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Goal Group Steven Everard

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Cross-border shareholders forfeit GBP13.2 billion in unclaimed withholding tax

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The latest research from Goal Group, a provider of withholding tax reclamation and securities class action recovery services, shows that GBP13.2 billion (USD18.9 billion) of investors’ rightful returns from foreign shares and bonds were lost in the latest financial year because withholding tax on dividends and income is not being fully reclaimed.

UK investors suffered the biggest losses out of all major European markets, missing out on GBP910 million (USD1.3 billion) in recoverable returns, a significant rise since 2012 (GBP756 million). Investors domiciled in the US relinquished GBP2.5 billion (USD3.57 billion), up from GBP1.8 billion two years previously.
 
Despite rises in developed markets, the research reveals a net decrease of 15 per cent in global losses due to unclaimed withholding tax between 2012 and 2014. This reflects a reduction in dividend payouts in emerging markets_ and the fall in bond yields since the previous study.
 
Goal estimates that average tax reclamation rates have improved by 5 per cent since the company’s last report on the global tax reclamation landscape in 2013. Currently just under 23 per cent of excess tax remains unclaimed each year.  
 
Stephen Everard (pictured), Chief Executive Officer at Goal Group, says: “Just under a quarter of recoverable withholding tax still languishes in foreign tax systems each year, which amounted to a loss of GBP910 million to UK cross-border investors in 2014. Funds that reclaim tax typically boost returns by at least 25 basis points annually, yet there is still the belief that the complex reclamation process isn’t worth the trouble. With the right technology and services, this is simply not true.
 
“Custodians and fund managers have a fiduciary duty to maximise returns for shareholders, and withholding tax reclamation is a vital element of this. The gains become even more significant in view of rising proportions of portfolios devoted to cross-border investments and continued rises in global dividend payouts_.”
 
Goal has recovered hundreds of millions of pounds in withholding tax for its global client base, which includes five of the top ten global custodians and six of the top ten global fund managers.

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