Withholding tax

A withholding tax requires a person or company making a payment to someone else to withhold part of the payment and pay it to the government.

Put simply, a withholding tax requires a person or company making a payment to someone else to withhold part of the payment and pay it to the government.

For example, the UK's Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, whereby salaried staff receive their wages net of tax, is a form of withholding tax, although it's rarely described as such. In the UK, there is no requirement to deduct withholding tax from dividends (with the exception of real-estate investment trusts).

As a result, dividends may always be paid gross, irrespective of any double-taxation treaties that may come into play. (Double-taxation treaties are agreements between countries to ensure international workers or firms do not end up paying tax twice on the same income.)

However, if you own shares in companies listed overseas, you may well find that withholding tax is applied in that country, at rates that vary, depending on the country in question. Double taxation deals should enable UK investors to claim back at least part of this withheld income, but it's not always straightforward to do so.

Recommended

What are the best ways of raising more money in tax?
Economy

What are the best ways of raising more money in tax?

Given that whoever wins next week's election will be going on a massive spending spree, we're going to need to raise at least some of that money throu…
5 Dec 2019
What are the biggest mistakes investors make when it comes to tax?
Investment strategy

What are the biggest mistakes investors make when it comes to tax?

The tax implications of an investment are something we rarely consider until after the event. That could prove to be an expensive mistake, says Domini…
27 Nov 2019
How to avoid inheritance tax by giving your money away
Inheritance tax

How to avoid inheritance tax by giving your money away

Ruth Jackson Kirby explains how to avoid inheritance tax by passing money on to your family while you are still here.
24 Nov 2020
How you will play your part in refinancing the post-Covid economy
UK Economy

How you will play your part in refinancing the post-Covid economy

All this stimulus has to be paid for – whether through inflation, tax rises, or financial repression. It's going to be an uncomfortable experience, sa…
19 Nov 2020

Most Popular

Jim Mellon: the world is on the brink of three major revolutions
Share tips

Jim Mellon: the world is on the brink of three major revolutions

Jim Mellon has been giving MoneyWeek’s readers lucrative ideas ever since our very first issue. He tells Merryn Somerset Webb how he sees the next 20 …
5 Nov 2020
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
6 Nov 2020
November 2020 update: how the MoneyWeek investment trust portfolio has fared
Investment trust model portfolio

November 2020 update: how the MoneyWeek investment trust portfolio has fared

How have our favourite investment trusts been doing? And what would we change?
6 Nov 2020