View:
8-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 8-K

 

 

CURRENT REPORT

Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

of The Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): March 4, 2019

 

 

CareTrust REIT, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Maryland   001-36181   46-3999490

(State or other jurisdiction

of incorporation)

 

(Commission

File Number)

 

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

 

905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 300,

San Clemente, CA

  92673
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (949) 542-3130

 

 

Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions (see General Instruction A.2 below):

 

Written communications pursuant to Rule 425 under the Securities Act (17 CFR 230.425)

 

Soliciting material pursuant to Rule 14a-12 under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14a-12)

 

Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 14d-2(b) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14d-2(b))

 

Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 13e-4(c) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.13e-4(c))

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933 (§230.405 of this chapter) or Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (§240.12b-2 of this chapter).

Emerging growth company  ☐

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act:  ☐

 

 

 


Item 8.01

Other Events

Certain Provisions of Maryland Law and of CareTrust REIT, Inc.’s Charter and Bylaws

The information included under the heading “Certain Provisions of Maryland Law and of CareTrust REIT, Inc.’s Charter and Bylaws” in Exhibit 99.1 hereto is incorporated by reference herein and supersedes and replaces, in its entirety, the discussion under the heading “Certain Provisions of Maryland Law and of CareTrust REIT, Inc.’s Charter and Bylaws” in the prospectus dated May 4, 2017, which is a part of the Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-217670) of CareTrust REIT, Inc. (the “Company”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 4, 2017 (the “Registration Statement”).

U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

The information included under the heading “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in Exhibit 99.2 hereto is incorporated by reference herein and supersedes and replaces, in its entirety, the discussion under the heading “U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the prospectus dated May 4, 2017, which is a part of the Company’s Registration Statement.

 

Item 9.01

Financial Statements and Exhibits

(d) Exhibits.

 

Exhibit No.

  

Description

99.1    Certain Provisions of Maryland Law and of CareTrust REIT, Inc.’s Charter and Bylaws
99.2    U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations


SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.

 

CARETRUST REIT, INC.
By:   /s/ William M. Wagner
Name:   William M. Wagner
Title:   Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary

Date: March 4, 2019

EX-99.1

Exhibit 99.1

CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF MARYLAND LAW AND OF CARETRUST REIT, INC.’S CHARTER AND BYLAWS

References to “we,” “us” and “our” in this section refer only to CareTrust REIT, Inc. and not to its consolidated subsidiaries.

Although the following summary describes certain provisions of Maryland law and of our charter (as amended, our “charter”) and our amended and restated bylaws (our “bylaws”), it is not a complete description of Maryland law, the MGCL provisions applicable to a Maryland real estate investment trust or our charter and bylaws. These descriptions may not contain all of the information that is important to you. You are encouraged to read the full text of our charter and bylaws, copies of which are included as exhibits to our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, which is incorporated by reference into the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, as well as the provisions of applicable Maryland law.

Amendments to Our Charter and Bylaws and Approval of Extraordinary Actions

Under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation generally cannot amend its charter, merge, consolidate, sell all or substantially all of its assets, engage in a statutory share exchange or dissolve unless the action is advised by the board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. However, a Maryland corporation may provide in its charter for approval of these actions by a lesser percentage, but not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Our charter provides that the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter is required to approve all charter amendments or extraordinary actions. However, Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to transfer all or substantially all of its assets without the approval of the stockholders of the corporation to one or more persons if all of the equity interests of the person or persons are owned, directly or indirectly, by the corporation.

Our bylaws may be adopted, altered or repealed, in whole or in part, or new bylaws may be adopted by (i) our board of directors or (ii) our stockholders with the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter by stockholders entitled to vote generally in the election of directors.

Removal of Directors; Vacancies on Our Board of Directors

Our charter provides that, subject to the rights of holders of any class or series of preferred stock separately entitled to elect one or more directors, a director (or the entire board of directors) may be removed only with “cause” (as defined in our charter), by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote in the election of directors, voting as a single class. We have elected to be subject to certain provisions of the MGCL, as a result of which our board of directors has the exclusive power to fill vacancies on the board of directors.

Business Combinations

Under the MGCL, “business combinations” between a Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder or an affiliate of an interested stockholder are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. These business combinations include a merger, consolidation, share exchange or, in circumstances specified in the statute, an asset transfer or issuance or reclassification of equity securities. An interested stockholder is defined as:

 

   

any person who beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting power of the corporation’s outstanding voting stock; or

 

   

an affiliate or associate of the corporation who, at any time within the two-year period prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of 10% or more of the voting power of the then outstanding voting stock of the corporation.

A person is not an interested stockholder under the statute if the board of directors approved in advance the transaction by which such person otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, a board of directors may provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by the board of directors.


After the five-year prohibition, any business combination between the Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder generally must be recommended by the board of directors of the corporation and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:

 

   

80% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation; and

 

   

two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of voting stock of the corporation other than shares held by the interested stockholder with whom or with whose affiliate the business combination is to be effected or held by an affiliate or associate of the interested stockholder, voting together as a single class.

These supermajority vote requirements do not apply if the corporation’s common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under the MGCL, for their shares in the form of cash or other consideration in the same form as previously paid by the interested stockholder for its shares. The statute permits various exemptions from its provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the board of directors before the time that the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Our board of directors has not opted out of the business combination provisions of the MGCL and, consequently, the five-year prohibition and the supermajority vote requirements apply to business combinations between us and any interested stockholder of ours.

We are subject to the business combination provisions described above. However, our board of directors may elect to opt out of the business combination provisions by resolution at any time in the future.

Control Share Acquisitions

Maryland law provides that issued and outstanding shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition have no voting rights except to the extent approved by a vote of two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Shares owned by the acquiror, by officers, or by employees who are directors of the corporation are excluded from shares entitled to vote on the matter. Control shares are voting shares of stock that, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquiror or in respect of which the acquiror is able to exercise or direct the exercise of voting power (except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy), would entitle the acquiror to, directly or indirectly, exercise voting power in electing directors within one of the following ranges of voting power:

 

   

one-tenth or more but less than one-third;

 

   

one-third or more but less than a majority; or

 

   

more than 50%.

Control shares do not include shares the acquiror is then entitled to vote as a result of having previously obtained stockholder approval. A control share acquisition means the acquisition of control shares, subject to certain exceptions.

A person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition may compel the board of directors of the corporation to call a special meeting of stockholders to be held within 50 days of demand to consider the voting rights of the shares. The right to compel the calling of a special meeting is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain conditions, including an undertaking to pay the expenses of the special meeting. If no request for a special meeting is made, the corporation may itself present the question at any stockholder meeting.

If voting rights are not approved at the special meeting or if the acquiror does not deliver an acquiring person statement as required by the statute, then the corporation may, subject to certain conditions and limitations, redeem for fair value any or all of the control shares, except those for which voting rights have previously been approved. Fair value is determined, without regard to the absence of voting rights for the control shares, as of the date of the last control share acquisition by the acquiror or of any meeting of stockholders at which the voting rights of the shares are considered and not approved. If voting rights for control shares are approved at a stockholder meeting and the acquiror becomes entitled to vote a majority of the shares entitled to vote, all other stockholders may exercise appraisal rights. The fair value of the shares as determined for purposes of appraisal rights may not be less than the highest price per share paid by the acquiror in the control share acquisition.


The control share acquisition statute does not apply to (1) shares acquired in a merger, consolidation or share exchange if the corporation is a party to the transaction, or (2) acquisitions approved or exempted by the charter or bylaws of the corporation.

Our bylaws contain a provision that exempts from the MGCL’s control share acquisition statute any and all acquisitions by any person of shares of our stock. However, there can be no assurance that this provision will not be amended or eliminated, in whole or in part, at any time in the future.

Subtitle 8

Subtitle 8 of Title 3 of the MGCL permits a Maryland corporation with a class of equity securities registered under the Exchange Act and at least three independent directors to elect to be subject, by provision in its charter or bylaws or by a resolution of its board of directors and notwithstanding any contrary provision in the charter or bylaws, to any or all of five provisions:

 

   

a classified board;

 

   

a two-thirds vote requirement for removing a director;

 

   

a requirement that the number of directors be fixed only by vote of the directors;

 

   

a requirement that a vacancy on the board be filled only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors in office and such director shall hold office for the remainder of the full term of the class of directors in which the vacancy occurred and until a successor is elected and qualified; and

 

   

a majority requirement for the calling of a special meeting of stockholders.

In connection with our 2018 annual meeting of stockholders, we amended our charter to reflect that we have elected to be subject to the provisions of Subtitle 8 that vests in our board of directors the exclusive power to fix the number of directors and requires that vacancies on the board may be filled only by the remaining directors and for the remainder of the full term of the directors in which the vacancy occurred. Through provisions in our bylaws unrelated to Subtitle 8, we require, unless called by our chairman, chief executive officer, president or the board of directors, the request of stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of the votes entitled to be cast at such meeting to call a special meeting of stockholders.

In addition, also in connection with our 2018 annual meeting of stockholders, our board of directors and stockholders approved amendments to our charter to declassify the board of directors and phase in the annual election of directors beginning at the 2018 annual meeting of stockholders. Accordingly, beginning at our 2018 annual meeting of stockholders, directors whose terms expire at the annual meeting at which they are to be elected will stand for election for a one-year term and will hold office until their respective successors are elected and qualified or until their earlier resignation or removal. Therefore, beginning with our 2020 annual meeting of stockholders, the entire board of directors will be elected on an annual basis.

