinary REIT dividends will be taxed at the higher tax rate applicable to ordinary income. However, the 20% tax rate for qualified dividend income will apply to our ordinary REIT dividends (i) attributable to dividends received by us from certain non-REIT corporations (e.g., dividends from any domestic TRSs), (ii) to the extent attributable to income upon which we have paid corporate income tax (e.g., to the extent that we distribute less than 100% of our taxable income) and (iii) attributable to income in the prior taxable year from the sales of “built-in gain” property acquired by us from C corporations in carryover basis transactions (less the amount of corporate tax on such income). In general, to qualify for the reduced tax rate on qualified dividend income, a U.S. holder must hold our shares for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date that is 60 days before the date on which our shares of common stock become ex-dividend. Individuals, trusts and estates whose income exceeds certain thresholds are also subject to a 3.8% Medicare tax on dividends received from us.

 

A U.S. holder generally will take into account distributions that we properly designate as capital gain dividends as long-term capital gain, to the extent that they do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year, without regard to the period for which the U.S. holder has held our shares of common stock. Dividends designated as capital gain dividends may not exceed our dividends paid for the taxable year, including dividends paid the following year that are treated as paid in the current year. A corporate U.S. holder may, however, be required to treat up to 20% of certain capital gain dividends as ordinary income.

 

We may elect to retain and pay income tax on the net long-term capital gain that we recognize in a taxable year. In that case, to the extent we designate such amount on a timely notice to such stockholder, a U.S. holder would be taxed on its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain. The U.S. holder would receive a credit or refund for its proportionate share of the tax we paid. The U.S. holder would increase the basis in its shares of common stock by the amount of its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain, minus its share of the tax we paid.

 

A U.S. holder will not incur tax on a distribution in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits if the distribution does not exceed the adjusted basis of the U.S. holder’s shares of common stock. Instead, the distribution will reduce the adjusted basis of such shares of common stock. A U.S. holder will recognize a distribution in excess of both our current and accumulated earnings and profits and the U.S. holder’s adjusted basis in his or her shares of common stock as long-term capital gain, or short-term capital gain if the shares of common stock have been held for one year or less, assuming the shares of common stock are a capital asset in the hands of the U.S. holder. In addition, if we declare a distribution in October, November or December of any year that is payable to a U.S. holder of record on a specified date in any such month, such distribution shall be treated as both paid by us and received by the U.S. holder on December 31 of such year, provided that we actually pay the distribution during January of the following calendar year, as described in “- Distribution Requirements.”

 

 

 

 

Stockholders may not include in their individual income tax returns any of our net operating losses or capital losses. Instead, these losses are generally carried over by us for potential offset against our future income.

 

Taxable distributions from us and gain from the disposition of our shares of common stock will not be treated as passive activity income and, therefore, a U.S. holder generally will not be able to apply any “passive activity losses,” such as losses from certain types of limited partnerships in which such U.S. holder is a limited partner, against such income. In addition, taxable distributions from us and gain from the disposition of our shares of common stock generally will be treated as investment income for purposes of the investment interest limitations. We will notify stockholders after the close of our taxable year as to the portions of the distributions attributable to that year that constitute ordinary income, return of capital and capital gain.

 

 

 

 

We may recognize taxable income in excess of our economic income, known as phantom income, in the first years that we hold certain investments, and experience an offsetting excess of economic income over our taxable income in later years. As a result, U.S. holders at times may be required to pay U.S. federal income tax on distributions that economically represent a return of capital rather than a dividend. These distributions would be offset in later years by distributions representing economic income that would be treated as returns of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Taking into account the time value of money, this acceleration of U.S. federal income tax liabilities may reduce a U.S. holder’s after-tax return on his or her investment to an amount less than the after-tax return on an investment with an identical before-tax rate of return that did not generate phantom income. For example, if an investor with a 30% tax rate purchases a taxable bond with an annual interest rate of 10% on its face value, the investor’s before-tax return on the investment would be 10% and the investor’s after-tax return would be 7%. However, if the same investor purchased our common stock at a time when the before-tax rate of return was 10%, the investor’s after-tax rate of return on such shares of common stock might be somewhat less than 7% as a result of our phantom income. In general, as the ratio of our phantom income to our total income increases, the after-tax rate of return received by a taxable U.S. holder will decrease.

