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’s in Biden’s global corporation tax proposals?
Global Economy

What’s in Biden’s global corporation tax proposals?

US president Joe Biden’s administration recently proposed a universal model for taxing global companies. Saloni Sardana looks at what's involved.
13 Apr 2021
International tax competition is under threat – which stocks are most vulnerable?
Global Economy

International tax competition is under threat – which stocks are most vulnerable?

The idea of a global corporate tax regime is taking off, with the US proposing a sales tax on multinationals. John Stepek looks at which companies cou…
8 Apr 2021
The end-of-tax-year to-do list for small businesses
Small business

The end-of-tax-year to-do list for small businesses

If you run a business, get on top of your paperwork before 2020-2021 draws to a close.
1 Apr 2021
How to minimise your inheritance tax bill
Inheritance tax

How to minimise your inheritance tax bill

Fiscal drag will ensure that more people pay inheritance tax. Here’s how to minimise your bill.
16 Mar 2021

Most Popular

China owns a lot more gold than it’s letting on – and here’s why
Gold

China owns a lot more gold than it’s letting on – and here’s why

In a world awash with money-printing, a currency backed by gold would have great credibility. And China – with designs on the yuan becoming the world’…
21 Apr 2021
“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?
Bitcoin

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?

Dogecoin – a cryptocurrency created as a joke – has risen by more than 9,000% this year alone. Saloni Sardana looks at how something that began as an …
19 Apr 2021
House prices in the UK are still surging – here’s why it’ll probably continue
Property

House prices in the UK are still surging – here’s why it’ll probably continue

The latest UK house price data shows no letup in the country’s booming property market, with the biggest yearly rise since 2014. And there’s no end in…
22 Apr 2021