Special Meetings of the Stockholders

Our bylaws provide that our chairman, chief executive officer, president or board of directors has the power to call a special meeting of stockholders. A special meeting of our stockholders to act on any matter that may properly be brought before a meeting of stockholders will also be called by the secretary upon the written request of stockholders entitled to cast a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast on such matter at the meeting and containing the information required by our bylaws. The secretary is required to inform the requesting stockholders of the reasonably estimated cost of preparing and mailing the notice of meeting (including its proxy materials), and the requesting stockholder is required to pay such estimated cost to the secretary prior to the preparation and mailing of any notice for such special meeting.

Transactions Outside the Ordinary Course of Business

Under the MGCL, a Maryland corporation generally may not dissolve, merge or consolidate with another entity, sell all or substantially all of its assets or engage in a statutory share exchange unless the action is declared advisable


by the board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter, unless a lesser percentage (but not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter) is specified in the corporation’s charter. Our charter provides that these actions must be approved by a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.

Dissolution of Our Company

The dissolution of our company must be declared advisable by a majority of our entire board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.

Advance Notice of Director Nomination and New Business

Our bylaws provide that, at any annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of individuals for election to the board of directors and proposals of business to be considered by stockholders may generally be made only (1) pursuant to our notice of the meeting (or any supplement thereto), (2) by or at the direction of the board of directors or (3) by a stockholder who (i) was a stockholder of record both at the time of giving of notice by the stockholder and at the time of the annual meeting, (ii) is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of directors or on any such other proposed business and (iii) has complied with the advance notice procedures of our bylaws. The stockholder must provide notice to our secretary not earlier than the 150th day and not later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time on the 120th day prior to the first anniversary of the date of our proxy statement for the solicitation of proxies for the election of directors at the preceding year’s annual meeting.

Only the business specified in our notice of meeting may be brought before any special meeting of stockholders. Our bylaws provide that nominations of individuals for election to our board of directors at a special meeting of stockholders may be made only (1) by or at the direction of our board of directors or (2) if the special meeting has been called for the purpose of electing directors, by any stockholder who (i) was a stockholder of record both at the time of giving of notice by the stockholders and at the time of the meeting, (ii) is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual so nominated and (iii) has complied with the advance notice provisions set forth in our bylaws. Such stockholder will be entitled to nominate one or more individuals, as the case may be, for election as a director if the stockholder’s notice, containing the information required by our bylaws, is delivered to our secretary not earlier than the 120th day prior to such special meeting and not later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on the later of (i) the 90th day prior to such special meeting or (ii) the tenth day following the day on which public announcement is first made of the date of the special meeting and of the nominees proposed by the board of directors to be elected at such meeting.

The purpose of requiring stockholders to give advance notice of nominations and other proposals is to afford our board of directors the opportunity to consider the qualifications of the proposed nominees or the advisability of the other proposals and, to the extent considered necessary by our board of directors, to inform stockholders and make recommendations regarding such nominations or other proposals. The advance notice procedures also permit a more orderly procedure for conducting stockholder meetings.

Choice of Forum

Our bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternate forum, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland (the “Court”) shall be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the MGCL, or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine, and any record or beneficial stockholder of CareTrust REIT who commences such an action shall cooperate in a request that the action be assigned to the Court’s Business & Technology Case Management Program.

Effect of Certain Provisions of Our Charter and Bylaws and of Maryland Law

The restrictions on transfer and ownership of our stock contained in our charter prohibit any person from acquiring more than 9.8% in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of our common stock, or more than 9.8% in value of the outstanding shares of all classes or series of our stock, without the prior consent of our board of directors. In addition, the MGCL’s business combination statute may discourage others from trying to acquire more than 10% of our stock without the advance approval of our board of directors, and may substantially delay or increase the difficulty of consummating any transaction with or change in control of us. Because our board of directors is able to approve exceptions to the ownership limits and exempt transactions from the MGCL’s business combination statute, the ownership limits and the business combination statute will not interfere with a merger or other business combination approved by our board of directors. The power of our board of directors to classify and reclassify unissued common stock or preferred stock, and authorize the issuance of classified or reclassified shares, could also have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control or other transaction.


In connection with our 2018 annual meeting of stockholders, our board of directors and stockholders approved amendments to our charter to declassify the board of directors and phase in the annual election of directors beginning at the 2018 annual meeting of stockholders. Accordingly, beginning at our 2018 annual meeting of stockholders, directors elected at any annual meeting of stockholders will be elected for a one-year term and will hold office until their respective successors are elected and qualified or until their earlier resignation or removal. Therefore, beginning with our 2020 annual meeting of stockholders, the entire board of directors will be elected on an annual basis. Accordingly, until the 2020 annual meeting of stockholders, when all of our directors will be elected for a term expiring at the next annual meeting of stockholders, our board structure could have the effect of making the replacement of certain incumbent directors more time consuming and difficult. Additionally, until the 2020 annual meeting of stockholders, our board structure may delay, defer or prevent a tender offer, an attempt to the change control of us, even though a tender offer or change in control might be believed by our stockholders to be in their best interest.

The provisions described above, along with other provisions of the MGCL and our charter and bylaws discussed above, including provisions relating to the removal of directors and the filling of vacancies, the supermajority vote that is required to amend certain provisions of our charter, the advance notice provisions and the procedures that stockholders are required to follow to request a special meeting, alone or in combination, could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a proxy contest, tender offer, merger or other change in control of us that might involve a premium price for shares of our common stockholders or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders, and could increase the difficulty of consummating any offer.

Indemnification of Directors and Executive Officers

Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to include in its charter a provision that limits the liability of its directors and officers to the corporation and its stockholders for money damages, except for liability resulting from (1) actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or (2) active or deliberate dishonesty that is established by a final judgment and that is material to the cause of action. Our charter contains a provision that limits, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland statutory or decisional law, the liability of our directors and officers to us and our stockholders for money damages.

Maryland law requires a Maryland corporation (unless otherwise provided in its charter, which our charter does not) to indemnify a director or officer who has been successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made or threatened to be made a party by reason of his or her service in that capacity. Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to indemnify its present and former directors and officers, among others, against judgments, penalties, fines, settlements and reasonable expenses actually incurred by them in connection with any proceeding to which they may be made or threatened to be made a party by reason of their service in that capacity unless it is established that:

 

   

the act or omission of the director or officer was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding and (1) was committed in bad faith or (2) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty;

 

   

the director or officer actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services; or

 

   

in the case of any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful.

Under the MGCL, we may not indemnify a director or officer in a suit by us or in our right in which the director or officer was adjudged liable to us or in a suit in which the director or officer was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received. A court may order indemnification if it determines that the director or officer is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification, even though the director or officer did not meet the prescribed standard of conduct or was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received. However, indemnification for an adverse judgment in a suit by the corporation or in its right, or for a judgment of liability on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received, will be limited to expenses.


In addition, Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer upon receipt of (1) a written affirmation by the director or officer of his or her good faith belief that he or she has met the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification and (2) a written undertaking by him or her, or on his or her behalf, to repay the amount paid or reimbursed if it is ultimately determined that the standard of conduct was not met.

Our bylaws require, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, that we indemnify and pay or reimburse the reasonable costs, fees and expenses (including attorney’s costs, fees and expenses) in advance of the final disposition of a proceeding of (1) any present or former director or officer and (2) any individual who, while a director or officer and, at our request, serves or has served another corporation, REIT, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise as a director, officer, partner, trustee, member or manager, in each case, who was or is made or threatened to be made a party to any pending or contemplated action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative proceeding may incur by reason of his or her service in any of the foregoing capacities.

In addition, our bylaws permit us, with the approval of our board of directors, to provide such indemnification and payment or reimbursement of expenses in advance to any individual who served a predecessor of ours in any of the capacities described in the paragraph above and to any employee or agent of ours or a predecessor of ours.

We have entered into indemnification agreements with each of our executive officers and directors providing for the indemnification of, and advancement of expenses to, each such person in connection with claims, suits or proceedings arising as a result of such person’s service as an officer or director of ours. We also maintain insurance on behalf of our directors and officers, insuring them against liabilities that they may incur in such capacities or arising from this status.

EX-99.2

Exhibit 99.2

U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following is a summary of the material U.S. federal income tax consequences of an investment in our common stock. For purposes of this section, references to “CareTrust,” “we,” “our” and “us” generally mean only CareTrust REIT, Inc. and not its subsidiaries or other lower-tier entities, except as otherwise indicated. This summary is based on the Code, the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury”), rulings and other administrative pronouncements issued by the IRS, and judicial decisions, all as currently in effect, and all of which are subject to differing interpretations or to change, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax consequences described below. The summary is also based upon the assumption that we and our subsidiaries and affiliated entities will operate in accordance with our and their applicable organizational documents. This summary is for general information only and is not tax advice. It does not discuss any state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences relevant to us or an investment in our common stock, and it does not purport to discuss all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be important to a particular investor in light of its investment or tax circumstances or to investors subject to special tax rules, such as:

 

   

financial institutions;

 

   

insurance companies;

 

   

broker-dealers;

 

   

regulated investment companies;

 

   

partnerships, other pass-through entities and trusts;

 

   

persons who hold our stock on behalf of other persons as nominees;

 

   

persons who receive our stock as compensation;

 

   

persons holding our stock as part of a “straddle,” “hedge,” “conversion transaction,” “synthetic security” or other integrated investment;

 

   

persons who are subject to alternative minimum tax;

 

   

and, except to the extent discussed below:

 

   

tax-exempt organizations; and

 

   

foreign investors.