 

If excess inclusion income from a TMP or REMIC residual interest is allocated to any U.S. holder, that income will be taxable in the hands of the U.S. holder and would not be offset by any net operating losses of the U.S. holder that would otherwise be available. See “- Taxable Mortgage Pools and Excess Inclusion Income.”

 

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Holders on the Disposition of Shares

 

In general, a U.S. holder must treat any gain or loss realized upon a taxable disposition of our shares of common stock as long-term capital gain or loss if the U.S. holder has held such shares of common stock for more than one year and otherwise as short-term capital gain or loss. In general, a U.S. holder will realize gain or loss in an amount equal to the difference between the sum of the fair market value of any property and the amount of cash received in such disposition and the U.S. holder’s adjusted tax basis. A holder’s adjusted tax basis generally will equal the U.S. holder’s acquisition cost, increased by the excess of net capital gains deemed distributed to the U.S. holder (discussed above) less tax deemed paid by such U.S. holder on such gains and reduced by any returns of capital. However, a U.S. holder must treat any loss upon a sale or exchange of shares of common stock held by such holder for six months or less as a long-term capital loss to the extent of capital gain dividends and any other actual or deemed distributions from us that such U.S. holder treats as long term capital gain. All or a portion of any loss that a U.S. holder realizes upon a taxable disposition of our shares of common stock may be disallowed if the U.S. holder purchases our shares of common stock (or substantially similar shares of common stock) within 30 days before or after the disposition.

 

Capital Gains and Losses

 

A taxpayer generally must hold a capital asset for more than one year for gain or loss derived from its sale or exchange to be treated as long-term capital gain or loss. The maximum tax rate on long-term capital gain applicable to U.S. holders taxed at individual rates is 20% for sales and exchanges of assets held for more than one year. The maximum tax rate on long-term capital gain from the sale or exchange of “section 1250 property,” or depreciable real property, is 25%, which applies to the lesser of the total amount of the gains or the accumulated depreciation on the Section 1250 property. Individuals, trusts and estates whose income exceeds certain thresholds are also subject to a 3.8% Medicare tax on gain from the sale of our shares of common stock.

 

 

 

 

With respect to distributions that we designate as capital gain dividends and any retained capital gain that we are deemed to distribute, we will designate whether such a distribution is taxable to U.S. holders taxed at individual rates at a 20% or 25% rate. The tax rate differential between capital gain and ordinary income for those taxpayers may be significant. In addition, the characterization of income as capital gain or ordinary income may affect the deductibility of capital losses, including capital losses recognized upon the disposition of our shares. A non-corporate taxpayer may deduct capital losses not offset by capital gains against its ordinary income only up to a maximum annual amount of $3,000. A non-corporate taxpayer may carry forward unused capital losses indefinitely. A corporate taxpayer must pay tax on its net capital gain at ordinary corporate rates. A corporate taxpayer may deduct capital losses only to the extent of capital gains, with unused losses being carried back three years and forward five years.

 

Information Reporting Requirements and Withholding

 

We or the applicable withholding agent will report to U.S. holders and to the IRS the amount and the tax character of distributions we pay during each calendar year, and the amount of tax we withhold, if any. Under the backup withholding rules, a U.S. holder may be subject to backup withholding with respect to distributions unless such holder:

 

·is a corporation or comes within certain other exempt categories and, when required, demonstrates this fact; or

 

·provides a taxpayer identification number, certifies as to no loss of exemption from backup withholding, and otherwise complies with the applicable requirements of the backup withholding rules.

 

A U.S. holder who does not provide the applicable withholding agent with its correct taxpayer identification number also may be subject to penalties imposed by the IRS. Any amount paid as backup withholding will be creditable against the U.S. holder’s income tax liability. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules may be refunded or credited against the U.S. holder’s U.S. federal income tax liability if certain required information is timely furnished to the IRS. U.S. holders are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding application of backup withholding to them and the availability of, and procedure for obtaining an exemption from, backup withholding. In addition, the applicable withholding agent may be required to withhold a portion of distributions to any U.S. holders who fail to certify their U.S. status.

