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TonyTax
TonyTax, Tax Consultant
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I have units in a French employee savings scheme based on TOTAL

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I have units in a French employee savings scheme based on TOTAL S.A. shares ( my employer from whom I have just retired). The dividend from the shares in the fund are reinvested and the number of units that I own increases. How do I declare this for the UK tax return now that I am UK resident?
Secondly, what happens if I sell my holding viz capital gains tax?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Can the units you own which are based on Total S.A. shares be converted into regular shares? Do you have a choice as to whether your dividends are reinvested? Could you receive them in cash if you wished to do so? Do you receive a dividend voucher? If so, does it show a gross dividend, a French tax deduction and a net sum for reinvestment? What tax rate is used, if any? Are you a UK national?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

a) They cannot be converted into TOTAL SA Shares

b) No choice - dividends automatically re-invested

c) Cannot receive in cash

d) I do not receive a dividend voucher - just an advice of the amount re-invested and the number of units. No mention of any tax deducted.

e) I am a UK national.

Other information - the investment was originally as a discounted share scheme where I paid about 10% below the share price at the time and was only available to TOTAL employees. The basis of the system is based on a saving scheme for employees under French Law. There is a possibility after a certain number of years that the funds return to the French state( which is why I want to sell these soon!!). The scheme is somewhat like a french SIP ( I think).

Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.

Leave this with me while I draft my answer.
Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.

Hi again.

I've been trying to identify exactly what the scheme you took part in when you were an employee of Total S.A was and, based on what I've found so far, I need a little more information.

Did you save cash over a period of time which was used to buy units related to the Total S.A. shares? Over what period did you save? Was a bonus added at the end of the saving period to enable you to buy more units than you otherise would have been able to?

You say that you want to sell the units but they are not actual Total S.A shares? Who can you sell them to? Are you only able to sell them back to the fund? Are you able if you wish to stay invested in the employee share savings plan and to continue to receive new units even though you are no longer an employee?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

A) I was given discreet opportunities to invest that was periodically offered to TOTAL employees worldwide. No bonus - just a period when i could not sell plus get out clauses such as house purchase, retirement etc.to sell in extemis.

b) First investment was about 20 years ago.

c) Agent is Amundi for sale

d) Not able to receive any new offers after retirement but can still remain in fund and roll up the dividends - it is a savings/retirement fund. French-style!!.

Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.
Expert:  TonyTax replied 2 years ago.

Hi again.

Thanks for all the additional information.

I suspect that you are involved with something similar to the two types of scheme described here. Whilst the income tax rules are aimed at UK based employees of a French company, the income tax treatment of the exercise informs the Capital Gains Tax treatment on disposal.

INCOME TAX

As far as the dividends are concerned, foreign stock dividends are not subject to UK income tax and do not need to be disclosed in your tax return. The additional shares or units have no cost for CGT purposes so the unit cost of your overall holding is diluted when new units are added.

Since you appear to have no choice about receiving new units as opposed to cash, the foreign stock dividend which is used to buy new units is not taxable in the UK. See pages FN6 and FN7 of the notes for the tax return foreign pages here. You really ought to ask the Total S.A. UK accountants for their understanding of the UK tax position of the reinvested dividends as it could be argued that by signing up to the plan you were effectively asking for the dividends to be reinvested which would make them taxable in the UK.

CAPITAL GAINS TAX

If you acquired units under the Non-leveraged FCPE (or ‘Classic’ FCPE) or the Leveraged FPCE scheme detailed here, you will pay CGT on any gains you make subject to the annual CGT exemption which is currently £11,000. Since you wouldn't have paid UK income tax on the exercise of the discounted units your gain will be computed by deducting what you paid for the units from what you sold them for. If you paid French income tax on the difference between the discounted price and the value at the time you acquired them, then your cost will be the sum of what you paid for the units and the sums you paid French income tax on. According to the document here, the subscription discount was exempt from French income tax as of 2010. This is something you should check with the Total S.A. UK accountants.

I hope this helps but let me know if you have any further questions.

TonyTax, Tax Consultant
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 15761
Experience: Inc Tax, CGT, Corp Tax, IHT, VAT.
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