- REITs will only be able to invest in residential properties for rent, dormitories and nursing homes (with more than 50% of the space used for housing needs).
- Income of REIT and subsidiaries from
- rental of residential real estate,
- sale of residential real estate,
- disposal of shares in subsidiaries and,
- dividends, and profits from subsidiaries, will be exempt from taxation until the payment of dividends to investors.
- Revenue income from the rental of real estate will be taxed at a rate of 8.5%. However, this rate is applied on the condition that this income is allocated to the payment of dividends. Keeping additional accounting records will be a condition for taking advantage of preferential taxation rules.
- REITs will operate only in the form of joint-stock companies with a share capital of at least PLN 50 million (EUR 11.6 million). The company must have its headquarters and management in Poland. REIT shares must be admitted to public trading on the Polish stock exchange (this solution is controversial regarding compliance with EU treaty provisions).
- The regulations regarding the obligation to pay dividends to shareholders on an annual basis were amended; the profit to be paid may be decreased for financing costs, CAPEX and real estate tax, amongst others. Subsidiaries may not pay dividends if the profit is reinvested over a two-year period.
- Broad information obligations have been introduced: REITs will publish revenue levels, average rental rates and the number of lease agreements, among other information.
The exclusion of commercial real estate is, of course, a disappointment as a limited regime of this form is unlikely to be successfully taken up by the market. Nevertheless, we prefer to have a less efficient regime in Poland rather than none at all, but to make it a success, it is important that it is open for improvements. The lesson from the Spanish REIT regime experience, which started from zero and after improvement developed into one of the top markets, could serve as a roadmap here. We will continue our work on this together with our partners of the REIT Polska Association.
Improved REIT law in Hungary
Another market that has understood the power of an improved REIT regime is Hungary. The fiscal and operating rules first introduced in 2011 were too strict to attract Hungarian firms and did not deliver on the hopes associated with it. An easing of taxation terms in addition to simplification of the rules of foundation and operation have stirred much stronger interest here after the legislator changed the main conditions at the end of 2017.