The ever increasing popularity of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and similar vehicles demonstrates the growing demand for tax efficient, liquid and transparent vehicles for investing in real estate. Since its first enactment in the US in 1960, similar regimes have been set up in other countries around the world, the most recent being the Philippines, who introduced a REIT regime broadly similar to those of other Asian countries, towards the end of 2009. Typically a REIT regime will offer exempt tax status to investment companies or other vehicles which meet certain criteria as to ownership and investment portfolio, on the basis that the vehicle then distributes all or most of its profits to shareholders. In many but not all cases, the vehicle must also be listed.
This summary aims to set out the key regulatory, tax and legal rules for the establishment and operation of REITs or their local equivalent in all the major jurisdictions of the world which have introduced such a regime. The information is intended to be a guide only, and should not be relied on for investment decisions as the rules are liable to regular amendment and local interpretation. It is intended to be an overview of the position in each country, enabling a quick understanding to be gained of the type of regime in operation and how it compares to other regimes in the region or more widely. The information contained in this report was current at 31 October 2013.