This summary assumes that investors will hold their common stock as a capital asset, which generally means property held for investment.

The U.S. federal income tax treatment of holders of our common stock depends, in some instances, on determinations of fact and interpretations of complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. In addition, the tax consequences to any particular stockholder of holding our common stock will depend on the stockholder’s particular tax circumstances. You are urged to consult with your tax advisor as to the U.S. federal, state, local, and foreign income and other tax consequences to you in light of your particular investment or tax circumstances of acquiring, holding, exchanging, or otherwise disposing of our common stock.


Taxation of CareTrust

We have elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2014. We believe that we have been organized, and have operated, in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the applicable provisions of the Code.

The law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP has acted as our tax counsel (“Tax Counsel”) in connection with the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part. We currently operate, and intend to continue to operate, in a manner that will allow us to qualify to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and we have received an opinion of Tax Counsel with respect to our qualification to be taxed as a REIT, which is filed as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. Investors should be aware, however, that opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS or any court. The opinion of Tax Counsel represents only the view of Tax Counsel, based on its review and analysis of existing law and on certain representations as to factual matters and covenants made by us, including representations relating to the values of our assets and the sources of our income. The opinion is expressed as of the date issued. Tax Counsel will have no obligation to advise us or the holders of our common stock of any subsequent change in the matters stated, represented or assumed or of any subsequent change in applicable law. Furthermore, both the validity of the opinion of Tax Counsel and our qualification to be taxed as a REIT will depend on our satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis, the results of which will not be monitored by Tax Counsel. Our ability to satisfy the asset tests depends upon our analysis of the characterization and fair market values of our assets, some of which are not susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we will not obtain independent appraisals.

Taxation of REITs in General

As indicated above, our qualification and taxation as a REIT depend upon our ability to meet, on a continuing basis, various qualification requirements imposed upon REITs by the Code. The material qualification requirements are summarized below under “—Requirements for Qualification—General.” While we intend to continue to operate so that we qualify to be taxed as a REIT, no assurance can be given that the IRS will not challenge our qualification or that we will be able to operate in accordance with the REIT requirements in the future. See “—Failure to Qualify.”

Provided that we qualify to be taxed as a REIT, generally we will be entitled to a deduction for dividends that we pay and therefore will not be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our net REIT taxable income that is currently distributed to our stockholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” at the corporate and stockholder levels that generally results from an investment in a C corporation. A “C corporation” is a corporation that generally is required to pay tax at the corporate level. Double taxation means taxation once at the corporate level when income is earned and once again at the stockholder level when the income is distributed. In general, the income that we generate is taxed only at the stockholder level upon a distribution of dividends to our stockholders.

U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts or estates are taxed on corporate dividends at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% (the same as long-term capital gains). With limited exceptions, however, dividends from us or from other entities that are taxed as REITs are generally not eligible for this rate and will continue to be taxed at rates applicable to ordinary income. The highest marginal noncorporate U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to ordinary income is 37%. However, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, non-corporate taxpayers may deduct up to 20% of certain qualified business income, including “qualified REIT dividends” (generally, dividends received by our stockholders that are not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income), subject to certain limitations, resulting in an effective maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 29.6% on such income. See “—Taxation of Stockholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders—Distributions.”

Any net operating losses, foreign tax credits and other tax attributes generally do not pass through to our stockholders, subject to special rules for certain items such as the capital gains that we recognize. See “—Taxation of Stockholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders—Distributions.”

 

2


Even if we qualify to be taxed as a REIT, we will nonetheless be subject to U.S. federal tax in the following circumstances:

 

   

We will be taxed at regular corporate rates on any undistributed net taxable income, including undistributed net capital gains.

 

   

For taxable years prior to January 1, 2018, we may be subject to the “alternative minimum tax” on our items of tax preference, including any deductions of net operating losses.

 

   

If we have net income from prohibited transactions, which are, in general, sales or other dispositions of inventory or property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, other than foreclosure property, such income will be subject to a 100% tax. See “—Prohibited Transactions” and “—Foreclosure Property.”

 

   

If we elect to treat property that we acquire in connection with a foreclosure of a mortgage loan or certain leasehold terminations as “foreclosure property,” we may thereby avoid the 100% tax on gain from a resale of that property (if the sale would otherwise constitute a prohibited transaction), but the income from the sale or operation of the property may be subject to corporate income tax at the highest applicable rate (currently 21%).

 

   

If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as discussed below, but nonetheless maintain our qualification to be taxed as a REIT because we satisfy other requirements, we will be subject to a 100% tax on an amount based on the magnitude of the failure, as adjusted to reflect the profit margin associated with our gross income.

 

   

If we violate the asset tests (other than certain de minimis violations) or other requirements applicable to REITs, as described below, and yet maintain our qualification to be taxed as a REIT because there is reasonable cause for the failure and other applicable requirements are met, we may be subject to a penalty tax. In that case, the amount of the penalty tax will be at least $50,000 per failure, and, in the case of certain asset test failures, will be determined as the amount of net income generated by the non-qualifying assets in question multiplied by the highest corporate tax rate (currently 21%) if that amount exceeds $50,000 per failure.

 

   

If we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (1) 85% of our ordinary income for such year, (2) 95% of our capital gain net income for such year and (3) any undistributed net taxable income from prior periods, we will be subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the sum of (a) the amounts that we actually distributed and (b) the amounts we retained and upon which we paid income tax at the corporate level.

 

   

We may be required to pay monetary penalties to the IRS in certain circumstances, including if we fail to meet record-keeping requirements intended to monitor our compliance with rules relating to the composition of a REIT’s stockholders, as described below in “—Requirements for Qualification—General.”

 

   

A 100% tax may be imposed on transactions between us and a taxable REIT subsidiary (“TRS”) that do not reflect arm’s-length terms.

 

   

If we recognize gain on the disposition of any asset held by us on the day after the effective date of the Spin-Off (when our election to be subject to tax as a REIT became effective) during a specified period (generally, five years) thereafter, then we will owe tax at the highest corporate tax rate on the lesser of (1) the excess of the fair market value of the asset on the effective date of our election to be subject to tax as a REIT over its basis in the asset at such time, and (2) the gain recognized upon the disposition of such asset.

 

3


   

If after the effective date of our election to be subject to tax as a REIT, we acquire appreciated assets from a corporation that is not a REIT (i.e., a corporation taxable under subchapter C of the Code) in a transaction in which the adjusted tax basis of the assets in our hands is determined by reference to the adjusted tax basis of the assets in the hands of the subchapter C corporation, we may be subject to tax on such appreciation at the highest corporate income tax rate then applicable if we subsequently recognize gain on a disposition of any such assets during the five-year period following their acquisition from the subchapter C corporation.

 

   

The earnings of our TRSs will generally be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax.

In addition, we and our subsidiaries may be subject to a variety of taxes, including payroll taxes and state, local, and foreign income, property, gross receipts and other taxes on our assets and operations. We could also be subject to tax in situations and on transactions not presently contemplated.

Requirements for Qualification—General

The Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:

 

  (1)

that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;

 

  (2)

the beneficial ownership of which is evidenced by transferable shares, or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest;

 

  (3)

that would be taxable as a domestic corporation but for its election to be subject to tax as a REIT;

 

  (4)

that is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company subject to specific provisions of the Code;

 

  (5)

the beneficial ownership of which is held by 100 or more persons;

 

  (6)

in which, during the last half of each taxable year, not more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer “individuals” (as defined in the Code to include specified tax-exempt entities); and

 

  (7)

that meets other tests described below, including with respect to the nature of its income and assets.

The Code provides that conditions (1) through (4) must be met during the entire taxable year, and that condition (5) must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months, or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year. Conditions (5) and (6) need not be met during a corporation’s initial tax year as a REIT (which, in our case, was 2014). Our charter provides restrictions regarding the ownership and transfers of shares of our stock, which are intended to assist us in satisfying the stock ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above, among other purposes. These restrictions, however, may not ensure that we will, in all cases, be able to satisfy the share ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above. If we fail to satisfy these share ownership requirements, except as provided in the next sentence, our status as a REIT will terminate. If, however, we comply with the rules contained in applicable Treasury regulations that require us to ascertain the actual ownership of our shares and we do not know, or would not have known through the exercise of reasonable diligence, that we failed to meet the requirement described in condition (6) above, we will be treated as having met this requirement.

To monitor compliance with the stock ownership requirements, we generally are required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our stock. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of significant percentages of our stock pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the stock (i.e., the persons required to include our dividends in their gross income). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record-keeping requirements. If such record holder fails or refuses to comply with the demands, such record holder will be required by Treasury regulations to submit a statement with such record holder’s tax return disclosing such record holder’s actual ownership of our stock and other information.