 

Taxation of Non-U.S. Holders

 

The term “non-U.S. holder” means a beneficial owner of our shares of common stock that is not a U.S. holder or a partnership (or an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes). The rules governing U.S. federal income taxation of nonresident alien individuals, foreign corporations, foreign partnerships and other foreign holders are complex. This section is only a summary of such rules. We urge non-U.S. holders to consult their tax advisors to determine the impact of U.S. federal, state and local income tax laws on ownership of our shares of common stock, including any reporting requirements.

 

For most non-U.S. holders, investment in a REIT that invests principally in mortgage loans and MBS is not the most tax-efficient way to invest in such assets. That is because receiving distributions of income derived from such assets in the form of REIT dividends subjects most non-U.S. holders to withholding taxes that direct investment in those asset classes, and the direct receipt of interest and principal payments with respect to them, would not.

 

A non-U.S. holder that receives a distribution from us that is not attributable to gain from our sale or exchange of “United States real property interests,” as defined below, and that we do not designate as a capital gain dividend or retained capital gain will recognize ordinary income to the extent that we pay the distribution out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits. A withholding tax equal to 30% of the gross amount of the distribution ordinarily will apply unless an applicable tax treaty reduces or eliminates the tax. Reduced treaty rates are not available to the extent that income is attributable to our excess inclusion income allocable to the non-U.S. holder. See “- Taxable Mortgage Pools and Excess Inclusion Income.” If a distribution is treated as effectively connected with the non-U.S. holder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the distribution will not incur the 30% withholding tax, but the non-U.S. holder generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the distribution at graduated rates, in the same manner as U.S. holders are taxed on distributions and also may be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the case of a corporate non-U.S. holder. In general, non-U.S. holders will not be considered to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business solely as a result of their ownership of our shares of common stock. It is expected that the applicable withholding agent will withhold U.S. income tax at the rate of 30% on the gross amount of any distribution that we do not designate as a capital gain distribution or retained capital gain and is paid to a non-U.S. holder unless either:

 

 

 

 

·a lower treaty rate applies and the non-U.S. holder files with the applicable withholding agent an IRS Form W-8BEN or IRS Form W-8BEN-E evidencing eligibility for that reduced rate, or

 

·the non-U.S. holder files with the applicable withholding agent an IRS Form W-8ECI claiming that the distribution is effectively connected income.

 

Capital gain dividends received or deemed received by a non-U.S. holder from us that are not attributable to gain from our sale or exchange of “United States real property interests,” as defined below, are generally not subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax, unless either (1) the non-U.S. holder’s investment in our shares of common stock is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business conducted by such non-U.S. holder (in which case the non-U.S. holder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. holders with respect to such gain) or (2) the non-U.S. holder 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 U.S. (in which case the non-U.S. holder will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s net capital gain for the year).

 

A non-U.S. holder will not incur tax on a distribution on the shares of common stock in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits if the excess portion of the distribution does not exceed the adjusted tax basis of its shares of common stock. Instead, the excess portion of the distribution will reduce such non-U.S. holder’s adjusted tax basis of its shares of common stock. A non-U.S. holder will be subject to tax on a distribution that exceeds both our current and accumulated earnings and profits and the adjusted basis of its shares of common stock, if the non-U.S. holder otherwise would be subject to tax on gain from the sale or disposition of its shares of common stock, as described below. Because we generally cannot determine at the time we make a distribution whether the distribution will exceed our current and accumulated earnings and profits, it is expected that the applicable withholding agent normally will withhold tax on the entire amount of any distribution at the same rate applicable to withholding on a dividend. However, a non-U.S. holder may obtain a refund of amounts that the applicable withholding agent withheld if we later determine that a distribution in fact exceeded our current and accumulated earnings and profits.

 

For any year in which we qualify as a REIT, a non-U.S. holder may incur tax on distributions that are attributable to gain from our sale or exchange of “United States real property interests” under special provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws known as “FIRPTA.” The term “United States real property interests” includes interests in real property and shares in corporations at least 50% of whose assets consist of interests in real property. The term “United States real property interests” generally does not include mortgage loans or MBS. Under the FIRPTA rules, a non-U.S. holder is taxed on distributions attributable to gain from sales of United States real property interests as if the gain were effectively connected with a U.S. business of the non-U.S. holder. A non-U.S. holder thus would be taxed on such a distribution at the normal capital gain rates applicable to U.S. holders, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of a nonresident alien individual. A non-U.S. corporate holder not entitled to treaty relief or exemption also may be subject to the 30% branch profits tax on such a distribution. Unless a non-U.S. holder qualifies for the exception described in the next paragraph, or is a qualified shareholder or a qualified foreign pension fund (both as defined below), the applicable withholding agent must withhold on any such distribution that we could designate as a capital gain dividend at a rate equal to the highest corporate income tax rate in effect (currently 21%). A non-U.S. holder may receive a credit against such holder’s tax liability for the amount withheld.

