We generally recommend creating a holding company to hold property investing companies as it helps to centralise management and can give guarantees to lenders.
Many business owners have a concern that if the holding company receives dividends from subsidiaries that they will be double taxed, once in the subsidiary (before paying dividends) and then on the profit in the holding company when in receives the investment income (dividends). This would be madness!
Dividends paid to UK Holding Companies are normally exempt from Corporation Tax.
A distribution made by a UK resident company and received by a UK resident company is generally not included in the recipient company’s CT profits. Similarly, such a distribution received by a non-UK resident company trading through a UK permanent establishment is not generally included in the CT profits of that permanent establishment. However, the way in which distributions received by companies are treated for tax purposes changed from 1 July 2009:
- Until 1 July 2009, ICTA88/S208 (and for a brief period CTA09/S1285) provided that corporation tax was not chargeable on distributions from UK resident companies.
- From 1 July 2009, the way in which distributions from UK resident companies are taxed was aligned with the treatment of distributions from non-UK companies in CTA09/S931A. (Previously, distributions from non-UK resident companies were charged to corporation tax as income from foreign possessions under ICTA88/S18, that is, under Case V of Schedule D). CTA09/S931A charges distributions from UK and non-UK resident companies to corporation tax, but then exempts these from charge in most cases. In practice, this means that most distributions – UK and non-UK sourced – are not chargeable to corporation tax unless these form part of avoidance arrangements.