 

4


In addition, a corporation generally may not elect to become a REIT unless its taxable year is the calendar year. We have adopted December 31 as our year-end, and therefore satisfy this requirement.

Effect of Subsidiary Entities

Ownership of Partnership Interests

If we are a partner in an entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, Treasury regulations provide that we are deemed to own our proportionate share of the partnership’s assets, and to earn our proportionate share of the partnership’s income, for purposes of the asset and gross income tests applicable to REITs. Our proportionate share of a partnership’s assets and income is based on our capital interest in the partnership (except that for purposes of the 10% value test, described below, our proportionate share of the partnership’s assets is based on our proportionate interest in the equity and certain debt securities issued by the partnership). In addition, the assets and gross income of the partnership are deemed to retain the same character in our hands. Thus, our proportionate share of the assets and items of income of any of our subsidiary partnerships will be treated as our assets and items of income for purposes of applying the REIT requirements.

If we become a limited partner or non-managing member in any partnership or limited liability company and such entity takes or expects to take actions that could jeopardize our status as a REIT or require us to pay tax, we may be forced to dispose of our interest in such entity. In addition, it is possible that a partnership or limited liability company could take an action which could cause us to fail a gross income or asset test, and that we would not become aware of such action in time to dispose of our interest in the partnership or limited liability company or take other corrective action on a timely basis. In that case, we could fail to qualify to be taxed as a REIT unless we were entitled to relief, as described below under “—Income Tests—Failure to Satisfy the Gross Income Tests” and “—Asset Tests.”

Disregarded Subsidiaries

If we own a corporate subsidiary that is a “qualified REIT subsidiary,” that subsidiary is generally disregarded as a separate entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and all of the subsidiary’s assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit are treated as our assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit, including for purposes of the gross income and asset tests applicable to REITs. A qualified REIT subsidiary is any corporation, other than a TRS (as described below), that is directly or indirectly wholly owned by a REIT. Other entities that are wholly owned by us, including single member limited liability companies that have not elected to be taxed as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, are also generally disregarded as separate entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests. Disregarded subsidiaries, along with any partnerships in which we hold an equity interest, are sometimes referred to herein as “pass-through subsidiaries.”

In the event that a disregarded subsidiary of ours ceases to be wholly owned—for example, if any equity interest in the subsidiary is acquired by a person other than us or another disregarded subsidiary of ours—the subsidiary’s separate existence would no longer be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, the subsidiary would have multiple owners and would be treated as either a partnership or a taxable corporation. Such an event could, depending on the circumstances, adversely affect our ability to satisfy the various asset and gross income requirements applicable to REITs, including the requirement that REITs generally may not own, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the securities of another corporation. See “—Asset Tests” and “—Income Tests.”

Taxable REIT Subsidiaries

In general, we may jointly elect with a subsidiary corporation, whether or not wholly owned, to treat such subsidiary corporation as a TRS. We generally may not own more than 10% of the securities of a taxable corporation, as measured by voting power or value, unless we and such corporation elect to treat such corporation as a TRS. The separate existence of a TRS or other taxable corporation is not ignored for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporation generally is subject to corporate income tax on its earnings, which may reduce the cash flow that we and our subsidiaries generate in the aggregate, and may reduce our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

5


We are not treated as holding the assets of a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporation or as receiving any income that the subsidiary earns. Rather, the stock issued by a taxable subsidiary corporation to us is an asset in our hands, and we treat the dividends paid to us from such taxable subsidiary corporation, if any, as income. This treatment can affect our income and asset test calculations, as described below. Because we do not include the assets and income of TRSs or other taxable subsidiary corporations on a look-through basis in determining our compliance with the REIT requirements, we may use such entities to undertake indirectly activities that the REIT rules might otherwise preclude us from doing directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. For example, we may use TRSs or other taxable subsidiary corporations to perform services or conduct activities that give rise to certain categories of income or to conduct activities that, if conducted by us directly, would be treated in our hands as prohibited transactions.

A TRS may not directly or indirectly operate or manage a healthcare facility. The Code defines a “healthcare facility” generally to mean a hospital, nursing facility, assisted living facility, congregate care facility, qualified continuing care facility, or other licensed facility which extends medical or nursing or ancillary services to patients. If the IRS were to treat a subsidiary corporation of ours as directly or indirectly operating or managing a healthcare facility, such subsidiary would not qualify as a TRS, which could jeopardize our REIT qualification under the REIT 5% and 10% gross asset tests.

Although a TRS may not operate or manage a healthcare facility, rent received by a REIT from the lease of a healthcare facility to a TRS may qualify as “rents from real property” for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests, provided that the facility is operated by an “eligible independent contractor.” Qualification as an eligible independent contractor, however, involves the application of highly technical and complex Code provisions for which only limited authorities exist.

The TRS rules limit the deductibility of interest paid or accrued by a TRS to its parent REIT to assure that the TRS is subject to an appropriate level of corporate taxation. Further, the rules impose a 100% excise tax on transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT or the REIT’s tenants that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis. We intend that all of our transactions with our TRSs, if any, will be conducted on an arm’s-length basis. We may make loans to certain of our TRSs. Deductions for interest paid on any such loan by a TRS may be limited to the sum of (i) the interest income of the TRS for the taxable year, and (ii) 30% of the adjusted taxable income for the taxable year.

Income Tests

In order to qualify to be taxed as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income requirements on an annual basis. First, at least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year, excluding gross income from sales of inventory or dealer property in “prohibited transactions,” discharge of indebtedness and certain hedging transactions, generally must be derived from “rents from real property,” gains from the sale of real estate assets (excluding gain from the sale of a “nonqualified publicly offered REIT debt instrument” (defined as a real estate asset that qualifies as such only because of the rule treating debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs as real estate assets) for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015), interest income derived from mortgage loans secured by real property (including certain types of mortgage-backed securities), dividends received from other REITs and specified income from temporary investments. Second, at least 95% of our gross income in each taxable year, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, discharge of indebtedness and certain hedging transactions, must be derived from some combination of income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test described above, as well as other dividends, interest, and gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities, which need not have any relation to real property. Income and gain from certain hedging transactions will be excluded from both the numerator and the denominator for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

 

6


Rents from Real Property

Rents we receive from a tenant will qualify as “rents from real property” for the purpose of satisfying the gross income requirements for a REIT described above only if all of the conditions described below are met.

 

   

The amount of rent is not based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, an amount we receive or accrue will generally not be excluded from the term “rents from real property” solely because it is based on a fixed-percentage or percentages of receipts or sales;

 

   

Neither we nor an actual or constructive owner of 10% or more of our stock actually or constructively owns 10% or more of the interests in the assets or net profits of a noncorporate tenant, or, if the tenant is a corporation (but excluding any TRS), 10% or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote or 10% or more of the total value of all classes of stock of the tenant. Rents we receive from such a tenant that is a TRS of ours, however, will not be excluded from the definition of “rents from real property” as a result of this condition if at least 90% of the space at the property to which the rents relate is leased to third parties, and the rents paid by the TRS are substantially comparable to rents paid by our other tenants for comparable space. Whether rents paid by a TRS are substantially comparable to rents paid by other tenants is determined at the time the lease with the TRS is entered into, extended, and modified, if such modification increases the rents due under such lease. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, if a lease with a “controlled TRS” is modified and such modification results in an increase in the rents payable by such TRS, any such increase will not qualify as “rents from real property.” For purposes of this rule, a “controlled TRS” is a TRS in which the parent REIT owns stock possessing more than 50% of the voting power or more than 50% of the total value of the outstanding stock of such TRS. In addition, rents we receive from a tenant that also is our TRS will not be excluded from the definition of “rents from real property” as a result of our ownership interest in the TRS if the property to which the rents relate is a qualified lodging facility or a qualified health care property, and such property is operated on behalf of the TRS by a person who is an independent contractor and certain other requirements are met. Our TRSs will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on their income from the operations of these properties;

 

   

Rent attributable to personal property that is leased in connection with a lease of real property is not greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease. If this condition is not met, then the portion of the rent attributable to personal property will not qualify as “rents from real property”; and

 

   

We generally do not operate or manage the property or furnish or render services to our tenants, subject to a 1% de minimis and except as provided below. We are permitted, however, to perform directly certain services that are “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and are not otherwise considered “rendered to the occupant” of the property. Examples of these permitted services include the provision of light, heat or other utilities, trash removal and general maintenance of common areas. In addition, we are permitted to employ an independent contractor from whom we derive no revenues (a “TRS”), which may be wholly or partially owned by us, to provide non-customary services to our tenants without causing the rent that we receive from those tenants to fail to qualify as “rents from real property.”

Interest Income

Interest income constitutes qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the 75% gross income test (as described above) to the extent that the obligation upon which such interest is paid is secured by a mortgage on (i) real property or an interest in real property or (ii) property described in (i) and other property if such other property constitutes 15% or less of the total fair market value of the secured property. If we receive interest income with respect to a mortgage loan that is secured by both real property and other property, and the highest principal amount of the loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property on the date that we acquired or originated the mortgage loan, the interest income will be apportioned between the real property and the other collateral, and our

 

7


income from the arrangement will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test only to the extent that the interest is allocable to the real property. Even if a loan is not secured by real property, or is undersecured, the income that it generates may nonetheless qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test. For these purposes, the term “interest” generally does not include any amount received or accrued, directly or indirectly, if the determination of all or some of the amount depends in any way on the income or profits of any person. However, an amount received or accrued will generally not be excluded from the term “interest” solely by reason of being based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales.

