Background: Worldwide the Real Estate Investment Trust (“REIT”) market has grown significantly over the past few years and is playing an increasingly significant role in the property sector. The existence of the REIT structures is directly dependent on the taxation regulation thereof. In terms of the Income Tax Act, 1962 (Act 58 of 1962) (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”), a REIT can deduct from its income the amount of qualifying distributions made to the REITs shareholders. The REIT is required to distribute most of its profit as a qualifying distribution. If not, the REIT is taxed on the undistributed profit. A REIT is therefore treated partially as a conduit for income tax purposes. In South Africa the REIT structure is widely adopted with most of the listed property companies adopting this structure. Research into the effect of the taxation regulation on this sector is therefore critical to understand its efficiency and effect on society.
Main purpose of study: To provide a systematised review of academic research on the taxation of real estate investment trusts published in highly rated academic journals.
Method: Two databases were researched over the period 2007–2018 for peer reviewed articles published in an ABDC-rated journal that related to REITs and the taxation thereof. The identified articles were annotated and analysed in terms of the Taxonomy Framework included in Appendix B.
Results: We found and analysed 32 articles. Most of the studies were performed with a United States perspective focussing mainly on the investors into the REIT structures as the main benefactor to the research performed. Most of the identified articles fell into either the legislative or financial management discipline. A key finding of the study was that only 18.75% of the identified articles directly related to the taxation regulation of REITs.
Conclusions: As the existence of REITs is fully dependent on the taxation regulation therof, it is of critical importance that more research is required into this topic from a regulation perspective to establish the appropriateness of the current regulation in place as well as the appropriateness of the regulation for developing countries, and more specifically the South African environment.
Mini Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2019.