On July 30, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 3221, the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 (the “Act”), significantly revamping certain rules related to real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). A REIT is an entity that is otherwise subject to tax as a U.S.
corporation, but has elected to be taxed under a preferential regime in which dividends distributed to
REIT shareholders are generally tax-deductible by the REIT. In effect, a REIT escapes the doubletax system applicable to corporations and REIT income is taxed only at the investor level. The Act clarifies certain rules for REIT qualification, increases the permissible size of REIT investments in taxable REIT subsidiaries and relaxes the REIT safe harbor for dealer sales. The following provides
a brief summary of the REIT provisions under the Act.
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