Dividend Income

We may directly or indirectly receive distributions from TRSs or other corporations that are not REITs or qualified REIT subsidiaries. These distributions generally are treated as dividend income to the extent of the earnings and profits of the distributing corporation. Such distributions will generally constitute qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test, but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Any dividends that we receive from another REIT, however, will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 95% and 75% gross income tests.

Fee Income

Any fee income that we earn will generally not be qualifying income for purposes of either gross income test. Any fees earned by a TRS, however, will not be included for purposes of our gross income tests.

Hedging Transactions

Any income or gain that we or our pass-through subsidiaries derive from instruments that hedge certain risks, such as the risk of changes in interest rates, will be excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests, provided that specified requirements are met, including the requirement that the instrument is entered into during the ordinary course of our business, the instrument hedges risks associated with indebtedness issued by us or our pass-through subsidiary that is incurred or to be incurred to acquire or carry “real estate assets” (as described below under “—Asset Tests”), and the instrument is properly identified as a hedge along with the risk that it hedges within prescribed time periods. Most likely, income and gain from all other hedging transactions will not be qualifying income for either the 95% or 75% gross income test.

Failure to Satisfy the Gross Income Tests

If we fail to satisfy one or both of the 75% or 95% gross income tests for any taxable year, including as a result of rents received by us from Ensign failing to qualify as “rents from real property,” we may still qualify to be taxed as a REIT for such year if we are entitled to relief under applicable provisions of the Code. These relief provisions will be generally available if (1) our failure to meet these tests was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect and (2) following our identification of the failure to meet the 75% or 95% gross income test for any taxable year, we file a schedule with the IRS setting forth each item of our gross income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test for such taxable year in accordance with Treasury regulations, which have not yet been issued. It is not possible to state whether we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions in all circumstances. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances, we will not qualify to be taxed as a REIT. Even if these relief provisions apply, and we retain our status as a REIT, the Code imposes a tax based upon the amount by which we fail to satisfy the particular gross income test.

Asset Tests

At the close of each calendar quarter, we must also satisfy certain tests relating to the nature of our assets. First, at least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by some combination of “real estate assets,” cash, cash items, U.S. government securities, and, under some circumstances, stock or debt instruments purchased with new capital. For this purpose, real estate assets include interests in real property (including interests in mortgages on real property, and for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, mortgages on interests in real property) and stock of other corporations that qualify as REITs, as well as some kinds of mortgage-backed securities and mortgage loans. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, the term “real estate assets” also includes debt

 

8


instruments issued by publicly offered REITs, personal property securing a mortgage secured by both real property and personal property if the fair market value of such personal property does not exceed 15% of the total fair market value of all such property, and personal property leased in connection with a lease of real property for which the rent attributable to personal property is not greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease. Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.

Second, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities (including securities of TRSs), other than those securities includible in the 75% asset test.

Third, the value of any one issuer’s securities that we own may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets, and we may not own more than 10% of any one issuer’s outstanding securities, as measured by either voting power or value. The 5% and 10% asset tests do not apply to securities of TRSs and qualified REIT subsidiaries, and the 10% asset test does not apply to “straight debt” having specified characteristics and to certain other securities described below. Solely for purposes of the 10% asset test, the determination of our interest in the assets of a partnership or limited liability company in which we own an interest will be based on our proportionate interest in any securities issued by the partnership or limited liability company, excluding for this purpose certain securities described in the Code.

Fourth, the aggregate value of all securities of TRSs that we hold, together with other non-qualified assets (such as furniture and equipment or other tangible personal property, or non-real estate securities) may not, in the aggregate, exceed 25% (20% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017) of the value of our total assets.

Fifth, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by debt instruments of publicly offered REITs to the extent those debt instruments would not be real estate assets but for the inclusion of debt instruments of publicly offered REITs in the meaning of real estate assets effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, as described above.

Notwithstanding the general rule, as noted above, that for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests we are treated as owning our proportionate share of the underlying assets of a subsidiary partnership, if we hold indebtedness issued by a partnership, the indebtedness will be subject to, and may cause a violation of, the asset tests unless the indebtedness is a qualifying mortgage asset or other conditions are met. Similarly, although stock of another REIT is a qualifying asset for purposes of the REIT asset tests, any non-mortgage debt that is issued by another REIT may not so qualify (although such debt will not be treated as “securities” for purposes of the 10% asset test, as explained below).

Certain securities will not cause a violation of the 10% asset test described above. Such securities include instruments that constitute “straight debt,” which term generally excludes, among other things, securities having contingency features. A security does not qualify as “straight debt” where a REIT (or a controlled TRS of the REIT) owns other securities of the same issuer which do not qualify as straight debt, unless the value of those other securities constitute, in the aggregate, 1% or less of the total value of that issuer’s outstanding securities. In addition to straight debt, the Code provides that certain other securities will not violate the 10% asset test. Such securities include (1) any loan made to an individual or an estate, (2) certain rental agreements pursuant to which one or more payments are to be made in subsequent years (other than agreements between a REIT and certain persons related to the REIT under attribution rules), (3) any obligation to pay rents from real property, (4) securities issued by governmental entities that are not dependent in whole or in part on the profits of (or payments made by) a nongovernmental entity, (5) any security (including debt securities) issued by another REIT and (6) any debt instrument issued by a partnership if the partnership’s income is of a nature that it would satisfy the 75% gross income test described above under “—Income Tests.” In applying the 10% asset test, a debt security issued by a partnership is not taken into account to the extent, if any, of the REIT’s proportionate interest in the equity and certain debt securities issued by that partnership.

No independent appraisals have been obtained to support our conclusions as to the value of our total assets or the value of any particular security or securities. Moreover, the values of some assets may not be susceptible to a precise determination, and values are subject to change in the future. Furthermore, the proper classification of an instrument as debt or equity for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be uncertain in some circumstances, which could affect the application of the REIT asset requirements. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not contend that our interests in our subsidiaries or in the securities of other issuers will not cause a violation of the REIT asset tests.

 

9


However, certain relief provisions are available to allow REITs to satisfy the asset requirements or to maintain REIT qualification notwithstanding certain violations of the asset and other requirements. For example, if we should fail to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a calendar quarter such a failure would not cause us to lose our REIT qualification if (a) we satisfied the asset tests at the close of the preceding calendar quarter and (b) the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset requirements was not wholly or partly caused by an acquisition of non-qualifying assets, but instead arose from changes in the relative market values of our assets. If the condition described in (b) were not satisfied, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose or by making use of the relief provisions described above.

In the case of de minimis violations of the 10% and 5% asset tests, a REIT may maintain its qualification despite a violation of such requirements if (i) the value of the assets causing the violation does not exceed the lesser of 1% of the REIT’s total assets and $10,000,000 and (ii) the REIT either disposes of the assets causing the failure within six months after the last day of the quarter in which it identifies the failure, or the relevant tests are otherwise satisfied within that time frame.

Even if we did not qualify for the foregoing relief provisions, one additional provision allows a REIT that fails one or more of the asset requirements to nevertheless maintain its REIT qualification if (1) the REIT provides the IRS with a description of each asset causing the failure, (2) the failure is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, (3) the REIT pays a tax equal to the greater of (a) $50,000 per failure and (b) the product of the net income generated by the assets that caused the failure multiplied by the highest applicable corporate tax rate (currently 21%) and (4) the REIT either disposes of the assets causing the failure within six months after the last day of the quarter in which it identifies the failure, or otherwise satisfies the relevant asset tests within that time frame.

Annual Distribution Requirements

In order to qualify to be taxed as a REIT, we are required to distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends, to our stockholders in an amount at least equal to:

 

  (1)

the sum of

 

  (a)

90% of our REIT taxable income, computed without regard to our net capital gains and the deduction for dividends paid; and

 

  (b)

90% of our after tax net income, if any, from foreclosure property (as described below);

 

  (2)

minus

 

  (a)

the excess of the sum of specified items of noncash income over 5% of our REIT taxable income, computed without regard to our net capital gain and the deduction for dividends paid.

We generally must make these distributions in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if declared before we timely file our tax return for the year and if paid with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration. These distributions will be treated as received by our stockholders in the year in which paid. In order for distributions to be counted as satisfying the annual distribution requirements for REITs, and to provide us with a REIT-level tax deduction, unless (for distributions made in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2014) we qualify as a “publicly offered REIT,” the distributions must not be “preferential dividends.” A dividend is not a preferential dividend if the distribution is (i) pro rata among all outstanding shares of stock within a particular class and (ii) in accordance with any preferences among different classes of stock as set forth in our organizational documents.

 

10


To the extent that we distribute at least 90%, but less than 100%, of our REIT taxable income, as adjusted, we will be subject to tax at ordinary corporate tax rates on the retained portion. We may elect to retain, rather than distribute, some or all of our net long-term capital gains and pay tax on such gains. In this case, we could elect for our stockholders to include their proportionate shares of such undistributed long-term capital gains in income, and to receive a corresponding credit for their share of the tax that we paid. Our stockholders would then increase the adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between (1) the amounts of capital gain dividends that we designated and that they include in their taxable income, minus (2) the tax that we paid on their behalf with respect to that income.