 

 

 

 

Capital gain distributions on our shares of common stock that are attributable to our sale of real property will be treated as ordinary dividends, rather than as gain from the sale of a United States real property interest, if (i) our shares of common stock are “regularly traded” on an established securities market in the United States and (ii) the non-U.S. holder does not own more than 10% of our shares of common stock during the one-year period preceding the distribution date. As a result, non-U.S. holders generally would be subject to withholding tax on such capital gain distributions in the same manner as they are subject to withholding tax on ordinary dividends. We believe that our common stock is treated as being regularly traded on an established securities market in the United States. If our common stock is not regularly traded on an established securities market in the United States or the non-U.S. holder owned more than 10% of our common stock at any time during the one-year period prior to the distribution, capital gain distributions that are attributable to our sale of real property would be subject to tax under FIRPTA. Moreover, if a non-U.S. holder disposes of our common stock during the 30-day period preceding a dividend payment, and such non-U.S. holder (or a person related to such non-U.S. holder) acquires or enters into a contract or option to acquire our common stock within 61 days of the 1st day of the 30 day period described above, and any portion of such dividend payment would, but for the disposition, be treated as a United States real property interest capital gain to such non-U.S. holder, then such non-U.S. holder will be treated as having United States real property interest capital gain in an amount that, but for the disposition, would have been treated as United States real property interest capital gain.

 

In addition, distributions to certain non-U.S. publicly traded shareholders that meet certain record-keeping and other requirements (“qualified shareholders”) are exempt from FIRPTA, except to the extent owners of such qualified shareholders that are not also qualified shareholders own, actually or constructively, more than 10% of our common stock. Furthermore, distributions to “qualified foreign pension funds” or entities all of the interests of which are held by “qualified foreign pension funds” are exempt from FIRPTA. Non-U.S. holders should consult their tax advisors regarding the application of these rules.

 

A non-U.S. holder generally will not incur tax under FIRPTA with respect to gain realized upon a disposition of our shares of common stock as long as we are not a United States real property holding corporation during a specified testing period. If at least 50% of a REIT’s assets are United States real property interests, then the REIT will be a United States real property holding corporation. We may be a United States real property holding corporation based on our investment strategy. In that case, gains from the sale of our shares of common stock by a non-U.S. holder could be subject to a FIRPTA tax. However, a non-U.S. holder generally would not incur tax under FIRPTA on gain from the sale of our shares of common stock if we were a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity.” A domestically controlled qualified investment entity includes a REIT in which, at all times during a specified testing period, less than 50% in value of its shares are held directly or indirectly by non-U.S. persons. For purposes of determining whether a REIT is a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity,” a person who at all applicable times holds less than 5% of a class of stock that is “regularly traded” is treated as a U.S. person unless the REIT has actual knowledge that such person is not a U.S. person.

 

If our common stock is regularly traded on an established securities market, an additional exception to the tax under FIRPTA will be available with respect to our common stock, even if we do not qualify as a domestically controlled qualified investment entity at the time the non-U.S. holder sells our common stock. Under that exception, the gain from such a sale by such a non-U.S. holder will not be subject to tax under FIRPTA if (i) our common stock is treated as being regularly traded under applicable Treasury Regulations on an established securities market and (ii) the non-U.S. holder owned, actually or constructively, 10% or less of our common stock at all times during a specified testing period. As noted above, we believe that our common stock is treated as being regularly traded on an established securities market in the United States. If the gain on the sale of our common stock were taxed under FIRPTA, a non-U.S. holder would be taxed on that gain in the same manner as U.S. holders, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals.

