Thursday 04 June 2020

Unilever will compensate UK shareholders if dividend tax stays

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Food to detergent group Unilever has plans in place to avoid unequal taxation for shareholders outside the Netherlands if the Dutch government does not scrap the 15% tax on dividends as planned.

The company told Reuters in an email on Tuesday if the tax is not scrapped, it could use a ‘substitution payment mechanism’, which involves distributing capital in a way that does not trigger the 15% tax charge.

Unilever revealed the back-up plan as it outlined more about plans to end its dual structure and consolidate its headquarters in Rotterdam.

British shareholders, who account for a large proportion of Unilever’s base, will be hit by the Dutch tax if it is not phased out. However, the Dutch government has repeatedly said the tax will go, despite widespread opposition in parliament and elsewhere.

Unilever shareholders will vote at the end of October on the plans to consolidate in Rotterdam. Unilever has maintained separate headquarters in Rotterdam and London since it was founded in 1930 but has always operated as a single business with a single board of directors.

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