To the extent that in the future we may have available net operating losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Such losses, however, will generally not affect the tax treatment to our stockholders of any distributions that are actually made. See “—Taxation of Stockholders—Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders—Distributions.”

If we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (1) 85% of our ordinary income for such year, (2) 95% of our capital gain net income for such year and (3) any undistributed net taxable income from prior periods, we will be subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the sum of (a) the amounts actually distributed, plus (b) the amounts of income we retained and on which we have paid corporate income tax.

We expect that our REIT taxable income will be less than our cash flow because of depreciation and other noncash charges included in computing REIT taxable income. Accordingly, we anticipate that we will generally have sufficient cash or liquid assets to enable us to satisfy the distribution requirements described above. However, from time to time, we may not have sufficient cash or other liquid assets to meet these distribution requirements due to timing differences between the actual receipt of income and actual payment of deductible expenses, and the inclusion of income and deduction of expenses in determining our taxable income. In addition, we may decide to retain our cash, rather than distribute it, in order to repay debt, acquire assets, or for other reasons. If these timing differences occur, we may borrow funds to pay dividends or pay dividends through the distribution of other property (including shares of our stock) in order to meet the distribution requirements, while preserving our cash. Alternatively, we may declare a taxable dividend payable in cash or stock at the election of each stockholder, where the aggregate amount of cash to be distributed in such dividend may be subject to limitation. In such case, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits.

If our taxable income for a particular year is subsequently determined to have been understated, we may be able to rectify a resultant failure to meet the distribution requirements for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to stockholders in a later year, which may be included in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. In this case, we may be able to avoid losing REIT qualification or being taxed on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends, subject to the 4% excise tax described above. We will be required to pay interest based on the amount of any deduction taken for deficiency dividends.

For purposes of the 90% distribution requirement and excise tax described above, any dividend that we declare in October, November or December of any year and that is payable to a stockholder of record on a specified date in any such month will be treated as both paid by us and received by the stockholder on December 31 of such year, provided that we actually pay the dividend before January 31 of the following calendar year.

Prohibited Transactions

Net income that we derive from a prohibited transaction is subject to a 100% tax. The term “prohibited transaction” generally includes a sale or other disposition of property (other than foreclosure property, as discussed below) that is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business. We intend to conduct our operations so that no asset that we own (or are treated as owning) will be treated as, or as having been, held as inventory or for sale to customers, and that a sale of any such asset will not be treated as having been in the ordinary course of our business. Whether property is held as inventory or “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” depends on the particular facts and circumstances. No assurance can be given that any property that we sell will not be treated as inventory or property held for sale to customers, or that we can

 

11


comply with certain safe-harbor provisions of the Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% tax does not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular corporate rates. We intend to structure our activities to avoid prohibited transaction characterization.

Like-Kind Exchanges

We may dispose of properties in transactions intended to qualify as like-kind exchanges under the Code. Such like-kind exchanges are intended to result in the deferral of gain for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The failure of any such transaction to qualify as a like-kind exchange could require us to pay federal income tax, possibly including the 100% prohibited transaction tax, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular transaction.

Derivatives and Hedging Transactions

We may enter into hedging transactions, including with respect to foreign currency exchange rate and interest rate exposure on one or more of our assets or liabilities. Any such hedging transactions could take a variety of forms, including the use of derivative instruments such as swap contracts, cap or floor contracts, futures or forward contracts and options. Except to the extent provided by Treasury regulations, any income from a hedging transaction we enter into (1) in the normal course of our business primarily to manage risk of interest rate changes or currency fluctuations with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets, which is clearly identified as specified in Treasury regulations before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated, or entered into, including gain from the sale or disposition of a position in such a transaction and (2) primarily to manage risk of currency fluctuations with respect to any item of income or gain that would be qualifying income under the 75% or 95% income tests, which is clearly identified as such before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated, or entered into, will not constitute gross income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, income from new transactions entered into to hedge the income or loss from prior hedging transactions, where the indebtedness or property which was the subject of the prior hedging transaction was extinguished or disposed of, will not constitute gross income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests. Moreover, to the extent that a position in a hedging transaction has positive value at any particular point in time, it may be treated as an asset that does not qualify for purposes of the REIT asset tests. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our qualification to be taxed as a REIT. We may conduct some or all of our hedging activities (including hedging activities relating to currency risk) through a TRS or other corporate entity, the income from which may be subject to U.S. federal income tax, rather than by participating in the arrangements directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. No assurance can be given, however, that our hedging activities will not give rise to income or assets that do not qualify for purposes of the REIT tests, or that our hedging activities will not adversely affect our ability to satisfy the REIT qualification requirements.

Foreclosure Property

Foreclosure property is real property and any personal property incident to such real property (1) that we acquire as the result of having bid in the property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced the property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after a default (or upon imminent default) on a lease of the property or a mortgage loan held by us and secured by the property, (2) for which we acquired the related loan or lease at a time when default was not imminent or anticipated and (3) with respect to which we made a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property. Foreclosure property also includes certain qualified healthcare property acquired by a REIT as the result of the termination or expiration of a lease of such property (other than by reason of a default, or the imminence of a default, on the lease). In general, we may operate a qualified healthcare facility acquired in this manner through, and in certain circumstances may derive income from, an independent contractor for two years (or up to six years if extensions are granted). For purposes of this rule, a “qualified healthcare property” means a hospital, nursing facility, assisted living facility, congregate care facility, qualified continuing care facility, or other licensed facility which extends medical or nursing or ancillary services to patients and which is operated by a provider which is eligible for participation in the Medicare program with respect to such facility, along with any real property or personal property necessary or incidental to the use of any such facility.

 

12


We will generally be subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate (currently 21%) on any net income from foreclosure property, including any gain from the disposition of the foreclosure property, other than income that would otherwise be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Any gain from the sale of property for which a foreclosure property election has been made will not be subject to the 100% tax on gains from prohibited transactions described above, even if the property would otherwise constitute inventory or dealer property. We do not anticipate receiving any income from foreclosure property that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test.

Penalty Tax

Any redetermined rents, redetermined deductions, excess interest or (for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015) redetermined TRS service income we generate will be subject to a 100% penalty tax. In general, redetermined rents are rents from real property that are overstated as a result of any services furnished to any of our tenants by a TRS, redetermined deductions and excess interest represent any amounts that are deducted by a TRS for amounts paid to us that are in excess of the amounts that would have been deducted based on arm’s-length negotiations or if the interest payments were at a commercially reasonable rate, and redetermined TRS service income generally represents income of a TRS that is understated as a result of services provided to us or on our behalf. Rents that we receive will not constitute redetermined rents if they qualify for certain safe harbor provisions contained in the Code.

From time to time, our TRS may provide services to our tenants. We intend to set the fees paid to our TRS for such services at arm’s-length rates, although the fees paid may not satisfy the safe-harbor provisions described above. These determinations are inherently factual, and the IRS has broad discretion to assert that amounts paid between related parties should be reallocated to clearly reflect their respective incomes. If the IRS successfully made such an assertion, we would be required to pay a 100% penalty tax on the excess of an arm’s-length fee for tenant services over the amount actually paid.

Failure to Qualify

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification other than the income or asset tests, we could avoid disqualification as a REIT if our failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and we pay a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure. Relief provisions are also available for failures of the income tests and asset tests, as described above in “—Income Tests” and “—Asset Tests.”

If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year, and the relief provisions described above do not apply, we will be subject to tax, including any applicable alternative minimum tax, on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We cannot deduct distributions to stockholders in any year in which we are not a REIT, nor would we be required to make distributions in such a year. In this situation, to the extent of current and accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes), distributions to stockholders will be taxable as regular corporate dividends. Such dividends paid to U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates may be taxable at the preferential income tax rates (i.e., the 20% maximum U.S. federal rate) for qualified dividends. In addition, subject to the limitations of the Code, corporate distributees may be eligible for the dividends received deduction. Unless we are entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we will also be disqualified from re-electing to be taxed as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we lose our qualification. It is not possible to state whether, in all circumstances, we will be entitled to this statutory relief.

Taxation of Stockholders

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders

The following is a summary of certain U.S. federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of our stock applicable to taxable U.S. stockholders. A “U.S. stockholder” is any holder of our common stock that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

 

   

an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;

 

13


   

a corporation (or entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States, or of any state thereof, or the District of Columbia;

 

   

an estate, the income of which is includible in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes regardless of its source; or

 

   

a trust if a U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of such trust and one or more U.S. fiduciaries have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust.

If a partnership, including for this purpose any entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, holds our common stock, the tax treatment of a partner in the partnership will generally depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. An investor that is a partnership and the partners in such partnership are urged to consult their tax advisors about the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our common stock.