 

In addition, dispositions of our common stock by qualified shareholders are exempt from FIRPTA, except to the extent owners of such qualified shareholders that are not also qualified shareholders own, actually or constructively, more than 10% of our common stock. An actual or deemed disposition of our common stock by such shareholders may also be treated as a dividend. Furthermore, dispositions of our capital stock by “qualified foreign pension funds” or entities all of the interests of which are held by “qualified foreign pension funds” are exempt from FIRPTA. Non-U.S. holders should consult their tax advisors regarding the application of these rules.

 

 

 

 

Backup withholding will generally not apply to payments of dividends made by us or our paying agents, in their capacities as such, to a non-U.S. holder provided that the non-U.S. holder furnishes to the applicable withholding agent the required certification as to its non-U.S. status, such as providing a valid IRS Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E or W-8ECI, or certain other requirements are met. Notwithstanding the foregoing, backup withholding may apply if the applicable withholding agent has actual knowledge, or reason to know, that the holder is a U.S. person that is not an exempt recipient. Payments of the net proceeds from a disposition or a redemption effected outside the United States by a non-U.S. holder made by or through a foreign office of a broker generally will not be subject to information reporting or backup withholding. However, information reporting (but not backup withholding) generally will apply to such a payment if the broker has certain connections with the U.S. unless the broker has documentary evidence in its records that the beneficial owner is a non-U.S. holder and specified conditions are met or an exemption is otherwise established. Payment of the net proceeds from a disposition by a non-U.S. holder of shares of common stock made by or through the U.S. office of a broker is generally subject to information reporting and backup withholding unless the non-U.S. holder certifies under penalties of perjury that it is not a U.S. person and satisfies certain other requirements, or otherwise establishes an exemption from information reporting and backup withholding.

 

Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules may be refunded or credited against the non-U.S. holder’s U.S. federal income tax liability if certain required information is timely furnished to the IRS. Non-U.S. holders are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding application of backup withholding to them and the availability of, and procedure for obtaining an exemption from, backup withholding.

 

Legislative or Other Actions Affecting REITs

 

The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time. The REIT rules are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, which may result in statutory changes as well as revisions to regulations and interpretations. Additionally, several of the tax considerations described herein are currently under review and are subject to change. Prospective stockholders are urged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the effect of potential changes to the U.S. federal tax laws on an investment in our shares of common stock.

 

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

 

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, imposes a 30% U.S. withholding tax on certain U.S. source payments, including interest (and original issue discount), dividends, other fixed or determinable annual or periodical gain, profits, and income, and on the gross proceeds from a disposition of property of a type which can produce U.S. source interest or dividends, or Withholdable Payments, if paid to a foreign financial institution (including amounts paid to a foreign financial institution on behalf of a stockholder), unless such institution enters into an agreement with Treasury to collect and provide to Treasury certain information regarding U.S. financial account holders, including certain account holders that are foreign entities with U.S. owners, with such institution or otherwise complies with FATCA. FATCA also generally imposes a withholding tax of 30% on Withholdable Payments made to a non-financial foreign entity unless such entity provides the withholding agent with a certification that it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or a certification identifying the direct and indirect substantial U.S. owners of the entity. Under certain circumstances, a stockholder may be eligible for refunds or credits of such taxes.

 

Under recently proposed regulations (the preamble to which specifies that taxpayers are permitted to rely on them pending finalization), no withholding will apply on payments of gross proceeds. If we determine withholding is appropriate with respect to a Withholdable Payment, we will withhold tax at the applicable statutory rate, and we will not pay any additional amounts in respect of such withholding. Foreign financial institutions and non-financial foreign entities located in jurisdictions that have an intergovernmental agreement with the United States governing FATCA may be subject to different rules. Prospective investors are urged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the possible implications of FATCA on their investment in our common stock.

 

State, Local and Foreign Taxes

 

We and/or our subsidiaries and common stockholders may be subject to taxation by various states, localities or foreign jurisdictions, including those in which we, our subsidiaries, or our common stockholders transact business, own property or reside. We or our subsidiaries may own properties located in numerous jurisdictions and may be required to file tax returns in some or all of those jurisdictions. The state, local and foreign tax treatment of us and our common stockholders may differ from the U.S. federal income tax treatment of us and our common stockholders described above. Consequently, common stockholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the application and effect of state, local and foreign income and other tax laws upon an investment in our shares of common stock.

 

 

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