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rebates on foreign dividends with double taxation treaties


The Investor
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Hi there,

 

I'm wondering what the process is to get back tax paid on foreign dividends. I'm based in the UK, and for US dividends it's simple: you sign the W-8BEN form, and the tax that is deducted is automatically reduced to the correct amount according to the double taxation treaty. However for all other countries, it seems the governments do not go out of their way to make it easy to stop paying more than is required.

 

Any tips on the process for getting money back on dividends in the following countries would be appreciated. Although I know most of you will be based in the US, I suspect the process will be very similar.

 

France

Switzerland

New Zealand

South Africa

 

Cheers!

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The double taxation treaty does not reduce the tax to the correct amount. It just standardizes it to a flat say 15%. If your tax rate would have been lower , some may be recoverable on a tax return or maybe not. Usually you want a low withholding tax but I'm under no illusion that the treaty reduces the tax to the proper amount, just makes having to collect anything above a threshold much easier.

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I have never reclaimed taxes in France, but I believe that one is doable. See here for the form that needs to be completed: https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/files/formulaires/5001-sd/2018/5001-sd_2281.pdf My Dutch broker now even offers support to apply for lower withholding taxes in advance for French companies, similar to what is possible with the W8-BEN in the US. But think they are the exception, and most brokers don't offer this.

 

To reclaim taxes I believe you still need cooperation from your broker since they need to sign to form or provide an official dividend statement or something along those lines. Then you probably need to get the form signed by your local tax authority as well (to confirm that you are for tax purposes a resident of your country) and then you can send it to France and wait... (I have done successful tax reclaims in Sweden and Belgium, no experience with other countries).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think this is the Swiss link :

https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/en/home/verrechnungssteuer/verrechnungssteuer/dienstleistungen/ausland.html

 

It's fiddly, but not too bad.  Fill out the forms, get HMRC to stamp, and then on to the Swiss.

 

Oh and you'll need to download Snapform to open the form file.

 

Thanks. Yeah I had an old link that didn't work for Switzerland! Snapform  ;D

 

The double taxation treaty does not reduce the tax to the correct amount. It just standardizes it to a flat say 15%. If your tax rate would have been lower , some may be recoverable on a tax return or maybe not. Usually you want a low withholding tax but I'm under no illusion that the treaty reduces the tax to the proper amount, just makes having to collect anything above a threshold much easier.

 

The treaties in place seem to reduce the tax to exactly half the standard rate almost everywhere. 30% to 15% (ie. USA). 20% to 10% (ie. South Africa).

 

 

 

Cheers, that's a useful resource.

 

 

I have never reclaimed taxes in France, but I believe that one is doable. See here for the form that needs to be completed: https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/files/formulaires/5001-sd/2018/5001-sd_2281.pdf My Dutch broker now even offers support to apply for lower withholding taxes in advance for French companies, similar to what is possible with the W8-BEN in the US. But think they are the exception, and most brokers don't offer this.

 

To reclaim taxes I believe you still need cooperation from your broker since they need to sign to form or provide an official dividend statement or something along those lines. Then you probably need to get the form signed by your local tax authority as well (to confirm that you are for tax purposes a resident of your country) and then you can send it to France and wait... (I have done successful tax reclaims in Sweden and Belgium, no experience with other countries).

 

Bedankt Hielko  :) Cool that you can automatically get the correct rate for French companies. Maybe one day this kind of stuff will actually be correct by default rather than having to jump through a bunch of hoops.

 

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