Distributions

For such time as we qualify to be taxed as a REIT, the distributions that we make to our taxable U.S. stockholders out of current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes) that we do not designate as capital gain dividends will generally be taken into account by such stockholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporations. With limited exceptions, our dividends are not eligible for taxation at the preferential income tax rates (i.e., the 20% maximum U.S. federal rate) for qualified dividends received by most U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts or estates from taxable C corporations. However, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, non-corporate taxpayers may deduct up to 20% of certain qualified business income, including “qualified REIT dividends” (generally, dividends received by a stockholder that are not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income), subject to certain limitations, resulting in an effective maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 29.6% on such income. Additionally, such stockholders are taxed at the preferential rates on dividends designated by and received from REITs to the extent that the dividends are attributable to:

 

   

income retained by the REIT in the prior taxable year on which the REIT was subject to corporate level income tax (less the amount of tax);

 

   

dividends received by the REIT from TRSs or other taxable C corporations; or

 

   

income in the prior taxable year from sales of “built-in gain” property acquired by the REIT from C corporations in carryover basis transactions (less the amount of corporate tax on such income).

Distributions that we designate as capital gain dividends will generally be taxed to our U.S. stockholders as long-term capital gains, to the extent that such distributions do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year (and for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015, may not exceed our dividends paid for the taxable year, including dividends paid the following year that are treated as paid in the current year), without regard to the period for which the stockholder that receives such distribution has held its stock. We may elect to retain and pay taxes on some or all of our net long-term capital gains, in which case we may elect to apply provisions of the Code that treat our U.S. stockholders as having received, solely for tax purposes, our undistributed capital gains, and the stockholders as receiving a corresponding credit for taxes that we paid on such undistributed capital gains. See “—Taxation of REITs in General—Annual Distribution Requirements.” Corporate stockholders may be required to treat up to 20% of some capital gain dividends as ordinary income. Long-term capital gains are generally taxable at maximum U.S. federal rates of 20% in the case of U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates, and 21% in the case of U.S. stockholders that are corporations. Capital gains attributable to the sale of depreciable real property held for more than twelve months are subject to a 25% maximum U.S. federal income tax rate for taxpayers who are taxed as individuals, to the extent of previously claimed depreciation deductions. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes) will generally represent a return of capital and will not be taxable to a stockholder to the extent that the amount of such distributions does not

 

14


exceed the adjusted basis of the stockholder’s shares in respect of which the distributions were made. Rather, the distribution will reduce the adjusted basis of the stockholder’s shares. To the extent that such distributions exceed the adjusted basis of a stockholder’s shares, the stockholder generally must include such distributions in income as long-term capital gain if the shares have been held for more than one year, or short-term capital gain if the shares have been held for one year or less. In addition, any dividend that we declare in October, November or December of any year and that is payable to a stockholder of record on a specified date in any such month will be treated as both paid by us and received by the stockholder on December 31 of such year, provided that we actually pay the dividend before the end of January of the following calendar year.

To the extent that we have available net operating losses and capital losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Any net operating losses generated in years beginning after December 31, 2017 will only be able to offset 80% of our net taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction). See “—Taxation of REITs in General —Annual Distribution Requirements.” Such losses, however, are not passed through to stockholders and do not offset income of stockholders from other sources, nor would such losses affect the character of any distributions that we make, which are generally subject to tax in the hands of stockholders to the extent that we have current or accumulated earnings and profits.

Dispositions of Our Stock

If a U.S. stockholder sells or disposes of shares of our stock, it will generally recognize gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash and the fair market value of any property received on the sale or other disposition and the stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in the shares of stock. In general, capital gains recognized by individuals, trusts or estates upon the sale or disposition of our stock will be subject to a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% if the stock is held for more than one year, and will be taxed at ordinary income rates (of up to 37%) if the stock is held for one year or less. Gains recognized by stockholders that are corporations are subject to U.S. federal income tax at a maximum rate of 21%, whether or not such gains are classified as long-term capital gains. Capital losses recognized by a stockholder upon the disposition of our stock that was held for more than one year at the time of disposition will be considered long-term capital losses, and are generally available only to offset capital gain income of the stockholder but not ordinary income (except in the case of individuals, who may also offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income each year). In addition, any loss upon a sale or exchange of shares of our stock by a stockholder who has held the shares for six months or less, after applying holding period rules, will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of actual or deemed distributions that we make that are required to be treated by the stockholder as long-term capital gain.

If an investor recognizes a loss upon a subsequent disposition of our stock or other securities in an amount that exceeds a prescribed threshold, it is possible that the provisions of Treasury regulations involving “reportable transactions” could apply, with a resulting requirement to separately disclose the loss-generating transaction to the IRS. These regulations, though directed towards “tax shelters,” are broadly written and apply to transactions that would not typically be considered tax shelters. The Code imposes significant penalties for failure to comply with these requirements. You are urged to consult with your tax advisor concerning any possible disclosure obligation with respect to the receipt or disposition of our stock or securities or transactions that we might undertake directly or indirectly. Moreover, you should be aware that we and other participants in the transactions in which we are involved (including their advisors) might be subject to disclosure or other requirements pursuant to these regulations.

Passive Activity Losses and Investment Interest Limitations

Distributions that we make and gains arising from the sale or exchange by a U.S. stockholder of our stock will not be treated as passive activity income. As a result, stockholders will not be able to apply any “passive losses” against income or gain relating to our stock. To the extent that distributions we make do not constitute a return of capital, they will be treated as investment income for purposes of computing the investment interest limitation.

 

15


Taxation of Non-U.S. Stockholders

The following is a summary of certain U.S. federal income and estate tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of our stock applicable to non-U.S. stockholders. A “non-U.S. stockholder” is any holder of our common stock other than a partnership or U.S. stockholder.

Ordinary Dividends

The portion of dividends received by non-U.S. stockholders that (1) is payable out of our earnings and profits, (2) is not attributable to capital gains that we recognize and (3) is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the non-U.S. stockholder, will be subject to U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30%, unless reduced or eliminated by treaty.

In general, non-U.S. stockholders will not be considered to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business solely as a result of their ownership of our stock. In cases where the dividend income from a non-U.S. stockholder’s investment in our stock is, or is treated as, effectively connected with the non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the non-U.S. stockholder will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax at graduated rates, in the same manner as U.S. stockholders are taxed with respect to such dividends. Such effectively connected income must generally be reported on a U.S. income tax return filed by or on behalf of the non-U.S. stockholder. The income may also be subject to a branch profits tax at the rate of 30% (unless reduced or eliminated by treaty) in the case of a non-U.S. stockholder that is a corporation.

Non-Dividend Distributions

Unless our stock constitutes a U.S. real property interest (“USRPI”), distributions that we make which are not dividends out of our earnings and profits will not be subject to U.S. income tax. If we cannot determine at the time a distribution is made whether or not the distribution will exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, the distribution will be subject to withholding at the rate applicable to dividends. The non-U.S. stockholder may seek a refund from the IRS of any amounts withheld if it is subsequently determined that the distribution was, in fact, in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. If our stock constitutes a USRPI, as described below, distributions that we make in excess of the sum of (1) the stockholder’s proportionate share of our earnings and profits, plus (2) the stockholder’s basis in its stock, will be taxed under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (“FIRPTA”), at the rate of tax, including any applicable capital gains rates, that would apply to a U.S. stockholder of the same type (i.e., an individual or a corporation, as the case may be), and the collection of the tax will be enforced by a withholding at a rate of 10% of the amount by which the distribution exceeds the stockholder’s share of our earnings and profits.

Capital Gain Dividends

Under FIRPTA, a distribution that we make to a non-U.S. stockholder, to the extent attributable to gains from dispositions of USRPIs that we held directly or through pass-through subsidiaries, or USRPI capital gains, will, except as described below, be considered effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the non-U.S. stockholder and will be subject to U.S. income tax at the rates applicable to U.S. individuals or corporations, without regard to whether we designate the distribution as a capital gain dividend. See “—Ordinary Dividends,” for a discussion of the consequences of income that is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. In addition, we will be required to withhold tax equal to 21% of the maximum amount that could have been designated as USRPI capital gain dividends. Distributions subject to FIRPTA may also be subject to a branch profits tax at the rate of 30% (unless reduced or eliminated by treaty) in the hands of a non-U.S. stockholder that is a corporation. A distribution is not attributable to USRPI capital gain if we held an interest in the underlying asset solely as a creditor. Capital gain dividends received by a non-U.S. stockholder that are attributable to dispositions of our assets other than USRPIs are not subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax, unless (1) the gain is effectively connected with the non-U.S. stockholder’s U.S. trade or business, in which case the non-U.S. stockholder would be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to such gain, except that a non-U.S. stockholder that is a corporation may also be subject to a branch profits tax at the rate of 30% (unless reduced or eliminated by treaty) or (2) the non-U.S. stockholder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, in which case the non-U.S. stockholder will incur a 30% tax on his capital gains. We expect that a significant portion of our assets will be USRPIs.

 

16


A capital gain dividend that would otherwise have been treated as a USRPI capital gain will not be so treated or be subject to FIRPTA, and will generally not be treated as income that is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, but instead will be treated in the same manner as an ordinary dividend (see “—Ordinary Dividends”), if (1) the capital gain dividend is received with respect to a class of stock that is regularly traded on an established securities market located in the United States and (2) the recipient non-U.S. stockholder does not own more than 10% of that class at any time during the year ending on the date on which the capital gain dividend is received. We anticipate that our common stock will be “regularly traded” on an established securities exchange. In addition, distributions to certain non-U.S. publicly traded shareholders that meet certain record-keeping and other requirements (“qualified shareholders”) are exempt from FIRPTA, except to the extent owners of such qualified shareholders that are not also qualified shareholders own, actually or constructively, more than 10% of our common stock. Furthermore, distributions to qualified foreign pension funds” or entities all of the interests of which are held by “qualified foreign pension funds” are exempt from FIRPTA. Non-U.S. holders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the application of these rules.

Dispositions of Our Stock

Unless our stock constitutes a USRPI, a sale of our stock by a non-U.S. stockholder will generally not be subject to U.S. taxation under FIRPTA. Subject to certain exceptions discussed below, our stock will be treated as a USRPI if 50% or more of our assets throughout a prescribed testing period consist of interests in real property located within the United States, excluding, for this purpose, interests in real property solely in a capacity as a creditor. We expect that 50% or more of our assets will consist of USRPIs.

Even if the foregoing 50% test is met, however, our stock will not constitute a USRPI if we are a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity.” A domestically controlled qualified investment entity includes a REIT, less than 50% of value of which is held, directly or indirectly, by non-U.S. stockholders at all times during a specified testing period. As described above, our charter contains restrictions designed to protect our status as a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity,” and we believe that we will be and will remain, a domestically controlled qualified investment entity, and that a sale of our stock should not be subject to taxation under FIRPTA. However, no assurance can be given that we will be or will remain a domestically controlled qualified investment entity.

In the event that we are not a domestically controlled qualified investment entity, but our stock is “regularly traded,” as defined by applicable Treasury regulations, on an established securities market, a non-U.S. stockholder’s sale of our common stock nonetheless also would not be subject to tax under FIRPTA as a sale of a USRPI, provided that the selling non-U.S. stockholder held 10% or less of our outstanding common stock at any time during a prescribed testing period. We expect that our common stock will be regularly traded on an established securities market.

In addition, dispositions of our common stock by qualified shareholders are exempt from FIRPTA, except to the extent owners of such qualified shareholders that are not also qualified shareholders own, actually or constructively, more than 10% of our common stock. An actual or deemed disposition of our capital stock by such shareholders may also be treated as a dividend. Furthermore, dispositions of our capital stock by “qualified foreign pension funds” or entities all of the interests of which are held by “qualified foreign pension funds” are exempt from FIRPTA. Non-U.S. holders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the application of these rules.

If gain on the sale of our stock were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the non-U.S. stockholder would be required to file a U.S. federal income tax return and would be subject to the same treatment as a U.S. stockholder with respect to such gain, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals. Moreover, in order to enforce the collection of the tax, the purchaser of the stock could be required to withhold 15% of the purchase price and remit such amount to the IRS.

Gain from the sale of our stock that would not otherwise be subject to FIRPTA will nonetheless be taxable in the United States to a non-U.S. stockholder in two cases: (1) if the non-U.S. stockholder’s investment in our stock is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business conducted by such non-U.S. stockholder, the non-U.S.

 

17


stockholder will be subject to the same treatment as a U.S. stockholder with respect to such gain, except that a non-U.S. stockholder that is a corporation may also be subject to a branch profits tax at a rate of 30% (unless reduced or eliminated by treaty) or (2) if the non-U.S. stockholder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gain. In addition, even if we are a domestically controlled qualified investment entity, upon disposition of our stock (subject to the 10% exception applicable to “regularly traded” stock described above), a non-U.S. stockholder may be treated as having gain from the sale or exchange of a USRPI if the non-U.S. stockholder (a) disposes of our common stock within a 30-day period preceding the ex-dividend date of a distribution, any portion of which, but for the disposition, would have been treated as gain from the sale or exchange of a USRPI and (b) acquires, or enters into a contract or option to acquire, other shares of our common stock within 30 days after such ex-dividend date.

Non-U.S. stockholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income and other tax consequences of owning our stock.

Taxation of Tax-Exempt Stockholders

Tax-exempt entities, including qualified employee pension and profit sharing trusts and individual retirement accounts, generally are exempt from U.S. federal income taxation. However, they may be subject to taxation on their unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”). While some investments in real estate may generate UBTI, the IRS has ruled that dividend distributions from a REIT to a tax-exempt entity do not constitute UBTI. Based on that ruling, and provided that (1) a tax-exempt stockholder has not held our stock as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code (i.e., where the acquisition or holding of the property is financed through a borrowing by the tax-exempt stockholder) and (2) our stock is not otherwise used in an unrelated trade or business, distributions that we make and income from the sale of our stock generally should not give rise to UBTI to a tax-exempt stockholder.Tax-exempt stockholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts, and qualified group legal services plans exempt from U.S. federal income taxation under sections 501(c)(7), (c)(9), (c)(17) and (c)(20) of the Code are subject to different UBTI rules, which generally require such stockholders to characterize distributions that we make as UBTI.

In certain circumstances, a pension trust that owns more than 10% of our stock could be required to treat a percentage of any dividends received from us as UBTI if we are a “pension-held REIT.” We will not be a pension-held REIT unless (1) we are required to “look through” one or more of our pension trust stockholders in order to satisfy the REIT “closely held” test and (2) either (a) one pension trust owns more than 25% of the value of our stock or (b) one or more pension trusts, each individually holding more than 10% of the value of our stock, collectively own more than 50% of the value of our stock. Certain restrictions on ownership and transfer of shares of our stock generally should prevent a tax-exempt entity from owning more than 10% of the value of our stock and generally should prevent us from becoming a pension-held REIT.

Tax-exempt stockholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income and other tax consequences of owning our stock.

Other Tax Considerations

Legislative or Other Actions Affecting REITs

The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time. The REIT rules are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the Treasury, which review may result in statutory changes as well as revisions to regulations and interpretations. Changes to the U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could adversely affect an investment in our common stock.

In addition, the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”) makes substantial changes to the Code. Among those changes are a significant permanent reduction in the generally applicable corporate tax rate, changes in the taxation of individuals and other non-corporate taxpayers that generally but not universally reduce their taxes on

 

18


a temporary basis subject to “sunset” provisions, the elimination or modification of various currently allowed deductions (including additional limitations on the deductibility of business interest and substantial limitation on the deduction for state and local taxes imposed on individuals), and preferential taxation of income (including REIT dividends) derived by non-corporate taxpayers from “pass-through” entities. The TCJA also imposes certain additional limitations on the deduction of net operating losses, which may in the future cause us to make distributions that will be taxable to our stockholders to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits in order to comply with the annual REIT distribution requirements. The effect of these, and the many other, changes made in the TCJA is highly uncertain, both in terms of their direct effect on the taxation of an investment in our common stock and their indirect effect on the value of our assets. Furthermore, many of the provisions of the TCJA will require guidance through the issuance of U.S. Treasury regulations in order to assess their effect. There may be a substantial delay before such regulations are promulgated, increasing the uncertainty as to the ultimate effect of the statutory amendments on us. It is also likely that there will be technical corrections legislation proposed with respect to the TCJA, the timing and effect of which cannot be predicted and may be adverse to us or our stockholders.

Medicare 3.8% Tax on Investment Income

Certain U.S. stockholders who are individuals, estates or trusts and whose income exceeds certain thresholds will be required to pay a 3.8% Medicare tax on dividends and certain other investment income, including capital gains from the sale or other disposition of our common stock. The 20% deduction currently allowed with respect to ordinary REIT dividends received by non-corporate taxpayers is apparently not allowed as a deduction allocable to such dividends for purposes of determining the amount of net investment income subject to the 3.8% Medicare tax.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

Legislation enacted in 2010 and existing guidance issued thereunder requires withholding at a rate of 30% on dividends in respect of our common stock held by or through certain foreign financial institutions (including investment funds), unless such institution enters into an agreement with the Treasury to report, on an annual basis, information with respect to shares in the institution held by certain U.S. persons and by certain non-U.S. entities that are wholly or partially owned by U.S. persons and to withhold on certain payments. An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an applicable foreign country, or future Treasury regulations or other guidance may modify these requirements. Accordingly, the entity through which our common stock is held will affect the determination of whether such withholding is required. Similarly, dividends in respect of our common stock held by an investor that is a nonfinancial non-U.S. entity that does not qualify under certain exemptions will be subject to withholding at a rate of 30%, unless such entity either (1) certifies to us that such entity does not have any “substantial United States owners” or (2) provides certain information regarding the entity’s “substantial United States owners,” which we will in turn provide to the IRS. The IRS has issued proposed regulations (on which taxpayers may rely until final regulations are issued) that would generally not apply these withholding requirements to gross proceeds from asset dispositions. We will not pay any additional amounts to stockholders in respect of any amounts withheld. Non-U.S. stockholders are encouraged to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of the legislation on their investment in our common stock.

State, Local and Foreign Taxes

We and our subsidiaries and stockholders may be subject to state, local or foreign taxation in various jurisdictions including those in which we or they transact business, own property or reside. Our state, local or foreign tax treatment and that of our stockholders may not conform to the U.S. federal income tax treatment discussed above. Any foreign taxes that we incur do not pass through to stockholders as a credit against their U.S. federal income tax liability. Prospective investors are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the application and effect of state, local and foreign income and other tax laws on an investment in our stock.

 

19